Training Facilitator Highlight – October 2017

Name: Matthew “Bryan” Sampson

Age: 35

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Teen Challenge Center: Orlando Men’s Center & Training Coordinator SE Region; Graduated September, 2014
Brief Testimony: After 18 years of addiction I finally lost everything and had reached a point of desperation. Going to Teen Challenge I had little hope, but God…God used Teen Challenge to build me up into the man of God I was always meant to be. I now work as the Training Coordinator for the SE Region and am working towards my second Master’s degree in Mental Health. My desire is to raise up leaders within the region to be healing agents and leaders of Christ.
What do you enjoy most about your role? – The most enjoyable aspect of my job is to see people encounter the love of Christ. Once I begin to see this change I love engaging, encouraging, and helping them grow and develop into their new identity and watch Christ manifest in their lives.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  – In order to make the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God, we must be investing in the next generation to lead people in the will of God. Leadership and training are essential in becoming more like Christ and walking out a life that glorifies Him.

Main Article – CARE

By: Dustin Nance

If you have read a leadership book in the last 20 years then you have read something about how you must care about those you lead for them to want to follow you. This is not a new concept. Brice Maddock says, “The only two things that matter when we stand before God is our relationship with Him and our relationships with others.” Basically, did we love God and love people enough to lead them to Him. Those are the two greatest commandments according to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40.

We know this! We know because most likely we have experienced both leaders that show they care and leaders that don’t. Why aren’t we better at this as leaders? I would argue that for some it’s a shift from the mindset of thinking about “what is best for me?” to “what is best for the team?” or “what is best for John Doe in this situation?”. However, I believe for most of us we just get too BUSY!!!! The truth is we let ourselves get so busy and stressed out with tasks, that we miss the most important opportunities to show those around us we care every day. In a world that is focused on “what is best for me?”, we as Christian leaders must put others before ourselves. We must show people that we care more about them than what they can do.

I think of my daughter Ellie; she is a tough girl. She has had to grow up around my son, Asher, but the other day they were dancing around the living room and Asher accidentally ran her over. She jumped up, ran into my arms and started crying. I know she’s not dying, her arms are not broken and really she’s not physically hurting that much at all. She just wants to know that Daddy cares that she got ran over. I found myself with a choice to make, tell her she’s fine and send her on her way, or wrap my arms around her, tell her I’m sorry she got hurt and that I love her. I chose to take the time and show her I care.

Unfortunately, I don’t always make the right choice in this situation. When staff comes to me saying a situation is hard, I feel a responsibility to tell them to grow up and get it done, change the situation or make it easier for them. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes all I need to do is acknowledge that it is hard, let them know I think they can do it and encourage them to keep pushing. Basically, I need to show them I care about them, not just that they get the task done.

Don’t get me wrong; I stand with Jon Gordon on this, “I believe in tough love, but love must come first. If your team knows that you care about them, they will allow you to push and challenge them to be their best.” You may have the authority to give tough love, but if you haven’t spent the time showing someone you care, they will not see it as love at all.

This is an important point for us to understand as leaders! It’s always a faster turnaround time with my daughter Ellie when I show her I care. Usually, she jumps right back up and goes at it again, but If I don’t, she walks around crying looking for someone else to show her they care. Not only does it take longer, but she will stop coming to me if I do that too many times. I want Ellie to come to me for the rest of her life, just as I want my staff too. It’s not coddling them to encourage someone and acknowledge a situation is hard and that you’re behind them and believe they can do it.

Take the time today to show your team you care!

 

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

Participant Highlight – October 2017

Name:  Tyler Graeff

Age: 26

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Teen Challenge Center: Orlando Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: When I was living in the world I was consumed with a lifestyle of sin. I was lost and broken and a door opened for me to come to Teen Challenge. While enrolled in TC, I rededicated my life to Christ. God began speaking to me, as He broke off the chains of depression and heroin addiction. I now live a life with more freedom, peace, and joy than I could ever have imagined.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – God has called me specifically to Teen Challenge to serve Him in full-time ministry. My vision is to serve in this ministry and help broken men overcome their addictions and pain through the power of Christ in me.

 How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP is giving me the leadership skills that I need to help me become the leader God has called me to be. I’ve also grown spiritually, as I am learning more and more about God’s perspective on leadership. ELP is helping me answer the call that God has placed on my life.

Training Facilitator Highlight – September 2017

Name:  Trista Kincaid

Age: 42

Hometown: Dublin, GA

Teen Challenge Center: Dublin Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: I was saved at a young age and was fortunate to grow up in a (not perfect, but) Christian home. After college and working for many years in children’s ministry, I was honored to serve as a Missionary in Brussels, Belgium. Upon returning to the USA I met my husband, David Kincaid, who was serving at Teen Challenge in Fort Myers, FL.  I say that I “married into the ministry of Teen Challenge”. We are now blessed to serve as the directors at the Dublin GA Men’s Center.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I serve in several capacities at our men’s center (finance, events & ELP training facilitator). I love getting to work with our Emerging Leaders because this group represents the future of our ministry. There is an energy and excitement amongst these new leaders which makes me want to be a better leader!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? Years ago, while working in Illinois, I had a pastor and his wife invest in my life a great deal. I know the influence they had in my life that shaped me into who I am today. I want to be that for others!

