Distance Learning

The development of Distance Learning Training Series as a service delivery model uses supplementary educational materials including ministry guides, a video series, PowerPoint Presentations, and additional training activities. This model will provide remote congregations with a cost-effective method to utilize the training, educational materials, and other resources of Faith Partners. These efforts can provide a unique ministry of presence in the areas of prevention, early intervention, referral assistance, recovery support, and advocacy in congregations that would otherwise not have any resources.

The Distance Learning Training Series can be purchased as a complete package or by phase. Pricing options are available for single congregations or multi-congregation organizations.  Fee includes access to digital video content for one year from the date of purchase. Please select your purchase choice and complete payment through PayPal. Once payment has been received, you will be sent codes to utilize the access links below.

Distance Learning Training Series

All Aboard!

It’s exciting to create and establish a congregational team. But, how can you continue to add new members and welcome their unique experiences, gifts, and talents? It’s important for a team to continue to grow and develop – new membership is vital to the life-blood of any team ministry! 

How do you add new members to your already established team? Think of your team as a moving train. A thoughtful “on-boarding” process to orient new team members is critical to their early involvement and investment in the ministry direction. This video series is a valuable tool to orient new and established team members to your congregational ministry.

Readiness happens on an individual, family, congregational, and community level. All of us wrestle with feelings of resistance. This might be due to feelings of shame or the stigma that surrounds issues of addiction and substance abuse. Phase One will allow you to explore these feelings, discuss them with one another, and gauge your level of “readiness.” Together, you will take time to look at the “big picture” – the full process of initiating, nurturing and sustaining congregation and community efforts. This is a critical step when recruiting members in your congregation and can be helpful when identifying the individuals who can “champion” this effort, to keep things moving.

For many individuals, spirituality and religion are important components for the prevention of and recovery from substance use disorders. The faith community can be a powerful force of healing for those struggling with substance abuse disorders. However, the intergenerational setting of the faith community is often under-utilized, when adequately addressing prevention and recovery support across the life-span. In this session, you will receive an introduction to the Faith Partners ministry and what that looks like in the context of working with faith communities.

Video 1 “The Role of Faith” (5:07 minutes) Presenter: Drew Brooks

There is a positive correlation between spirituality and lower involvement with risky behaviors. How can we bridge faith and science to respond to substance use disorders and other addictions?

Video 2 “Clergy Perspective” (2:51 minutes) Presenter: Lisa Watson

Our beliefs influence how we react to people with addiction issues. What is the lens that you see through when responding to those still suffering?

Video 3 “The Continuum of Use” (13:28 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

The disease of addiction is ripe with stigma and shame. How you approach this team ministry can either reduce stigma or add barriers to seeking help. How open are you to the many ministry points along the continuum?

In this session, we will discuss what the Faith Partners “team approach” looks like. Our trainers equip lay people with the tools and training needed, so they can provide their faith community with addiction awareness, education, and recovery support resources. Together, we will explore the vision for this ministry and the many different paths you can take when beginning your journey. 

Video 4 “Scope of the Ministry” (7:28 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

There are many possible ministry points or destinations along the continuum to serve your congregation. How might this ministry change the culture of a congregation?

Video 5 “The Roadmap and Team Approach” (4:24 mins.) Presenter: Jan Tipton

The congregation can inform the team in many ways, such as their needs and receptiveness throughout the process. What role does the congregation’s missional focus play in setting the direction of the ministry? 

Video 6 “Sample Activities” (13:15 mins.) Presenter(s): Lisa Watson, Jan Tipton, Drew Brooks, Dr. Margaret White, Dr. Pat Meyer

Each congregation has its own personality, culture, values, traditions; which inform what type of activities the congregational membership will respond to best in moving forward. What activities best fit your congregation?

In this session, we discuss what congregational readiness looks like. Building congregational support involves evaluating how prepared your members are to start a new program or ministry, their current level of commitment, and the resources needed to implement an effective effort. You will be provided with tools and strategies to build up support in your congregation and get everyone ready for this new ministry.

Video 7 “Defining Readiness” (5:16 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White

When planning a trip, we need to know where we are going; but equally important is where we are starting. There are key readiness measures to help congregations assess their launching point for this journey. Where do you see your congregation’s starting point for this ministry?

