Luverne United Methodist Church
Loving Listening Sharing Serving
History of Celebrate Recovery
John Baker is the founder of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry born out of the heart of Saddleback Church. Over the last twenty-three years, nearly 27,000 individuals have gone through this Christ-centered recovery program at Saddleback Church. The Celebrate Recovery program is now being used in thousands of churches nationwide. Over two and half million individuals have completed the program.
John began serving as a lay pastor at Saddleback in 1991. The next year, he was asked to join the Saddleback Church staff as the Director of Small Groups and Recovery. In 1995, his responsibilities increased as he became the Pastor of Membership. In 2001, Rick Warren asked John to become the pastor of Celebrate Recovery. Today, John is, not only an ordained Elder of Saddleback Church, he is also a nationally known speaker and the author of The Celebrate Recovery curriculum, the Life’s Healing Choices curriculum, the General Editor of the Celebrate Recovery Bible, Celebration Place and the student program, The Landing. In addition, his newest books, Your First Step to Celebrate Recovery and the Celebrate Recovery Devotional, which he co-authored, have just been released.
John has been married to his wife, Cheryl, for 45 years. John and Cheryl have served together in Celebrate Recovery since the beginning. They have two adult children and five beautiful grandchildren.
A MESSAGE FROM RICK WARREN:
The Bible clearly states “all have sinned.” It is my nature to sin, and it is yours too. None of us is untainted. Because of sin, we’ve all hurt ourselves, we’ve all hurt other people, and others have hurt us. This means each of us need repentance and recovery in order to live our lives the way God intended.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression that “time heals all wounds.” Unfortunately, it isn’t true. As a pastor I frequently talk with people who are still carrying hurts from 30 or 40 years ago. The truth is – time often makes things worse. Wounds that are left untended fester and spread infection throughout your entire body. Time only extends the pain if the problem isn’t dealt with.
What we need is a biblical and balanced program to help people overcome their hurts, habits and hang-ups.Celebrate Recovery is that program. Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory, our recovery program is unique, and more effective in helping people change than anything else I’ve seen or heard of. Over the years I’ve witnessed how the Holy Spirit has used this program to transform literally thousands of lives at Saddleback Church and help people grow toward full Christlike maturity.
Most people are familiar with the classic 12 step program of A.A. and other groups. While undoubtedly many lives have been helped through the twelve 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. 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.
My study resulted in a ten-week series of messages called “The Road to Recovery.” During that series, my Associate Pastor John Baker developed the workbooks, which became the heart of our Celebrate Recovery program. I believe that this program is unlike any recovery program you may have seen. There are seven features that make it unique: