Local ministry offers Biblical support
by Sherrie Norris
It's a "safe haven," said facilitator Beverly Watts, for those who need support and encouragement and where confidentiality and trust are paramount.
"We offer a nonjudgmental atmosphere where participants are free to engage or simply observe," she said. "We choose to let God be our guide through the journey to freedom from our life-controlling problems, strongholds, idols -- whatever you choose to call your issues," Watts said.
The ministry is centered on a Bible-based study utilizing material that encourages freedom from the things that cause separation from God.
Mended Wings sprang six years ago from the suggestion of a woman attending a church event.
"She said we should have a way to help those who are hurting or are dealing with things too hard to handle by themselves," Watts said. "I felt the Spirit of God speaking to me about how I could help get such a ministry started."
After gaining the support of church pastor David Luster -- who named the ministry -- and with "lots of prayer, training and preparation," Mended Wings was begun, Watts said.
"I was just the messenger and not expecting to take it on, but the pastor appointed me the facilitator. I was happy that he entrusted me with the ministry," she said. "I was even more excited that God had chosen me to do it."
The program format begins with a nine-week "insight group" session, called "the ice breaker."
"We use the 'Freedom to Christian Character' workbook," she said, "that breaks down everything we face into three groups of dependency: substance, behavioral and co-dependency or obsession, and helps us recognize life-controlling issues, or as the Apostle Paul called them, strongholds.'"
Whatever those challenges are called, Watts said, the effect is the same: "If you can't walk away, put it down or turn from it, then it has you -- and it separates you from God."
Until we admit we have a problem and seek help from God and learn to trust him, Watts said, there is no freedom.
Sinking into the pit, she said, doesn't happen overnight, "Nor will it go away overnight -- It takes commitment and the desire for deliverance."
The program study follows a pyramid model, taken from 2 Peter 1:3-11, in which the foundation is faith and the top level is love.
"We start out believing that God will deliver us from our problems and after nine weeks of climbing up the pyramid, we have learned about agape (unconditional) love," she said. "Between faith and love, we find goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness or brotherly love."
And once you become a part of the group, Watts said, you are always a part.
"Many have gone on to other towns, even states, and other local churches, but they are still a part of our group," she said. "Plus, God has opened doors for many of them to minister on their own, something we love to see happen, but something they never considered in the beginning."
Watts said Mended Wings as "a unique ministry," in which an original concept is followed, but adapted to better meet the needs of the members.
She likened many of the participants as "caterpillars changing to beautiful butterflies," as they find their freedom.
"For everyone who has stuck with Mended Wings, there's a success story," she said. "It's kind of like having surgery. You know it is going to be painful and you dread going through it, but to make a change, you have to get rid of the problem. We don't fix you, but God will, if you let Him. We are there for support and encouragement."
Since the ministry began, Watts said, she has seen marriages restored and bitterness, hatred, resentment and anger disappear.
"When I see these change, and they happen all the time, I thank God for His work. I thank Him for allowing me the privilege of being a small part of this ministry. Life is too short to carry so much baggage around -- God doesn't want us to be weighted down with such a heavy load."
Mended Wings is not about counsel or advise, Watts said. "We are there for support and encouragement, but we do refer to counseling, if needed and desired."
"God is working through Mended Wings to be a great blessing for many who are hurting and looking to heal from the inside out," said Kim Dempsey, ministry assistant at the church.
You do not have to be a member of Greenway to be a part of Mended Wings.
For more information about Mended Wings, call the Greenway Baptist Church office at (828) 264- 7750, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)