What factors does a pastor and his leaders have to consider in making church a safe place for people attached to BEEPS? If you are wanting to move your church in a transformational direction, you need to read this blog!
Family Dynamics—What you need to know:
It is usually a co-dependent family member who shows up in your office first. The primary reason is that they are the one in the most pain.
The person with a strong attachment to BEEPS is in a tremendous amount of pain but,
The BEEPS medicate and numb their pain so they are not entirely aware of it.
The addict is sometimes so medicated they don’t even know they are affecting other people.
They don’t know they are hurting other people and even if they do they minimize it.
The co-dependent and the children in the family are watching this. They are victimized by the anger and are in a huge amount of pain. So the first person to show up in your office will probably be a family member—a parent or a spouse or a child.
The family member that shows up in your office is breaking the rules of an addictive system which says, “Don’t tell anyone else we have a problem here.”
They feel a tremendous amount of shame.
They feel a lot of fear about what is going to happen;
They are likely to be embarrassed. They feel great emotional and relational stress, so it is hugely important to support their request for help.
You don’t have to fix them, but supporting them and encouraging them for coming forward to talk to you about it is huge.
You don’t have to buy everything they say. Sometimes they are in so much pain they exaggerate. That is part of what makes addiction so messy. Showing up in your office is not normal. Normally that kind of stuff stays hidden so it is a huge step for someone if they come to you and say, “This is going on in my house and I don’t know what to do.”
The best thing that you can do is to start connecting them immediately to people, resources, and groups in your church and in your community that can help them.
They are going to need a huge amount of support and encouragement to follow through on getting help for themselves. They always come to try to get help for the person who has the attachment to BEEPS.
Typical Conversation: The spouse or parent shows up with the person attached to BEEPS and says, “Well here he is, fix him.” or “Here she is fix her.”
We always say, “Well what is your problem?”
They say, “Well, this person. If they would stop drinking or drugging…snuffing stuff up their nose or shooting it up their arm, smoking….”
“No, no, no, what is your problem?”
Eventually, they come to realize that living with an addict is not unlike living in a house with a rattlesnake. You always want to know where the snake is, what’s the snake going to do, and is the snake hungry and irritated enough to bite you today? So they need a lot of help in working with their own fear, with their own shame and knowing what to do.
The dynamics in the BEEPS family tend to be very similar whether somebody is a dyed in the wool perfectionist, workaholic or approval seeker as they are in the home of an alcoholic. This is something that effects everyone.
How can your church become a place of healing, hope and transformation for people with attachments to BEEPS?
Three conditions must be present for there to be a culture of transformation.
1. You need a MULTIGENERATIONAL community.
You need three generations interacting together. Sometimes you have three generations, but the older people go to the older people’s class and the younger ones go to theirs and the teens go to theirs and everybody else goes to theirs. Everyone is in the same building, but are not interacting.
2. You need the Immanuel Lifestyle. The Immanuel Lifestyle is a term that means that you go through your day and your life interacting with Jesus and His Shalom is ruling in your heart. You must have God’s Shalom in your church and an Immanuel lifestyle that people are learning to live.
3. You need relational brain skills. You need to grow the skills to initiate bonds, to grow strong bonds and especially to repair strong bonds. You need these three as primary focuses of what you do in church in addition to everything else mentioned about dealing with people with BEEPS.
Those three things are the culture you need. But to enter the transformation zone and to stay there, three things need to happen–and this is a big part of what is talked about in the Joy Starts Here book. Those are the conditions, now here are the actions:
1. You need the strong and the weak of your congregation interacting together. That means people who don’t have BEEPS, and people who have recovered from BEEPS and people who are still struggling with BEEPS. You need all of them interacting together around issues of life, including BEEPS.
2. You need tender responses to weakness. If you do not respond tenderly to weakness, you will create a culture of performance and legalism that will kill transformation. So, we all must get over pretending that bad things are not happening, pretending BEEPS are not there, and get over responses that say, “There better not be BEEPS here or we will take care of them!” You need to respond tenderly to weakness.
This is why we wrote the Joy Starts Here book. All this is laid out in great detail in the book and it explains how to grow this kind of culture in your church. The Thriving Program has been designed as a discipleship program that includes specific training for people with BEEPS.
(Click diagram to enlarge) You notice that the diagram starts with the Joy Starts Here book. If you use Joy Starts Here in your churches, it is designed for weak and strong to interact together in joy in multigenerational community and Immanuel shalom.
After you complete the 9 weeks of going through the book, people in your group can go to one of two places. They can either go to Restarting or they can go to Forming. Restarting is a recovery entrance into the Thriving program and focuses specifically on BEEPS and trauma and how you learn to recover, how you learn to grow joy, how you grow relationships, how you grow relational skills, how you learn to connect with Immanuel to grow Shalom.
It is rooted in a culture of transformation.
Those people who do not see themselves as having issues related to BEEPS and trauma or relationships, go into FORMING which is a spiritual formation program. Forming is designed for people to grow a deeper, more interactive relationship with Jesus and it is 12 weeks of learning how to grow their skills and give some practice to grow their skills.
From there both groups go into BELONGING. Which is about how you learn to create a joyful place for others. How the weak and strong mix together. How multigenerational community mixes together. How you respond tenderly and how Shalom rules.
From there everyone moves into HEALING which is intensive practice in connecting with Immanuel and talking to Him about people and places in life. From there you go to LOVING which is about how you apply everything you’ve learned in Joy Starts Here and the rest of Thriving and how to apply that to your relationships.
A special crisis unit will be developed. This curriculum is designed so that you and the people you love can go back through the program together.
What fears and concerns come to mind when you think of creating a t-Zone for your church?
What did you learn about weakness growing up at home? What about in grade and high school?
Tell three people with less maturity than yourself what you appreciate about them. Notice what happens.
We look forward to your feedback!
Blessings, Carol Brown, B.A. M.A.C.I. Amazon Best Selling author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive
Chris Coursey. B.A. M.A. Theology, Co-author of Joy Starts Here www.thrivetoday.org/contactchris