ELP Participant Highlight – September 2017

Name: Thomas Burton

Age: 40

Hometown: Lincolnton, Georgia

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Dublin Men’s Center, April 2017

Brief Testimony: 18 years of drug abuse & pornography.  As a result, my marriage was destroyed.  God has now restored my marriage and my life.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? God has given me a vision and calling for evangelism and executive leadership in Teen Challenge.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has provided instructions and study material to help me to learn about God’s calling on my life.

______________________________________________________________________

Name: Erin Burton

Age: 38

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Columbus Women’s Center, March 2017. Now serving at Dublin Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: I fell in love with Jesus at 8 years old, but was instantly consumed by death gripping fear due to hurt, abandonment, and loss. This lead to my first drug overdose at 15 years old. I was consumed by greed, control and lust. I walked out of God’s will and adventured right into the hands of the enemy…only to find Jesus Christ right in the middle of my despair and destruction. He faithfully pulled me out of a deep, extremely dark pit of depression, and placed me at Teen Challenge in Columbus, GA., While at Teen Challenge I received the true revelation of salvation. God’s grace changed everything. My body was healed, my heart was not afraid to love or be loved, my mind was completely renewed, damaged relationships were restored and I was made Kingdom bound. I’m now serving, wholeheartedly, with my husband as an Emerging Leader at Dublin Men’s Center in Dublin, Georgia.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – My husband and I answered God’s call while we were both in the program at Teen Challenge. After being made whole in Christ, the vision of leading multitudes to Christ is now being breathed into existence.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – The Emerging Leaders Program continuously improves and enhances my intimate relationship with the Lord. Through the Lord’s strength, He is molding, forming, and shaping me. The Lord is helping me to be a walking, breathing display of Christ.

Thomas and his wife Erin, now serve together as Emerging Leaders at the Dublin Men’s Center. They have also been reunited with their beautiful 3 year old daughter, Carly.

COMMITMENT

Recently, I was at a middle school seminar, where a motivational speaker was challenging students to become engaged in a small group initiative. He gave an illustration of a married couple who were relaxing poolside. It was a hot day and they were needing some relief from the sun. Naturally, they both decided to go for a swim. The husband, stood up and without hesitation cannon-balled right into the deep end. The wife, on the other hand, walked over to the shallow end of the pool, used the handrail and slowly walked her way into the pool using each step. After several minutes of contemplating and with about half of her body emerged in water, she turned around walked out of the pool and told her husband the water was too cold. This story seems like an average event, but it was used to show the dynamics of commitment. The husband’s reaction was one of being enthusiastically all in. The wife was hesitant and wanted to tip-toe into the situation, while over analyzing every step.

This scenario can be so common in our own lives. We see an opportunity or a challenge in front of us and we can make the choice. We can either dive into the deep end without doubt, insecurities and fear, or we can tip-toe our way around opportunity. One requires faith and the other relies on self.

In this context, we could highlight two kinds of commitment – personal commitment and commitment as a leader. Personally, this begins with your relationship to the Lord and the confidence of knowing what He has called you to. When these two things are solidified in your life, you are able to draw strength, especially when stepping into the unknown. This strength then has the ability to overflow and influence those you are leading. Leaders who make a choice to dive into their relationship with the Lord are able to lead others out of a strong sense of commitment. We live in a world where so many people make decisions based on their own interests. In doing so, we fail to realize the greater impact that our own “yes”, may have on others, not to mention the eternal impact! Your commitment hinges on souls.

In closing, let me leave you with this quote, “In order to ‘hold fast’ to something, one must allow oneself to be held to something. That commitment may be one of the hardest things to practice in a world of so much choice.” Today we have a choice. Will you choose to cannonball or tip-toe?
Article written by: Holly Williams

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

ELP Highlight – August 2017

Name: Katherine Kirkland

Age:31

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Teen Challenge Center: Southwest Florida Women’s Home; Fort Myers, Florida

Testimony: Before coming to Teen Challenge I was lost, confused and hopeless. I was overwhelmed with the world and things that had haunted me from my past. I was stuck in addiction with drugs and alcohol. I tried inpatient and outpatient facilities, but nothing seemed to work. I finally made the decision to come into Teen Challenge where I was introduced to Christ. I discovered a new identity and was able to surrender everything to Him. The Lord opened my eyes and softened heart and through Him I was given a completely new life.