Video 8 “Readiness Tools & Strategies” (8:06 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Pat Meyer

Every congregation starts at a different point in developing readiness. Here are four tools and strategies that will meet people where they are in their experience and understanding and move them toward action. What is needed for your congregation to initiate this ministry?

Video 9: “Building Congregational Support” (6:57 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

A key tool in building congregational support and assessing the needs of the congregation is a congregational survey. Faith Partners provides an in-person as well as an on-line version of the survey. How do you see the survey helping your congregation?

Video 10: “National Study” (7:24 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Pat Meyer

Studies show religious involvement has a positive correlation with lower risk for addiction, but there is little research that indicates the factors helpful to creating an effective congregational response to addiction. Faith Partners continues to investigate and identify helpful ways congregations can address stigma and addiction. What factor do you see as being the most significant for your congregation?

Now that you have evaluated the current “readiness” state of your congregation and some of the things needed to implement this new ministry, together we will explore how to continue to build congregational support, equip the leadership in your faith community, and develop your new ministry team.

An informed clergy, supported by committed and trained congregational members, has a tremendous opportunity to serve their congregational community. They can offer help to those who suffer by addressing individuals and families through recovery support activities and assistance to those who want to prevent problems through awareness, education and early intervention strategies. A ministry of prevention and recovery support offers real HOPE, HELP, and HEALING. 

Video 11 “Team Member Capacity” (9:48 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

Part of developing team member capacity is helping them find their own voice in advocating for an important person or issue in their life. We describe the different levels of advocacy that team members can choose. Where would you like to start?

Video 12: “Developing a Relational Ministry” (7:34 mins.) Presenter: Jan Tipton

The first step is to understand the difference between an established program versus an evolving ministry. The next step is moving this ministry towards an agreed upon vision and mission. This process balances the importance of team relations and the development of an action plan. Are you ready to get on-board with the team’s vision?

Video 13: “Personality Styles & Team Roles” (6:11 mins.) Presenter: Jan Tipton

We all bring different personalities to this ministry. There are also strengths and challenges that every personality brings to the team that if ignored may derail the train. Our personalities often inform the different roles we play on these teams. How can I honor my own and other team member’s personalities?

Video 14: “Team Developmental Stages” (6:11 mins.) Presenter: Jan Tipton

Team dynamics can either enhance or distract from the team’s mission and ministry. Understanding the predictable stages of team development can help members positively influence and navigate the life of this team ministry.  How can you help the team stay on track?

There is a direct relationship between team unity and effective ministry. Ideas held in common are ideas everyone will fight for and work toward. Finding clear consensus and committing these ideas to a written plan assures team investment and achievement. A three-step planning process of members reaching agreement about why the team exists, what they hope to accomplish, and how they will proceed moves the team from the general to the specific. 

Video 15: “Team Education” (3:53 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Pat Meyer

There are core education topics that team members need to have a basic understanding to feel confident in effectively responding to other congregational members, especially family members of those afflicted by addiction. Many teams will plan to include the rest of the congregation in this educational process. Where does the educational process need to start for your congregational ministry?

Video 16: “Team Planning” (6:51 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White

The planning process like a journey starts at a certain point and answers the question of where will this ministry journey take us. We also know the saying: “We plan and God laughs!” This doesn’t mean we don’t plan, but we need to invite the Holy Spirit into this process. Where do you see the Spirit leading this ministry?

Video 17: Mission Statement” (5:16 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White

Developing a mission statement is all about defining your purpose so you can easily communicate that to those interested in the ministry. The next step is building a framework around this identified purpose. How do you see communicating your mission?

A ministry of prevention can support people, young and old, in finding direction for their lives, in gaining the strength of identity as well as the information and skills they need to make wise choices. The congregation becomes a safe place to bring troubles and find the support to face them. Prevention includes efforts that

  • Delay the onset of first and experimental use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs;
  • Support abstinence as a healthy and positive decision; 
  • Support moderate, appropriate and legal use of alcohol; 
  • Support the appropriate and legal use of prescribed and over-the-counter medications; and
  • Eliminate the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Video 18: “Prevention Overview” (7:52 mins.) Presenter: Jan Tipton

There are probably as many definitions of prevention as there are people. We share a construct that can help put prevention in perspective. Often, the best time to do prevention is during times of transitions to provide education, skills, and support. What role can you play in prevention across the lifespan?

