Dave Heater's passion for Celebrate Recovery has led him to Wetzel County and he wants to share the program's healing power with as many people as possible.
Originally from Harrison County, Heater had attended a Celebrate Recovery group in Clarksburg and benefitted greatly from the program. Designed to help those struggling with hurts, hang-ups, and habits by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through the recovery process, Celebrate Recovery has helped over 700,000 people in more than 17,000 churches worldwide. Now Faith Fellowship in Reader is part of that movement.
"It's been our pastor's vision for years," said Heater of Pastor David Kelly. When Heater found someone who shared his vision and who wanted him to administer the program locally, Heater gave up his job and home to move to Wetzel County. "God has provided everything I've needed since I've been here," said Heater. And no, his work at Faith Fellowship is not a financially compensated position.
But the rewards are even greater than financial.
Heater gets to lead people through the 12-step program that can help them find healing in their lives. Heater says people often think of recovery as from things like drugs and alcohol, "like you can't recover from anything else." But Celebrate Recovery covers a multitude of conditions such as grief, gambling, sexual addictions, abuse, trauma, and more.
"Most people are familiar with the classic 12-step program of A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other groups. While undoubtedly many lives have been helped through the 12 steps, I've always been uncomfortable with that program's vagueness about the nature of God, the saving power of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit," said well-known pastor and author Rick Warren.
"So I began an intense study of the Scriptures to discover what God had to say about 'recovery'. To my amazement, I found the principles of recovery, and even their logical order, given by Christ in his most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount."
From that study Warren developed a 10-week series of messages called "The Road to Recovery." During that series, Associate Pastor John Baker developed the workbooks, which became the heart of the Celebrate Recovery program. "I believe that this program is unlike any recovery program you may have seen," said Warren.
He says the features that make it unique include that it is based on God's Word, the Bible; is forward-looking; emphasizes personal responsibility; emphasizes spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ; utilizes the biblical truth that we need each other in order to grow spiritually and emotionally; addresses all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups; and produces lay ministers-like Heater.
"This has been a really interesting program from me," stated Heater, who said he has learned a lot about himself through Celebrate Recovery.
"Most people don't want to change; they're afraid to change," said Heater. One thing is for sure, change takes work and he says that is something each person must do on their own. "It's like changing a tire. I can give you the tools like the jack and tire iron, but you have to use them to make the change."
Celebrate Recovery meets every Saturday at 6 p.m. for a praise and worship music service, then separates into groups at 7 p.m. and finishes with a time of fellowship. The meetings are held at Faith Fellowship in Reader - across the bridge and veer right, located at the beginning of Eight Mile.
While people are welcome to share their stories and thoughts in the group settings, Heater emphasizes that no one is required to share, but confidentiality is required.
For more information on the program visit www.celebraterecovery.com.