ABOUT US

our history

Celebrate Recovery was founded in 1991 as a ministry of Saddleback Church by Pastor John and Cheryl Baker. John shared with Senior Pastor Rick Warren a vision God had given him for a new Christ-centered ministry where people could find freedom from their hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

The first night 43 people attended, and Celebrate Recovery was born with only four Open Share Groups — Men’s and Women’s Chemical Dependency, and Men’s and Women’s Co-Dependency. Over the years, thousands of people have gone through the program at Saddleback Church. Many of them have gone on to serve in Celebrate Recovery and other areas of the church. 

Thousands of churches have started a Celebrate Recovery ministry around the world, and that number continues to grow. Celebrate Recovery is not just growing in churches, but in recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and prisons around the world. It continues to be a growing global movement. 

The need for Celebrate Recovery is unmistakable, being a safe place for people to find freedom from the issues controlling their lives.

our
founders

Pastor John and Cheryl Baker

John and Cheryl Baker are the founders of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry born out of their personal experience and calling at Saddleback Church in 1991. Together, they created a program that has helped countless individuals and families find healing in their lives through Jesus Christ. Side by side, they led CR for 30 years.

In February 2021, John went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Celebrate Recovery continues to carry on through their son and daughter in law, Johnny and Jeni.

global
directors

PASTOR JOHNNY BAKER: PASTOR AND GLOBAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Pastor Johnny, a nationally recognized speaker and author, has been a part of Celebrate Recovery since the beginning of the program. Serving alongside his parents, the founders of Celebrate Recovery, his life was among the first lives changed by the program. Johnny has served on CR staff since 2004, became the pastor of Celebrate Recovery in 2012, and is now succeeding his father, Pastor John Baker, as the leader of the worldwide movement. As an adult child of an alcoholic who became an alcoholic himself, Johnny is passionate about breaking the cycle of dysfunction in his family and helping other families find the tools that will lead to healing and openness.

JENI BAKER: CO-GLOBAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jeni is a nationally recognized speaker and a dedicated leader in the worldwide Celebrate Recovery movement. Her journey in recovery began in 2014 within CR, and since 2015, she has been actively involved in leadership. Joining the staff at Saddleback Church in 2022, Jeni is committed to sharing her inspiring story of triumph over codependency and childhood dysfunction, highlighting the hope and healing she has discovered through recovery.  With over 22 years of ministry experience alongside her spouse, whom she has been married to since 2000, Jeni brings a compassionate heart to support pastors’ wives on their own paths to healing and growth from their past hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

CR Ministries

MENTAL HEALTH CHAMPIONS

The Mental Health Team’s mission is to equip local Celebrate Recovery ministries to empower individuals to achieve serenity with their mental health. We also aim to raise awareness of mental health, create a safe place to continue conversations and implement Mental Health Ambassadors at each CR location. We encourage Christ-centered sponsorship, provide tools such as the Mental Health Agreement form, Colors of our Mental Health cards, the CR Suicide Protocol along with mental health forums. While Celebrate Recovery may not eliminate Mental Health struggles, these tools are aimed at helping equip leaders and sponsors to walk alongside participants as they learn to struggle well.  Celebrate Recovery is not a replacement for professional counseling, therapy, and/or medical treatment.  We provide encouragement and support to supplement those efforts.

CULTURAL COMMUNITIES

The Cultural Communities Team’s mission is to cultivate a space where all people experience recovery and reconciliation regardless of ethnicity or race. We facilitate Celebrate Recovery step studies for people of color led by people of color. [Black, Latino, Indigenous, AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) communities] Our goal is to one day eliminate the need for Cultural Communities inside of Celebrate Recovery by bringing everyone along into maturity and unity in our faith.

We know that in every community, families wear badges of honor and pride because of their deep heritage. Unfortunately, there are those in these same families who also wear bandages to cover a multitude of hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Pain, addiction, disappointment, and hopelessness do not discriminate. Neither does the journey that leads toward Christ’s healing power. Life change, fresh vision, renewed strength, restored hope, and relationships are experienced as individuals take intentional steps toward accepting God’s grace and forgiveness.