Video 19: “Risk & Protective Factors” (9:16 mins.) Presenter: Lisa Watson

There are a number of resiliency models that provide people of all ages the ability to bounce back from adversity. These models identify risk and protective factors that influence our decision-making and health risks. What are some ways that my faith community provides protective factors to its members?

The biggest influence a clergy can make to successfully launch these teams is by “casting the vision” for the ministry. For example, recognize that the lives of many people within their community are negatively affected by unhealthy dependencies. And to understand the team’s calling to carry the message of God’s love and healing power to the congregational community by equipping youth and adults with information and skills to make healthy decisions; reduce stigma and shame so the congregation becomes more caring and hospitable; so that, persons served by this congregation with addiction problems will have access to the full continuum of care and services both in the congregation and in the community.

Video 20: “Evaluation Overview” (6:40 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White

The first step is deciding what you want this congregational ministry to accomplish. The process of evaluation with its various tools and strategies helps us know if we are doing it effectively and is it making an impact. What does “success” mean to you?

A Gallup survey found that 94 percent of Americans feel it is their responsibility to speak to a friend who has problems with alcohol or other drugs. But only 38 percent said they felt “…very confident or comfortable in speaking up to a friend about it.” 


A simple straightforward approach to letting someone know you are concerned is not always comfortable. Not everyone will be thankful that you care enough to share your concern. Working within a team, however, strengthens the ability to use proven tools to bring help to troubled people. Seeing the miracle of healing occur is a powerful and frequent reward for team members who learn these skills and apply them in love and service.

Video 21: “Stages of Change” (8:35 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

Making behavioral changes has predictable stages. Understanding these stages can help us meet people where they are in their experience, perspective, and receptiveness to change. How can this knowledge help you with responding to others?

Video 22: “Behaviors of Concern” (4:51 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

We are all children of God – but sometimes it is hard to separate the sin from the sinner or the behavior from the person. When this separation is not made moral judgments start to inch their way into the conversation. The more specific we can be about behavior the less defensive a person tends to be in receiving the information. How can you share the observations you’re concerned about? 

Video 23: “Sharing Concern” (5:53 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Pat Meyer

The focus in sharing concern with others is not about diagnosing the problem, but about inviting change. You are responsible for the process of communicating this concern, not the outcome of the interaction. Who in your congregation could benefit from this skill?

As the team grows as a spiritual community, it is essential to identify and link with community resources. These include mental health professionals, recovery groups, nonprofit organizations, city/county/state agencies and school districts, to name a few. Information on community resources may require detective work. Begin with available resource directories. While investigating for contact information, teams can also find out about community-wide prevention efforts or activities. 

Video 24: “Making the Helpful Handoff” (5:18 mins.) Presenter(s): Jan Tipton & Lisa Watson

Referral assistance is all about matching the need with the best service available. Team members need to have an internal plan to direct those in need to the appropriate community or congregational resource. How is your congregation currently dealing with those with addiction and related mental health issues?

Congregations are often home to alcoholics, addicts and family members already working toward recovery, but fearful of the judgment that occurs when they reveal their experience with addiction and recovery. Stigma and shame are two factors that influence are abilities to be honest with ourselves and to ask for help. Faith Partners’ underlying goals are to create a safe place, initiate the conversation, and meet people where they are in their experience and understanding. Team ministries can offer opportunities for those who still suffer as well as the larger body to understand addiction and how to begin their path to healing. 

Video 25: “Recovery Support Principles” (7:26 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

There are many roles the faith community can play in the recovery process. Understanding the principles of recovery support can open doors for faith communities to enter into collaborative relationships with other community efforts and become part of the solution. What role do you see your congregation playing in the healing of those affected and afflicted by addiction?

Video 26: Recovery Support Models” (11:26 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

There are many approaches or models to do recovery support in congregations. The most important feature of each is the creation of a recovery-friendly congregation where those affected by addiction are welcomed and valued. How are people suffering with addiction perceived in your congregation?

