Keith McDonald

Keith McDonald

For Keith McDonald, the start of the Macon County Anti-Drug Coalition is a lot of things.

It's a responsibility. It's a passion. It's a calling.

"It got handed into my lap," McDonald said. "This is who I am. It's my purpose in life. I've never had problems with drugs, but I've had family who has struggled with drugs.

"I've been close to it, but God has protected me from it. I preach against it. I preach warfare and deliverance."

Anti-drug coalitions work to reduce dependence on harmful and potentially lethal substances, such as prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The local organizations have been funded by the state of Tennessee since 2008, with a mission of getting the word out about the dangers and consequences of substance use.

"It's a state coalition, and each county has their own," McDonald said. "I happen to be in a deliverance ministry at New Vision (Church in Westmoreland). It has turned into a recovery ministry."

New Vision of Hope is a men's deliverance and recovery ministry.

The Macon County Anti-Drug Coalition will consist of a ministry for men and a ministry for women as well.

There are anti-drug coalitions in surrounding counties such as Clay, Smith and Sumner counties.

"A lady called me from Smith County," McDonald said. "My wife (Brenda McDonald) works with her.

"The Lord opened a door to bring recovery to Macon County. It's a platform for me to speak recovery and deliverance. It's who I am already."

The program - which needs 12 area organizations to be involved with it on a regular basis - will take a Christian-based approach.

"It's an opportunity to tear down denominational walls in Macon County," McDonald said. "It's not about a denomination. It's about helping these people in Macon County. It's an opportunity for revival in Macon County. I drive over the county, and I cry. There's no vision here. The Bible says that without a vision, people perish.

"Everyone speaks about the problem, but no one is speaking about an answer. I got to speak in front of the county commission about it on Monday night (Aug. 13). What an opportunity."

The Macon County Anti-Drug Coalition had its first meeting on Tuesday night at Lafayette's Calvary Baptist Church, with Barbara Kannapel with the Smith County Anti-Drug Coalition speaking. The group plans to have monthly meetings, but most of the organization's assistance will come through helping individuals on either a one-on-one or small-group basis.

"People that want to make a change come to you," McDonald said. "It's about building a relationship with them. You have to love people and have to be available to people. This is about discipleship."

McDonald expects to receive support from members of New Vision Church in getting the organization established.

"We want to see healing in families, healing across this county," McDonald - a Red Boiling Springs resident who has lived in Macon County since 1993 - said. "A lot of people have lost families due to drug-related situations. We want a healthy community. We want to learn how to love again.

"God has given me a passion for this. I'm 54 years old. I've had 54 years of preparing for this."

The program will offer more assistance than just in drug-related matters.

"Men are eaten up with pornography," McDonald said. "It goes from the jailhouse to the church house.

"You have hurt. You have unforgiveness. You have generational curses, and you want to break those chains. Ok, how do you do it? It's a relationship with Jesus Christ. Deliverance has a lot of heads, but the only way to kill a snake is to cut the head off of it."

McDonald's vision for the coalition is to provide help to people of all ages.

"It's about prevention and education for the younger generation, and it's about recovery for our generation," McDonald said. "Wounds are the things that take you to the drugs and alcohol. It's digging out the wound.

"I'm expecting revival to start out of this. We have to establish a vision for our county. It has to be a vision of healing. Everything we do now affects the generation coming up. This is our duty to try to turn this around. We have to give this next generation something to work with. We can bring recovery to those men and women our age. We can give freedom to the next generation, but if we don't stand up and fight, it's not going to happen."

For individuals who would like to become involved in the program, McDonald can be reached by calling 615-388-3161.