Our History


Advancing Help and Hope: A long tradition

Faith Partners, Inc. was founded in 1995 in Austin TX by religious leaders seeking ways to mobilize the resources of the faith community to address alcohol and drug issues. The approach Faith Partners Inc took, the team ministry concept, had been in development over several years. A step by step manual, Building a Team Ministry, was developed based on this statewide project and the work was recognized by the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) in 1994.

During the 1980’s, the Parkside Treatment Center advanced the idea of parish teams to educate Austin TX congregations about alcohol and drug addiction and recovery. In 1990, with a grant from the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drugs, Trish Merrill replicated this model under the auspices of the Texas Conference of Churches. The five-year experimental program, Project ADEPT (Alcohol and Drug Education in the Parishes of Texas), laid much of the groundwork for what would emerge as the Faith Partners model.

After incorporation Faith Partners Inc began a demonstration project with multiple congregations in Texas and Minnesota.This led to further development and refinement of the congregational team approach as Faith Partners collaborated with the Johnson Institute and the Minnesota Institute of Public Health. The video, People of Faith, Partners in Prevention, was developed during this time.

In 2004 Faith Partners Inc began a five-year working agreement with Johnson Institute under the name – the Rush Center of Johnson Institute. A national religious leaders summit was held in 2005 and other major outreach efforts marked this time together. Both the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA endorsed this approach and over the five years Faith Partners teams expanded from 100 teams to 350 teams, from teams in four states to 21 states, and from a few denominations to 19 different faith traditions.

In 2009 Faith Partners Inc ended the collaboration with Johnson Institute. With more than fifteen years in development, the Faith Partners congregational team ministry is active and thriving, serving in a growing number of faith traditions. A parachurch organization, operating outside established religious boundaries, Faith Partners Inc is able to engage congregations regardless of their specific beliefs and doctrines.

With denominational, coalition and state and federal partnerships Faith Partners continues to mobilize the faith community to become effective in the prevention of alcohol and drug problems and to provide addiction recovery support.

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