Restore Life is a guided set of lessons helping people to get in touch with their spiritual life from God. The lessons can lead them out of substance abuse, depression, etc. into a purposeful life in Christ.
Restore Life was formulated from years of work with substance abuse deliverance ministries (The Most Excellent Way, Celebrate Recovery, Christian AA, Genesis Process, etc.) - all based on Bible principles at some level. There was agreement among our co-workers that deliverance was great, but the transformed life we all desired that led to purposeful service to Christ seldom occurred. Several co-workers in this area got together to create "Restore" Ministry to transition people from Most Excellent Way meetings into active service in The Church. Restore contained some principles of "beyond deliverance" ministry.
The San Diego Downtown Fellowship of Churches and Ministries (DF) became the source of spiritual resources for working with the homeless population at the Connections Housing shelter and needed a program to deal with people dealing with substance abuse. Christian AA and Celebrate Recovery were tried, but didn't meet the shelter needs - the shelter had a transient population, but the programs were created for on-going meetings. The Celebrate Recovery Meeting folded for lack of participation and lack of volunteers; a new approach was needed to address the need of the shelter population. DF went to prayer.
In a couple of weeks, we were inspired to take the principles of Restore plus some of the recovery/deliverance principles and reorganized them into a sequence of 8 lessons. A few more lessons were added to address problems specific to the spiritual trauma suffered by the homeless population. The result was named "Restore Life" to complement several other DF programs at Connections Housing which all had "life" in their name.
Restore Life now has a menu of 18 modules, each of which can be taught/discussed in about 90 minutes. After prayer, a brief discussion with the attendees can determine where the greatest needs are and which module is the best match. PowerPoint slides contain the Bible verses and lesson points, which allow more in-depth discussions. Following successes in ministry at the city shelter, Restore Life has been successfully used in a variety of other ministry venues (with veterans, other homeless populations, substance abuse ministries, etc.). Some Restore Life users have extracted module principles and notes to allow them to use the program without a computer/PowerPoint facility; others have put it on a smartphone to lead discussions in small groups. Th Restore Life approach has proven wonderfully successful. Success examples:
- Men and women have been brought to faith in Christ despite past bad/abusive church experiences or ultra-religious parents.
- Substance abuse problems have been resolved (through Christ) such that temptations to relapse have been dispelled.
- Depression and severe anxieties have been dispelled so wonderfully that prescribed medications were declared no longer necessary by overseeing doctors. (One woman had been having a history of anxiety attacks resembling heart attacks and was taking medications to control them. After 8 weeks, she was diagnosed as having been over-medicated. In 12 weeks, the doctor took her off the medications altogether. In subsequent years, she has not had any relapses. Several other people have been released from medical regimes each year.)
- Marriages and families have been reconciled and restored.
- Chronically homeless people have been delivered from traumatic stress.
- Veterans have had (severe) post-traumatic stress issues resolved.
The focus on a personal relationship with Christ is critical - HE is the healer.