Video 27: “Recovery Worship Service” (part one) (6:16 mins.) Presenter(s): Lisa Watson & Jan Tipton

When we decide to outreach to those suffering from addiction – it is important that we have prepared our own congregation to be a safe place to worship and belong. One strategy is learning important aspects of a recovery worship service that is held at least once a year. What opportunities has your congregation used to talk about addiction and related mental health issues?

Video 28: “Recovery Support Activities” (part two) (11:22 mins.) Presenter(s): Drew Brooks & Dr. Margaret White & Dr. Pat Meyer

There are a number of recovery support activities – your only limitation is your own imagination. Remember these activities are to support the three underlying goals of this ministry: to develop a safe place, initiate the conversation, and meet people where they are in their experience and understanding. 

New teams need on-going opportunities to learn skills in the five ministry areas. To reinforce these responses, connect to community resources, and to equip team members to function more effectively, additional training needs to be conducted. It is important to develop a plan to continue the educational process by connecting with area community resources to help teams with additional knowledge and skills. These continuing education opportunities can build capacity areas where congregations need skills, enable collaboration with other community resources, and assure the possibility of an effective, sustainable congregational team ministry.

This comprehensive, unique approach led by and advocated for by people in the pews is an innovative way to create a caring, nonjudgmental, safe place to which affected and affiliated individuals and families can turn for education and assistance. In our evaluation, the unit of analysis is on a congregational level. This is appropriate because the approach focuses on environmental change and impact within each participating congregation. A sustained effort will reveal changes in attitudes and behaviors. Over time due to this intervention the assertion is one will see on a post-test survey an increase in participation in and readiness to provide prevention, education, and recovery support activities. 

Video 29: “Planning Your Steps” (6:11 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White 

It is important to continue to ask ourselves: Are we making progress towards our desired goals or destinations in this journey? Celebrating God’s triumphs along the way is an essential part of the process. Does the team take time to evaluate their progress and celebrate the victories big and small?  

Beginning another cycle of team education, planning, and implementation is a natural outcome of the evaluation process because discussion generates new ideas and feedback suggests different approaches. After the first year, which demands a great deal of time devoted to start-up activities, most teams settle into an annual rhythm such as doing continuing education and planning in the fall, conducting programs and offering activities over the winter and spring, evaluating in the early summer, and resting/renewing for the rest of the summer. Many teams also recruit in the spring, while they’re active, and use the downtime of summer to orient new members. 

Keeping the team healthy and vigorous requires regular prospecting and recruiting of team members. Always orientate new members by: 

  • Making them welcome in ways large and small – phone calls from long-term members, a note from the clergy, an invitation to lunch with the team; 
  • Letting them know how the team works and filling them in on its history; 
  • Assessing their understanding of the six broad topics the team covered in the education programs and helping them fill the gaps in their knowledge by steering them to the books and tapes members found most helpful; and
  • Suggesting they begin reading a daily devotional and attending Twelve Step meetings. 

Nor is the orientation process complete without bringing new members into the spiritual community of the team. Retreats work well for this and fulfill another function as well, re-energizing long-term team members. We recommend taking one or two days in the early fall, before you begin your planning cycle, to bring the entire team together for community building, spiritual growth, and renewal.

Video 30: “Ministry Development & Promotion” (8:35 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

Once established your team ministry needs to shine a light on your activities. Outreach is vital to the sustainability of this ministry. There are multiple strategies to make that happen. How do you balance a confidential ministry with sharing its existence?

Video 31: “Team Development & Renewal” (9:11 mins.) Presenter: Dr. Margaret White & Dr. Pat Meyer

Team development starts with a regularly scheduled team meeting and honoring the different personalities with different aspects of the meeting. Remember this is an evolving ministry with changing congregational needs and different receptivity to the various issues being addressed. As the congregation changes so must the capacity and make-up of the team need to change. What special gifts and talents do you bring to the team? 

Video 32: “Resource Development” (5:28 mins.) Presenter: Drew Brooks

Continuing the conversation with changing community resources, developing relationships with community coalition efforts, and established ministries mentoring other congregations are the lifeblood of sustaining these efforts over time. How does your congregation currently collaborate with other community efforts? 

Introduction to the Series

Meet our Trainers

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