Breaking the Chains of Addiction
The Most Excellent Way (MEW) began as a weekly prayer meeting in San Diego, CA in 1986, as a way to restore confidence to the addicted. By using the Word of God and Its guiding principles, MEW helps people overcome the guilt, frustration, hopelessness, fear and shame associated with destructive lifestyles. As the Holy Spirit moved, other churches and ministries looked to MEW for guidance. The Most Excellent Way is now a worldwide ministry meeting in churches, rescue missions, rehab facilities, jails and prisons throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and many other countries.
The local meetings of Most Excellent Way at Olive Baptist Church began in 1993. An average of 2,400 people meet each year through the Ministry Village MEW meetings. Tens of thousands of people have attended these meetings since then, and many other local meetings were born from Olive. God used the Most Excellent Way ministry to fundamentally change Todd and Morgan’s lives. This is their story.
Todd first saw information about Most Excellent Way meetings advertised on the Olive Baptist Church marquee at the corner of Davis and Olive. He called the church for more information. Todd felt lost; he was running from the emptiness in his life and looking for ways to fill the hole inside of him. Desperate, he thought MEW might offer some answers. “I had no idea that Jesus was what was missing until I came to Most Excellent Way.”
Morgan doesn’t remember how she first heard about MEW; she just remembers showing up at a meeting at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church. She had been chasing rebellion. “I was a rebellious sinner – lost, lost, lost – completely dependent on alcohol. My life was a trainwreck. On March 4, 2006, I got to a place where I couldn’t imagine my life any longer, with or without alcohol. I cried out to God and said, ‘Lord, if You’re real, kill me or cure me.’ And He sent me to MEW. When I got to that room, I was absolutely unlovable, and some people there just encouraged me and loved on me. I continued to go because I heard hope and help in those rooms.”
Morgan continues, “One of the things that Todd and I found so appealing about MEW is that when you walk into the room, because it is Christ-centered, and because there is a sense of freedom, it’s just a whole different atmosphere than the secular recovery programs. People talk about how they are a new creation in Christ. People have joy and peace. One of the big differences is that we see folks that have a life; they’re not all doom and gloom. And what I found in these other programs, not that there’s anything wrong with them, is that they would say things like, ‘You have a disease that can never be cured.’ What we learned in MEW through Biblical teaching is that Christ can heal all our diseases. We are whole. We are recreated, and we become new. And if we don’t drink or do drugs, we’re not drug addicts or alcoholics anymore – we are free, whole people.”
Todd agrees. “The big difference is the hope – that we can be made new – that we can be healed – that we don’t have to walk around the rest of our lives with the stigma that says, ‘I’ll always be an alcoholic,’ or ‘I’ll always be a compulsive gambler,’ or ‘I’ll always be something that’s really not true anymore’.”
Morgan remembers what it felt like to walk into secular addiction recovery groups. “I remember walking into those other rooms, and they had some steps. And I remember looking at that 12th step and thinking that I needed that 12th step first. And what I found at MEW is that in order for our lives to work, we have to have a relationship with Christ first and foremost, because He’s the foundation. He’s the glue that makes everything else work.”
In addition to overcoming addiction, Todd says that finding Jesus was the most monumental, life-changing, earth-shattering event that happened to him because of MEW. “I was not a Christ follower before I came to MEW. All the other good things have come through that – having a real life, having a fantastic wife, having a church community. I really believe our primary function at The Most Excellent Way is to build that bridge that allows people to come to know Jesus.”
Involvement with Most Excellent Way affected every aspect of Morgan and Todd’s lives. “I was unavailable before I came to MEW,” said Morgan. “I was unavailable to my family — unavailable to society. I didn’t have a church. I didn’t know Christ. I didn’t have relationships. I had nothing prior to Christ. My life was absolutely self-centered. So now that I’ve come to know the Lord through MEW, it has changed our lives radically. Through church involvement, we are more connected with others. We are being discipled, and being invested in, and we are investing in others. It has totally changed our lives for the better. We have a life now. We didn’t have a life before.”
“It’s really better, I believe, than a normal relationship because of the standards that we’re called to – to make sure that we prevent ourselves from going back,” explains Todd. “So we really have better than what a normal life would be outside of Christ. Morgan and I are very grateful to the leaders at Olive who, way before we personally ever showed up here, decided to start MEW in Pensacola and to love on the unlovable. It probably wasn’t an easy decision or a popular one at the time, but it was an obedient one.”
Morgan and Todd choose to stay involved in The Most Excellent Way today, even after marking many years of their own sobriety. “We are there, first, because we always want to remember (like Egypt) that we are enslaved, and we don’t ever want to forget,” explains Morgan. “We always want to keep our focus. But we also want to share with others the good news of a risen Savior who makes people whole – the good news that it is possible to stay clean and to have a good life outside of those rooms.
Todd continues. “I don’t want to forget for myself. I also want to share with others that they can be happy – that they can have real lives. And I want to tell them about Jesus, so they not only have a good life here, but they can also have a great life after here. Amen and Praise God.”
For those struggling with addiction, Morgan’s message is very clear. “There is a way out. There is hope. Other people invested in me, and I am always happy to reach out and share with others. What’s impossible with man is possible with God. I was hopelessly addicted – hopelessly addicted. If God can save me, He can save anyone.”
Most Excellent Way meetings are held each week at the Olive Baptist Church Main Campus (Tuesdays and Fridays from 7pm to 8:30pm) and at the Olive Baptist Warrington Campus (Wednesdays from 7pm to 8:30pm). Meetings are open to anyone struggling with addictive behavior, as well as the family members and loved ones of those struggling.
To donate to the Most Excellent Way ministry, click here. Every dollar makes a difference in the life of someone struggling to overcome addiction.
Volunteers interested in working with MEW can provide encouragement, a listening ear, and prayerful support to those who attend our meetings. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with MEW, or if you are interested in participating in a Friends and Family support group through MEW, contact Scott Heald at SHeald@ministryvillage.org or by phone at 850-475-1112.
To learn more about The Most Excellent Way program, part of Ministry Village at Olive, click here.