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Churches beginning conversations about 'Breaking the Stigma'


LEXINGTON—Opioids don't care if abusers come from a good or bad family, said Todd Burus, the drug crisis sweeping Kentucky is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Burus, who heads up a drug abuse awareness group called Walking Together, is looking to draw churches into the conversation of healing through "Breaking the Stigma Sunday."

"Let's open our eyes to the fact that this crisis is hurting everyday people," said Burus, who has served as a North American Mission Board church planter. "And our churches need to be standing on the front lines trying to provide answers."

Burus, in partnership with Central Kentucky Network of Baptists, is offering an introductory video for pastors interested in raising awareness of opioid use and abuse. Churches are encouraged to show the 4-minute video during worship on Feb. 17 (available at breaking-the-stigma.home.blog).

For churches that want to pursue what it looks like to minister to individuals or families dealing with the consequences of drug abuse, Burus has a series of three discussion videos on addiction prevention, recovery and redemption.

"We want this to be a way to start a conversation about how we can better engage the problems of addiction and drug abuse that are impacting the lives of people in congregations every day," Burus said.

Missions Mobilization Team Leader Eric Allen said he showed a Breaking the Stigma video last year at a Kentucky Baptist Convention conference aimed at equipping families and the church to face the opioid crisis.

"With the help of these videos and prayer, churches can begin a discussion about where God is opening doors for them to play a role in fighting the demonic power of drugs within their own community," Allen said.

Burus said when he surveyed members of his own church in Lexington, he found 1-out-of-3 people at Immanuel Baptist knew someone affected by the opioid crisis.

"Oftentimes we find a church's ministry to people with drug problems is to invite in a support group and kind of farm out concern for these people, like with Celebrate Recovery. We don't really seek ways to integrate them into the life of the church," Burus said.

But some churches are, he said. One example is a ministry that cares for babies going through fetal abstinence syndrome.

"There are these churches who have just made it their mission to care for children who are born to drug addicted parents. They go to hospitals and love on the children because, oftentimes, the mothers can't," Burus said.

Other churches are providing transportation for people residing at a Sober Living Home or ministering through foster care.

"We're trying to help churches see how God has gifted them uniquely to be able to play a role in the solution," Burus said.

Participating churches will have access to additional resources, such as discussion guides. (KT)

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