What is the vision and calling God has given you? –  I believe the Lord is wanting me to help women that have gone through abuse and addiction. I want to help them out of the entanglement of death and help introduce them to Christ and proclaim His truth.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has taught me a lot! The curriculum has given me insight for my future, by teaching me how to be an armor bearer to my leaders. It has also shown me how to support the Teen Challenge ministry, by always being available to the Holy Spirit. ELP also allows me to continue my education.

Training Facilitator Highlight – August 2017

Name: Rachel Massieu

Age: 21

Hometown: Dothan, AL

Teen Challenge Center: Fort Myers Women’s Center; Graduate of Columbus Girls Home, 2012

Brief Testimony: When I first came to Teen Challenge I was bound to my eating disorder and insecurities. During my time in Teen Challenge I radically fell in love with Jesus, who picked me up from the muck and mire and gave me the beautiful life that I live today.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love being able to see men and women come to the knowledge of their gifts, callings and passions through ELP and learn how to apply them to their lives.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? The leadership training that Teen Challenge men and women receive in ELP, empowers them to walk in their gifts. They are then able to be the vessels that God has ordained them to be.

CONNECTION

Connecting with others has always been difficult for me. Even as a kid, I only had a handful of close friends. I have never been someone that had to have tons of people around me to call friends. I loved people and wanted to be in relationship with them, but I just didn’t “need” very many deep connections. Even in College I was content with my 5 or 6 close friends and made no effort with anyone passed that.

I remember so clearly a defining moment in my life when God taught me the importance of connecting with others. It was in the summer of 2007, my wife and I had just stepped into full time ministry with Teen Challenge. We had just moved, started going to a new church and joined a cell group with 3 other couples. The guys were all out going and ready to be vulnerable, I was resistant at first but soon they drew me out of my shell.

Now to the defining moment…

Janel and I were going through some difficult circumstances and I had become very angry with God, our situation, and began to get bitter at life in general. I went to that cell group reluctantly one evening not wanting to open up or be vulnerable, I was fine…just fine. The guys saw through that front and pushed me to open up. It ended with them pushing Janel out of the way to surround me while I ugly cried…tears, snot and all. They hugged me, cried with me, prayed for me and encouraged me. God broke through some walls in my life that had been there for as long as I could remember.

The Bible is full of examples on the importance of connecting with others. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said, Love God & Love People, in Matthew 18:20 He said He is with us when two or three gather in His name, in John 15:12-15 we see Christ telling us to love each other enough to be willing to lay down our lives for each other, in Hebrews 10:24-25 the writer encourages us to meet together and spur each other towards love, in Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul tells us to live in unity and the list goes on and on.

We as Christians are a part of the body of Christ and therefore we must live in connection with one another, but it is that much more true for Christians who work together on a daily basis. In Teen Challenge SE Region, over the past 2 years, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “it’s all about the we not the me”. This is absolutely counter culture to the world we live in. Jon Gordon says it like this, “The message they (we) receive from the world is that it’s all about the individual, not the team. It’s about me, not we.”

We know the importance of connecting with one another, but often times we are not intentional in our efforts to connect with each other. We assume it will happen over time or we intend to do it, but never get around to it. Meaningful connections don’t happen by accident. You must be intentional as you are trying to build connectivity as a team and in your walk with Christ.

Ask yourself some key questions today:

  • Are you intentionally building connection with those around you?
  • How can you improve those connections?
  • What are some distractions you can put boundaries on?

 

Article written by: Dustin Nance, Divisional Leader of Training

Source: You Win in the Locker Room, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

COMMUNICATION – The Foundation of Strong Relationships

If you’ve worked at Teen Challenge long enough, we’ve all been there. You have a church rally, banquet, work crew, or something else of importance about to happen. Where is the van we are taking? It’s out on the town somewhere and no one signed it out. Where is the crew leader or student for this job? They were assigned somewhere else for the day and no one was notified. Who is supposed to be on duty right now? Where are they? No matter what the case, it’s a flat out communication breakdown.

Fires happen and chaos can come at any time, and adapting to the mayhem of each day can be a feat of its own, but many of these things can be prevented or improved. What’s the magic ingredient? You got it—communication.  But even much deeper than a practical, day-to-day communication, we must be in tune to the spiritual and mental well-being of those around us, especially those we lead.

Jon Gordon writes, “Communication is the foundation for every great relationship. Communication builds trust. Trust creates commitment. Commitment fosters teamwork, and teamwork drives results. Without great communication you don’t have the trust to build a strong relationship, and without relationships you can’t have a strong team.”

So there we have it, to have a strong team and great results, we must have relationships based upon trust and commitment, good communication being the means on how we achieve this.  I want to challenge all of us: Do you communicate well with your team or to your students? Do you truly know what the “pulse” is on your campus at any given time? Are we seeing more lives being transformed due to a strong team because of communication? I believe as a Region we will see more people impacted for Christ through our programs as our staff, interns and other leaders continue to raise the bar on communication and relationships.

 

Article written by: Dan Williams

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, author Jon Gordon