CELEBRATION PLACE

The mission of Celebration Place is to help children experience the love of Jesus as they learn how to love themselves and others while they grow in their relationship with God. We strive to partner with parents to help break the cycle of dysfunction destroying so many of our families. Children also learn healthy coping skills for life’s tough issues.

Celebration Place is the approved children’s curriculum for Celebrate Recovery ministries for children ages 5-13 years of age. This Christ-centered curriculum mirrors the lessons taught in Large Groups for adults. 

THE LANDING Ministry

The mission of The Landing is to provide a safe place for our junior and senior high school students to process life and the struggles that accompany it, provide tools to help them live emotionally and spiritually healthy lives, and point them toward the freedom found in Jesus Christ.

This curriculum is designed to mirror the same material as the adult Celebrate Recovery curriculum, only packaged for students. A typical night in the Landing will consist of Connect Time, Worship, Teaching Time, Small Group, and Fellowship Time.

Through the Landing, our students can find a safe place to find help, hope, and healing through engaging the recovery principles and growing in relationship with Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this ministry can help students learn how to break cycles of dysfunction and provide tools for them to live free and healthy lives.

CR INSIDE

The mission of the Celebrate Recovery Inside Team is to bring Celebrate Recovery into jails and prisons. CRI encourages those who are incarcerated to find healing from their hurts, hang-ups and habits while they’re inside. Lives are changed as experiences, strengths, and hopes are shared with one another. In addition, individuals become willing to accept God’s grace and forgiveness in solving life’s problems.

 

CELEBRATING PASTOR’S RECOVERY (CPR) TEAM

CPR’s mission is to help pastors and their spouses find a safe haven for experiencing the healing power of Jesus Christ for the hurts, hang-ups, and habits of the past, present, and future.

Native Nations

Native Nations is the initiative of Celebrate Recovery to the Native American Nations.

The mission of CR Native Nations is to bring the gospel to the over 500 sovereign peoples within the borders of the United States, who are faced with staggering rates of alcoholism, abuse, poverty, and suicide. In that darkness, we see a profound opportunity to walk as the light of the world share the gospel of Jesus through the gift of recovery, and see a generation transformed.

Celebrate Recovery Native Nations is a missional community-based ministry. Our hope and intent is to foster the development of Celebrate Recovery ministries within the Native Nations led by Native Americans.

Welcome Home

Life after the Military does not always make sense. The loss of a sense of brotherhood and the loss of being part of something important and bigger than myself can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, emptiness, boredom, anger, or loneliness. In an attempt to cope with the pain of these overwhelming emotions, sometimes veterans turn to unhealthy relationships, at-risk behaviors, or substance abuse.

Welcome Home is Celebrate Recovery’s tool to help veterans stuck in hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Welcome Home is an Open Share Group for veterans led by veterans. Participants can recapture some of that sense of brotherhood and sense of mission because every week they gather to discuss what is happening in their lives and to reach out to other veterans struggling with different hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

Whether you served during peacetime or war, if you experienced combat, or never heard a shot fired in anger, all veterans are welcome at Welcome Home!

CR International Team

Life after the Military does not always make sense. The loss of a sense of brotherhood and the loss of being part of something important and bigger than myself can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, emptiness, boredom, anger, or loneliness. In an attempt to cope with the pain of these overwhelming emotions, sometimes veterans turn to unhealthy relationships, at-risk behaviors, or substance abuse.

Welcome Home is Celebrate Recovery’s tool to help veterans stuck in hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Welcome Home is an Open Share Group for veterans led by veterans. Participants can recapture some of that sense of brotherhood and sense of mission because every week they gather to discuss what is happening in their lives and to reach out to other veterans struggling with different hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

Whether you served during peacetime or war, if you experienced combat, or never heard a shot fired in anger, all veterans are welcome at Welcome Home!