Husband and wife minister to addicts

FOSTORIA – A Findlay man and his wife have started a church in Fostoria with a focus on helping people who suffer from addiction.

Pastor Tony Redick said he started his career in ministry at a church in Findlay from 1993-2005.

“I fell into alcoholism,” he said. “I stepped out of ministry and ended up in and out of the hospital. I never understood the addict before. For seven or eight years, I really struggled.”

Redick said he started to realize his life was a lot better with God.

He said in December 2013, he went to a faith-based rehabilitation center in Tucson, Arizona.

“For seven months I was there, and it definitely turned my life around,” Redick said.

Redick said he and his wife, Heather, prayed after his recovery and they decided to start their own church.

“We wanted it to be different,” he said. “We wanted it to be based on recovery.”

The non-denominational church located at 600 N. Union St. has been hosting Sunday services since May 15.

“We didn’t want to be hooked up to a specific church,” he said of the decision to be non-denominational.

Heather said 26-30 people have shown up to each service, on average.

She said her role is to fill in wherever it is needed.

“I support,” she said. “I work with the children’s ministry, with fellowship and keeping up with the paperwork.”

Tony said several people who attend the church are in different stages of recovery.

“We are definitely a church that wants to receive the misfits of society,” he said. “When Jesus fed the 5,000, he said to gather up the scraps and the leftovers. We are picking up the scraps. We have people who may not have been to church before; we want those people for our church.”

Tony, who works at a 12-bed recovery facility for Century Health, said he believes it is his mission to help those suffering from addiction.

“I used to think I could tell an addict to keep coming to church and keep praying,” he said. “But, it takes more than that. Maybe 10 addicts might come and maybe we’ll only help one or two, but that’s better than nothing.”

Tony said the name of the church, Love & Grace Church, symbolizes one of its core values.

“We want to give people love and show them the grace of God,” he said. “One motto we have is that we are the perfect church for those who aren’t.”

Tony said he tries to be transparent and honest about his past and he said his struggles have led him to be more understanding of the struggle of an addict.

“How can I help other people if I’m not being completely honest?” he asked. “I couldn’t understand the addict until I became one.”

Tony said he knows his church may never have 1,000 members, but he said he and his wife try to stress quality over quantity.

“The people we will reach, we want to do everything for them,” he said.

Tony said a long-term goal for the church is to develop a support group program for those struggling with addiction.

He said a man in his church has been up and down in his recovery.

“But, as long as we support him and act as his support system, he’s doing awesome,” Tony said. “He comes back every Sunday. We let him know that we’ll never give up on him and neither will Jesus, so don’t give up on yourself.”

Heather said building a relationship with church members is important.

“I want to disciple people,” Tony added. “So each one will reach one. I believe people are looking for a church like this. This vision God has given us has unfolded.”

Tony said an addict is like a person who is paralyzed after a car accident and they are stuck in the vehicle.

“They can talk to you, but they can’t get out of the car without the support of others,” he said. “Recovery is about getting back what was lost and we believe in that.”

Heather said some other churches have a fear of the unknown with addicts.

“They don’t know how to deal with them,” Tony said.

He said his church is open to anyone, but they want to focus on helping people through recovery.

“We’re just here to help people and we are here to be a recovery-minded church,” he said. “Come here and we will walk you through recovery as much as we can.”