Higher Ground Ministry is Christ-centered- It is concerned about the person, but it is centered on Christ. Its goal, then, is: To lead participants to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and to promote continual spiritual growth, through instruction, encouragement, and local church involvement. We have found and believe that the only way to be delivered is to have a relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. This relationship is possible because of His atoning death on the cross and becomes a reality in our lives through repentance, faith, confession and forgiveness.
Relationships must be cultivated, they don't just happen. They improve with time and effort. the relationships of those in the group with Christ develop as they spend time getting to know Him and sharing themselves with Him. Jesus is the center of this ministry. It is His ministry. He is the One who unites the participants and directs them. They are dependent upon Him and they teach others to become dependent upon Him by their example. They submit to His Lordship in the meetings. They emphasize the things which unite them as believers, rather than the things which divide them. They acknowledge their differences, but refuse to dwell on them in the meeting itself. They may discuss these differences after the meeting, privately.
Higher Ground Ministry is local church sponsored. It believes that Jesus Christ established the Church as His body on earth and has endowed it with His authority. Every Christian ministry should, therefore, be accountable to a local church. The Higher Ground Ministry meeting is not an independent ministry. It is a dependent ministry, dependent upon God's working through the local church to give it authority. The leaders of each group are members in good standing of the sponsoring church, free from addiction and are accountable to the church for the actions of the group.
Higher Ground Ministry is a support group. It is not a treatment program, nor a healing ministry. Problems are solved and individuals are healed, but this is a by-product of the ministry. Support is provided to encourage those who are in the process of experiencing deliverance from addiction and to keep them from drifting back into old patterns. Many of those attending the meetings have been in treatment programs or have experienced some measure of healing. Criticism and preaching are avoided in the meetings. Participants come alongside their fellow strugglers to help them stand firm under pressure. They look for progress not perfection. They encourage open and honest sharing in the meetings without fear of condemnation. They seek to restore to usefulness for God and others those who fail. Personal advice and counsel is given at the conclusion of the meeting. Each one humbly reveals his present condition before God, does not demand that others be where he is at present and does not expect to remain there himself.
Higher Ground Ministry is for those who have been affected by addiction. The Higher Ground Ministry is for everyone who has been touched by addiction directly or indirectly. Some may not yet realize the full impact of addiction upon their lives. It ministers to the chemically dependent, the emotionally dependent and those who have misplaced dependence (co-dependence).
We accept a biblical model based upon the belief that addictive-compulsive behaviors are sinful, life-dominating habits which we develop to cope with the world as we perceive it and to serve the idols of our hearts. An idolatry model is used as a way of understanding chemical dependence, emotional dependence and co-dependence. Idolatry is attaching more importance to something than it rightly deserves. Idolatry is attempting to control one's environment and instead results in being controlled. Idolatry is attempting to accept from substitutes what God alone can give.
Those who have developed the wrong attachments are assisted to see how their addiction has affected those around them, and those around them are assisted to understand the bondage of addiction and how it affects the addict. Higher Ground is one sinner telling another sinner how to find deliverance in Jesus Christ and be restored to useful service. The healing which takes place at Higher Ground is the healing which comes when on deals with the real issues in his or her life using biblical terminology and biblical methodology. One comes looking for acceptance and finds deliverance.
The idolatry model of addiction is a wrong focus that clouds one's view of life.
1. Should be conducted in such a way to avoid personal, political and religious controversy.
2. What is shared in the meeting is to be kept in confidence and not shared with others outside the group.
3. The meeting should be 60-90 minutes and allow for time for fellowship and counseling.
4. Topics should include the reading and discussion of a precept twice a month and topics using scripture on the other weeks. Presentation of the topic about 10 minutes to allow for group members to share how they relate to the topic or share if they are struggling with an issue. Avoid cross talking and focusing on an individual's problem. Invite person to stay after the meeting to talk and pray with them. Try to stay on the topic.
5. When someone is missing call and let them know they are missed. Invite members to church services and activities. Pray for the meeting and for the group members.
6. Have names available for Christian counselors and Christian treatment programs if possible.