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Celebrate Grace recovery ministry continues to grow

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

Chris Chase

Pastor Chris Chase leads worship on Friday evenings at Celebrate Grace. Photos from Celebrate Grace Facebook page.

Celebrate Grace is a recovery ministry bringing faith and recovery to more than 120 individuals each week. 

“We continue to see all kinds of transformations happening. Each week new people show up. They come to worship and for small groups. The new people become group leaders, and they invite new people,” says Chris Chase, the pastor for Celebrate Grace in Bismarck, North Dakota. 

Chase has shown his strong commitment to growing this worshipping recovery community and training others to take on the work with him. Celebrate Grace has 14 small groups with 12 leaders who walk with a person through the steps to recovery. Multiplying himself with more leaders to lead more groups is the key to drawing more people into recovery, and Chris is showing that.

During the COVID pandemic, Celebrate Grace partnered with Legacy South UMC to buy a building, remodel it, and expand the ministry. 

“We needed to have a safe place for people to come. We are close to downtown and the people we serve,” says Chase. 

The partnership with Legacy South is a blessing for both ministries. Legacy South needed a more permanent space for worship and ministry. Celebrate Grace needed volunteers. Each week members of Legacy South serve a meal to those coming to worship and small groups at Celebrate Grace.  Read more about Legacy South and Celebrate Grace partnership and building

Other partnerships are supporting Celebrate Grace. Chase is partnering with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide shelter for the homeless, a space for people to stay that is positive and chemical-free.

“A lot of people are trying to get a new start and have no place to go that is free from drugs and alcohol. So we connected with FEMA to set up a homeless shelter that is a positive, safe space to stay,” says Chase. 

Celebrate Grace 2

Worship space at Celebrate Grace.

The state of North Dakota has seen the spiritual impact of this ministry on those struggling with recovery. North Dakota continues partnering with Chase to connect him with up to 100 formerly incarcerated individuals who need a recovery ministry in their lives. 

Soon Recovery Grace hopes to purchase a van. A driver will take the van to key locations throughout Bismarck to pick up people seeking recovery, who often have suspended driver’s licenses, to attend small groups and worship. Funds for the van are still being raised. The ministry applied for and received a Breakthrough Ministry Grant to help fund the van.

Recovery ministry is a lot of work. Chase is challenged in two ways financially and maintaining his well-being. 

Funds for the ministry are dependent on partnerships and donations. Chase works hard on both. He has successfully kept a steady flow of funds but knows that there is a continued need to find revenue streams for the ministry.

He also knows that burnout is high and can happen quickly for those who lead recovery ministry. “I am pretty diligent about spending time with my family and staying healthy,” says Chase. 

The past three years have been intense and successful for Chase and Recovery Grace. “Recovery ministry is a messy thing. It can take four years before a person is back on their feet and can tithe back to the church. There is a continual need to find group leaders. It takes six months to get a group leader in place. We are blessed to provide a safe space for people to recover and know God.”

Resources: 
Breakthrough Ministry Grants | Applications accepted through October 31
    
Apply for a grant to reach the next person for Jesus. Breakthrough Ministry Grants include outreach ministries, church/school partnerships, young adult/campus ministries, and culture of call. The next grant application deadline is October 31. Get the application and instructions here. For questions about the application process, contact Diane Weller in the Foundation office.

Learn more about Celebrate Grace and recovery ministry:  A worshipping community guiding people through recovery and learning more about Jesus. You can donate, volunteer or learn more on their Facebook page or website

UMC

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