Learning to Become God-Dependent Through the Most Excellent Way
The Most Excellent Way (MEW) is Ministry Village at Olive’s program focused on providing faith-based support for addiction recovery. Meetings take place each week at Olive’s main campus on Davis Highway as well as the Warrington Campus. The program’s name, Most Excellent Way, is derived from Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 12:31 as he taught the body of Christ how to use their spiritual gifts to support one another and build up the church – “And now I will show you the most excellent way.” Paul went on in 1 Corinthians 13 to teach the believers what love is, and is not.
I recently attended a Most Excellent Way meeting at Olive Baptist Church – invited by MEW director Scott Heald. My only previous impression of an addiction support meeting was limited to what I’ve read in novels, heard reported on the news, or watched in television dramas and movie theaters. I didn’t know what to expect. Downtrodden faces? Blissful ignorance? Stories focused on excusing bad behavior? Wringing of hands? Wailing and gnashing of teeth? I admit, my mind was full of random assumptions.
When I arrived to the meeting room, I was greeted warmly by other meeting participants and leaders – people who didn’t know me or why I was there – whether I was an addict, a family member of an addict, a church member, or just someone off the street. I must say, I felt more welcome at the MEW meeting that night than I have at some professional gatherings I’ve attended through the years. There were no skeptical glances – no curious stares directed my way. Everyone I encountered seemed to realize I was a new face in the room, and they actively sought to make me feel welcome and comfortable without overwhelming me.
The meeting began as the leader welcomed everyone, read a scripture, and shared a devotional that was meaningful to him. Then, one by one, each meeting attendee shared their names, read a line or two from the MEW opening statement and Ten Attitudes of Victorious Living, and were instantly greeted by name from the room – a “Hi” and a “Thank you”– when each person shared. Funny stories were told – laughter was most definitely welcome. Stories about moments that had caused a challenge or had been a potential stumbling block during the week were discussed. Sometimes the person sharing was emotional; other times they were able to report the information objectively and analytically.
Ms. Debbe Jefcoat, leader of the Charis House, asked those in attendance to share any milestones, and she passed out special tokens for those who had reached one. I received a token for attending my first meeting. There were others who marked a certain number of weeks sober, several months sober, or multiple years sober. I was fortunate to attend on the evening of someone’s 10th year of sobriety. To mark this special milestone, there was a huge cake, and the celebrating person served everyone else. She was remarkable – a steady and encouraging voice to everyone listening. She acknowledged that every day of sobriety was intentional. Let your guard down, make excuses for yourself, and before you know it, old patterns could reemerge. Intentional sobriety and focus on God’s strength and steadiness are what keep her moving forward – one day at a time. Her story and example was an inspiration that was visible on everyone’s faces. I was honored simply to be present to witness her testimony.
Thanks to Lifetime TV movies and dramatic literature, I was expecting a lot of sadness, grief, and fear in the MEW meeting. Instead, I felt overwhelming support, companionship, love, gratitude and hope. Support for the strangers seated around the room. Companionship with others who have struggled through the easier days as well as the difficult ones. Love that is demonstrated, as Paul taught in 1 Corinithians 12 and 13, by supporting one another as only someone else who has walked through the same darkness can. Hope for the future. Hope for the lives each person so desperately wants to live. Gratitude for the day completed. Hope for the next day. Hope that is achieved by keeping eyes firmly focused on Jesus and feet planted in His Word every day. Hope and gratitude these meeting participants have gained through following the Lord’s Most Excellent Way.
⛪️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 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.