This April we celebrate 10 years of the ELP! The Emerging Leaders Program was envisioned in 2005 by Dr. Jerry Nance in response to this prayer: “God, where can Teen Challenge get the leaders needed to reach the growing addicted population – leaders who will be carriers of the Teen Challenge DNA?” The reply from heaven: “you’ve got to raise them up!” The intent of the ELP is to raise up servant leaders within Teen Challenge relative to our heritage, mission, DNA and guiding principles.
Teen Challenge owes a great deal to our pioneering leaders who modeled for us faith and obedience. Without precedent, but through the Holy Spirit’s sovereign instruction, they shaped a Christ-centered model and philosophy of ministry which continues to facilitate life-transformation for people with life-controlling problems across every continent. However, the world today is very different than it was in 1958 and more than ever Teen Challenge needs leaders who will commit and become equipped to put hope within reach of every addict.
In 2008, at the 50th anniversary celebration of Teen Challenge, one of our pioneers – Don Wilkerson – gave an exhortation to Teen Challenge. He said there are 3 generations in Teen Challenge: the “Pioneer Generation”, the “Bridge Generation”, and “Generation Next”. As we enter into the next 50 years of Teen Challenge, Don Wilkerson tasked the Bridge Generation to ensure that the heritage, the lessons learned and the principles of the Pioneer Generation are passed on to Generation Next. As an ELP participant, no matter what demographic generation you fall into, you make up the ranks of “Gen Next” in TC! The ELP is a “bridge tool” engineered to faithfully facilitate the hand-off from our pioneers. And as every generation becomes established in the DNA of Teen Challenge, they join the ranks of the Bridge Generation to raise up those coming after them.
At this 10th Anniversary ELP Summit we are going to learn how to be “Bridge Builders”! With God’s help, and with leaders of passion and calling who are committed to preserving the DNA of Teen Challenge, we can’t wait to see what God is going to do in our day!