Rescue 180 and True Life Church Host Addiction Forum

People recover from addiction every day. Families are rebuilt. Lives are restored. But recovery rarely happens in a vacuum. It takes a community willing to stand beside the person, to support them, and to help lead them out of the darkness.

“We are so appreciative to True Life Church for joining with us to bring this forum to our county. Now that we are learning more about the disease of addiction, and that it is destroying countless folks in our communities, we are working to find solutions to this epidemic/crisis and are most importantly on a hunt to find the environment that can provide this safe place of healing,” shares Rev. Debra Shultz of Rescue 180.

The State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services has launched an exciting, new mission partnering with faith-based communities across the state. The network, Shultz says, is trying to encourage communities to work together to build a stronger recovery network comprised of compassionate and concerned citizens who are reaching out to those struggling with addictions and connecting them to vital substance abuse services.

“Attendees of the forum will be educated about the disease of addiction and to understand what recovery is and how both affect the community and how they may be affecting members of our congregations. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity apply as a Certified Recovery Church OR Faith-Based Organization in the State of Tennessee.

Attendee’s will also Receive a digital toolkit in advance that will start to provide information and resources in advance of the meeting. There will also be Information provided about resources in the region and in their own community to support their congregation and community members struggling with addiction.

“We are also reaching out to all Churches to come and learn about Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions and their work in the communities in Tennessee, and how congregations can support coalition’s efforts to prevent substance abuse and what strategies they are using to address and impact the region.”

Monty Burks, Director of Faith-Based Initiatives, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services shares, “Many Churches across Tennessee already have these services in place. In creating a recovery network that includes churches or faith based organizations, we need examples of the great work that is already being done in the region so others might learn from your example. This will also help your ministry provide additional outreach as smaller churches and organizations may not have the capacity to provide what you have. Also, as opportunities and information is made available from the State, you will have quick access. Additionally, there may be resources in your community that you might not be aware of. Come learn!

“If your Church becomes a Certified Recovery Church it does not mean you have to have regular recovery meetings. Becoming a Certified Recovery Church OR Faith-Based Organization just means at the very least you are willing to better understand addiction and recovery, and have the ability to provide information about treatment and recovery meetings to individuals who may be struggling with addiction.”
Burk also states that it is open to every ministry in the church. “We hope you will also be willing to talk about it – in staff meetings, from the pulpit, or maybe during a Sunday school class or when someone on staff or in your congregation needs support. However, if you want to host meetings OR start a recovery ministry you will now have access to information and others who are doing it.
“This event in Jefferson County is my 75th Church event. Folks across the state are catching the spirit that there is power in the pews, and that there are so many opportunities for our Churches to make a positive difference in the area of Substance abuse, whether it be Prevention or recovery and definitely both”.

“I totally agree with Dr. Burks, that this is a revolutionary mission. This event is at True Life Church is a Kick off for Jefferson County’s effort to reach all Faith Based organizations. I will also like to address this from my two separate professions, ministry and prevention. As a minister, I will say it is paramount that we obey God, to go to the hedges and highways to compel all – the hurting , the addicted, whosoever will come into God’s house. The Church is a place of restoration, not a place to be scolded nor destroyed. We as the body of Christ need to reach into every dark corner and open our doors to those who battle the disease of addiction.

“As a Prevention Specialist my job is to facilitate or provide Prevention education to my community. One of the most powerful ways has been to network and collaborate with any and every organization that will work with our vision. Churches should have always been on the forefront, but for whatever reason, there has been a reluctancy or even a fear to address substance abuse issues, in our congregations.

“ We at Rescue 180 want our community to know that the Coalition is their place to find answers. Our motto is: ‘A Voice of positive force, changing a community one day at a time, passionately pushing prevention to the top.’ We do promote Prevention above all, because as it may be an old adage, it is so true and we are living in a day where we are seeing the result of a lack of it…’An ounce of Prevention is better than a Pound of Cure” says Shultz. “Now that my two professions join hands, I am praying that this same revolutionary mindset of joining hands with recovery efforts, and recruiting our Faith-Based community, along with a multitude other professions, we can begin to see our opioid epidemic/crisis decrease!

“Yes, it takes a village, all hands on deck. No one is exempt, because substance abuse is no respecter of person’s. It can be your loved one next,” states Debra Shultz BCPS.

Shultz, Rescue 180’s Executive Director, will be sharing about Prevention efforts of Rescue 180, at the event.

The Honorable Duane Slone will also be on hand to share about his Recovery Court’s efforts as well as his efforts to work nationwide on our opioid crisis.

“Our Faith Based communities have unprecedented opportunities to bring hope and healing to a hurting world by being the hands and feet of our Creator, by serving people suffering from drug addiction , as well as other mental health disorders.” shares Slone.

Mallie Moore, a Fourth Judicial recovery Court graduate and pick by the Governor and a few other legislators to go stand with President Donald Trump, will also be on hand to share her testimony.

“I never want to turn down an opportunity to help my community. It is such an amazing feeling to be sober for 4 years, and even greater to know I am helping others by joining in the fight against drugs. “ shares Moore.

True Life Church’s , Justin Rymer, leader of their Celebrate Recovery, has an awesome testimony and will be serving on the panel.

“My wife and I struggled separately and together with addiction for many years. We tried several times to kick the habit on our own, without success. We both eventually went to Christ-centered inpatient treatment, where we surrendered our addictions and our lives to the Lord. Upon returning home, we discovered Celebrate recovery. We began attending, moved into leadership roles, and eventually with the support of True Life Church started our own Celebrate Recovery.

“We have grown tremendously in our 4 years of sobriety which is all credited to the work of Jesus in our lives. We are grateful to have the opportunity to show others that through Christ your chains can be broken and hearts can be healed.”

Karen Matevenjich a local jail minister, has worked for many years to ‘repair the breach’ between the Church and those who are bound by addiction.

“Nothing could have prepared me for the lessons I would learn through the jail ministry. These women were broken, full of shame and had no self worth and even less hope for the future. I knew there was no way they would come out of this pit without knowing God. Sharing the Gospel with them gave them hope, and just seeing that glimmer in their eyes made all the difference in the world.

“You see, I believe they cannot make it without others to stand beside them. The body of Christ has an obligation to care for the broken. God showed me 5 years ago when I started the jail ministry in Jefferson county jail, that I had to expand His love and forgiveness to these ladies, showing no condemnation or judgement towards them. I grew to love these women and realized they could be any of our loved one’s. So, we in the Faith community absolutely must extend our arms.”

Other speakers are Elizabeth Francis with Helen Ross McNabb, Criminal Justice liaison.

There will also be a panel consisting of Lifeline Coordinators of Region 1 Jason Goodman and Region 2 Jason Abernathy , along with several other representatives from the recovery community, Celebrate recovery, The Fix , Helen Ross , Rescue 180’s new recovery group, and Renovatus.
Forum Time/Location: November 14th, 2017 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm at True Life Church ,860 E. Hwy 11e, Jefferson City, TN 37760 DOORS OPEN 5:30.

For online registration go to:

If your church is interested in becoming a Certified Recovery Church there is an outstanding opportunity and as a member you will receive information, training and resources. Most importantly you will be linked with other churches and Faith Based organizations who may already be reaching out in different ways.

For more information contact:Rev. Debra Shultz Executive Director : Jefferson County’s Substance Abuse Coalition : 865-640-4843 email:

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014