When Wesley Wilson was a teen in church group, a man with a frail sounding voiced reached out to him, asking him to accompany him, as part of his team, when he preached at a prison. That was the first time Wesley heard Sam Burr preach. He remembers, “This booming, thunderous voice came out.” Wesley began accompanying Barr to many funerals where he preached. Barr inspired Wesley, and today Wesley inspires others.
“He was a deeply passionate man and he loved the Lord so much,” Wesley said. ”I admired the fact that there was no particular reason why he reached out to me, but I’m glad he did.” Today, many young teens may say that about Wesley, as he reaches out to as many as he can.
Wesley is an associate pastor and a youth pastor at Fremont Berean Bible Church, where he plans to launch a new program to help those struggling with substance abuse, especially teens. Wesley Wilson has a bachelor’s and a master’s in Biblical studies and Christian ministries from Omaha’s Grace University. He is a hospital chaplain in Omaha, and also serves as the local hospital chaplain on a volunteer basis. He also has a provisional license in alcohol and drug counseling.
He plans to launch a Celebrate Recovery For Teens and Adults program. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-driven, 12-step program for people struggling with addiction or abuse issues, grief, and co-dependency. Two months ago, Wesley began working with teens, patterning his program after one launched by John Baker, a pastor from Saddleback Church in California. Most of the teens in the group deal with issues of substance abuse, grief, violence, or family dysfunction. They feed the teens a meal, and the program includes both worship and a lesson on a particular topic.
The environment is safe, supportive, and confidential. Some of the teens have been recommended for the program by social workers, law enforcement, or therapists. Wesley said, “It’s totally Christ-focused. The only way you can change any habit or get over any hurt is through Christ and I tell the kids that therapy can change your behavior and your thought patterns, but only Christ can change your heart.”
The meetings usually last about an hour and a half, but many of the teens hang around longer. Many of the kids in the program have no connection to the church, and the participants “cover the whole gamut.” Wesley said, “My philosophy is grace and truth. You show the kids grace and understanding and as they experience that, you’re allowed to speak truth into their lives.”
April 21st is the Celebrate Recovery launch date. It will be open to anyone in the community, and people from any church are invited. ”We want to make it a community thing,” said Wesley. Meetings are free for teens, and Wesley plans to ask adults for a $3 donation to go towards meals. Wilson is open to recruiting and training volunteers. Anyone near Omaha who may want to volunteer, the information is in the full story.
Read the full story here. Image courtesy of Fremont Tribune.