Ministries

How Celebrate Recovery Got Started

How Celebrate Recovery Started

Celebrate Recovery started 1991 at Saddleback Church. At that time the church was meeting at a high school gymnasium. After John Baker was unable to share openly about Jesus Christ in his secular recovery meetings and was uncomfortable sharing about his struggle with alcohol in his men’s Bible study, John wrote Pastor Rick the now famous concise 13-page single space letter outlining the vision God had given him for Celebrate Recovery. Pastor Rick said, “Great John, do it.”

The first night 45 people showed up and Celebrate Recovery was born. With only four groups, men’s and women’s chemical dependency and men’s and women’s codependency, the ministry has grown from those four groups to the twenty open share groups we have today. Thousands of people have gone through the workbooks and are now serving in CR and the church. Celebrate Recovery has become the number one outreach at Saddleback Church, with over 70% of its members come from outside the church.

The first ten years were the birth stage of Celebrate Recovery and now God is calling us to take it to the World. There are now thousands of groups around the world and growing. We are part of a movement that is bringing hurting and broken in the Church to the healing power of Jesus Christ.