November’s BIG IDEA

Substance Abuse

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
                           – Galatians 5:1

In 2009, drug and alcohol addiction affects communities of all demographics and people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic levels.  Beaver Ruin Road Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Gregory Baker, is a 300 member church located in Norcross, Georgia, that is ministering to people affected by various forms of substance abuse. 

In 2003, Beaver Ruin Road Baptist Church started the Rise and Walk Ministry.  Program director Jimmy Threat, who is affectionately known as Brother Jimmy, had recently become clean from drugs after overcoming a 20 year addiction.  Brother Jimmy had participated in at least seven different programs before finding success with Project Adam, a Christian-based program in Winder, Georgia.  Therefore, he felt called to help others who were experiencing the same struggles he had experienced.  He sought to create a Christian-based program that would help people realize that they had to renew their minds and change their lifestyles in order to maintain sobriety.    

The Rise and Walk Ministry began as a meeting group for people dealing with substance abuse.  The ministry gained 501(c) 3 status and, with financial support from the church, operated a safe house in Lawrenceville, Georgia for four years.  While the ministry no longer operates the safe house, the Rise and Walk Ministry assists people with locating addiction centers and continues to offer weekly group meetings for addicts, relatives and friends of addicts, or anyone who is interested in participating in the meetings.  Participants follow a Scripture-based, 12-step model.  The group also participates in sessions with other addiction groups.  Moreover, the participants visit people who are still battling addiction, for Brother Jimmy believes that it is necessary for former addicts to hear stories of people who continue to struggle to prevent recovering addicts from returning to drugs and alcohol.  When asked how the meetings are helpful, Brother Jimmy responds, “The meetings are not just for other people—the meetings are for me.  They let me know that what I stepped out of is real.” 

Beaver Ruin Road Baptist Church’s substance abuse ministry is open to the church and community, and is operated with support of the church and through the volunteer efforts of Jimmy Threat and others.  This mid-size church implemented its BIG IDEA to minister to hurting people in the Atlanta area, and through the Rise and Walk Ministry, Beaver  Ruin Road Baptist Church is living up to its motto as “A Changing Lives Ministry.”


If your church is interested in developing a substance abuse ministry, the following national and community organizations may assist with your project:

Churches with substance abuse ministries:

  • Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church
    6100 Georgia Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20011
    (202) 723- 3130
    Pastor, Joseph Daniel

  • Hays Tabernacle CME Church
    10121 S. Central Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90002
    (323) 564-5121
    Pastor, Joseph C. Gardner


  • A Hunger for Healing:  The Twelve Steps as a Classical Model for Christian Spiritual Growth by J. Keith Miller

  • “Black Churches in Substance Use and Abuse Prevention Efforts” by Diane R. Brown, Wilma Scott, Krim Lacey, and Joan Blount

  • Chemical Dependency Counseling: A Practical Guide by Robert R. Perkinson

  • Favorite Counseling and Therapy Techniques: 51 Therapists Share Their Most Creative Strategies by Howard G. Rosenthal

  • Group Treatment for Substance Abuse: A Stages of Change Therapy Manual by Mary Velasquez, Gaylyn Gaddy Maurer, Cathy Crouch, and Carlo C. DiClemente

  • Learning the Language of Addictions Counseling by Geri Miller

  • Serving Those in Need:  A Handbook for Managing Faith-Based Human Service Organizations by Edward Queen

  • Substance Abuse Counseling:  Theory and Practice by Patricia Stevens


2013 Units