By Carl Stagner
“If it weren’t for this ministry, that needle would be back in my arms.” The sentiment of the women of Solid Rock Ministries in The Dalles, Oregon, echoes often in the mind of Pastor Ken Post. He says there’s nothing like watching these ladies become so addicted to Jesus Christ that drugs simply lose their former appeal. Following a brief “retirement” from the pastorate, Ken returned to the church he’d once pastored, which now was hurling toward the end of its life cycle. Though Ken was advised to shut the church down, he felt the Spirit tugging him to reorganize the operation into a refuge for women recovering from addiction. Solid Rock would still be a church, but no longer just another church in a community already saturated with churches. Its chief purpose would be to rescue and restore women in desperate need of a U-turn.
Ken Post will be seventy-two years old at the end of February. Though he had retired from vocational ministry a few years ago, he never actually retired from ministry, which he sees as a lifelong calling. But after his former church’s future started looking iffy, and had no pastor to lead, Ken Post came back to the church. Though others thought it was time to shut the doors, Ken remembered the addiction recovery ministry that he had helped start at the church years ago. For eight years, Freedom House of Solid Rock Church of God had ministered to the addicted, investing into the lives of about fifty women in need. Closing the church’s doors would have sealed the end of this vital outreach. Ken Post couldn’t let that happen.
“So I had an empty church, but I put the word out there that I wanted to start up the addiction recovery ministry again,” Ken recalls. “We had forty people in the community respond with excitement about getting troubled people off the street, providing them with the help they need.”
Renamed Solid Rock Ministries, the church now welcomes women who have recently been in jail or are living on the street because of their drug addiction. Today there are eight women and six children living at the church and in a nearby home the church has rented for this purpose. “We pick up the ladies some might consider throwaway people,” Ken reflects. “They may have been abused. They have their own survival system and they don’t know any other.”
Ken has brought in three female leaders to help manage the ministry and work directly with the ladies. Upon application to enter the program, these leaders assure the applicants that they don’t have to profess a relationship with Christ, but they do have to express an openness to God. “We try to treat everybody like an adult,” Ken explains. “We know they’ve made a lot of bad decisions, but they have to know it’s really up to them to let God change them.” Part of such change also comes when they learn job skills and find employment. Solid Rock Ministries helps these women do just that.
Solid Rock Ministries does have a church building, but their operation doesn’t look like a typical church. Instead of a traditional Sunday morning gathering, Ken only hosts a Sunday evening worship service. On Sunday morning, the women are actually encouraged to worship at other churches! Ken didn’t want to be in competition with other churches any longer. He wanted instead to partner with them. “By not having a Sunday morning service,” Ken reflects, “I have developed non-threatening relationships with the other pastors. They know I’m not in competition, and we’re in this together.”
Pastor Ken chose not to take the easy way out. Leaving the comfort of the Sunday morning pulpit routine, Ken decided to dedicate himself to the down-and-out, to the forgotten and the oppressed. He believes what he is doing is “snatching people from the very gates of hell.” And he believes other churches can do the same, especially those who perhaps aren’t seeing the numbers they once did. “Our buildings are tools we must steward. They are not these sacred buildings that you can’t touch. I think of this as a template for a lot of little churches that don’t know what to do next. I would say, hey, find out someone who’s really willing to minister, and stick people in your unused Sunday school classrooms!”
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