Core Competencies for Clergy and Teams


Ministry teams and clergy often ask what guidelines there might be to assist in developing effective Faith Partners groups.

The following is excerpted from Healing Places: How Faith Institutions Can Effectively Address Chemical Dependency  by Johnny Allem and Trish Merrill (The Johnson Institute, 2004), pp. 139-140. Used with permission.

These competencies are presented as a specific guide to the core knowledge, attitudes, and skills essential  to the ability of clergy and pastoral ministers to meet the needs of persons with alcohol or drug  dependence and their family members.

  1. Be aware of the:
    Generally accepted definition of alcohol and drug dependence
    Societal stigma attached to alcohol and drug dependence
  2. Be knowledgeable about the:
    Signs of alcohol and drug dependence
    Characteristics of withdrawal
    Effects on the individual and the family
    Characteristics of the stages of recovery
  3. Be aware that possible indicators of the disease may include, among others: marital conflict, family violence (physical, emotional, and verbal), suicide, hospitalization, or encounters with the criminal justice system.
  4. Understand that addiction erodes and blocks religious and spiritual development; and be able to effectively communicate the importance of spirituality and the practice of religion in recovery, using the scripture, traditions, and rituals of the faith community.
  5. Be aware of the potential benefits of early intervention to the:
    Addicted person
    Family system
    Affected children
  6. Be aware of appropriate pastoral interactions with the:
    Addicted person
    Family system
    Affected children
  7. Be able to communicate and sustain:
    An appropriate level of concern
    Messages of hope and caring
  8. Be familiar with and utilize available community resources to ensure a continuum of care for the:
    Addicted person
    Family system
    Affected children
  9. Have a general knowledge of and, where possible, exposure to:
    The Twelve-Step programs: AA, NA, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Alateen, A.C.O.A., etc.
    Other groups
  10. Be able to acknowledge and address values, issues, and attitudes regarding alcohol and drug use and dependence in:
    Oneself
    One’s own family
  11. Be able to shape, form, and educate a caring congregation that welcomes and supports persons and families affected by alcohol and drug dependence.
  12. Be aware of how prevention strategies can benefit the larger community.
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