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

ELP Highlight – July 2017

Name: Andrew Cartwright

Age: 25 years old

Hometown: South St. Paul, MN

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Men’s Center

Testimony: I found my significance in how others viewed me from early childhood.  I started using at 13 and only got worse. My good times of drinking with friends on the weekend ended up with me alone in my garage with a handle of liquor and an eight-ball of cocaine. This led me to the point of being lonely, broken, homeless, and defeated.  Since coming to Teen Challenge, I have found hope, purpose, and a restored relationship with family and God.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – God has called me to be a living Bible, to always be growing and to help others build a relationship with Jesus. I will teach others to live out their values with His truth by devoting themselves to God and the application of His word.
How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has completely changed my view of leadership. I see where I need to grow and how and when to rely on God.  I have also learned that everyone has personal values God has given them and we must learn to follow these values the right way so that others come to Jesus.

Training Facilitator Highlight – July 2017

Name: Michael Spivey

Age: 38 years old

Hometown: Macclenny, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Men’s Center, graduated 2013

Brief Testimony: I was on drugs for 18 years, and completely selfish for the 15 years before. I came to Jacksonville Men’s Center, 5 years ago and have seen God change almost everything about my life. God is using me to end generations of addiction, dysfunction and abuse in my own family and allowing me to see lives transformed all the time in Teen Challenge.

What do you enjoy most about your role?  I get the privilege of being a genuine example, in progress, of what God can do in a life. I get to be part of the solution and undo the damage to creation that I once took pride in causing.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – Being teachable is super important and there has to be people to lead us in the right way. We all learn best by seeing the truth walked out in front of our eyes.

CONSISTENCY

When I think of consistency, the words discipline and choice come to mind. For some this may not be the most natural correlation, but in leadership it is essential. It’s easy to be consistent when you are good at something, enjoy the task at hand, or when things are going smoothly. However, it can be a different story when you are being challenged to grow or when change is happening around you. Author Jon Gordon, in his book titled, You Win in the Locker Room First talks about the fact that being consistent isn’t easy, it takes effort.

Consistency ultimately comes down to making a choice…we have to decide daily to be disciplined and determine what we want our influence to look like. Some of the greatest leaders in history are memorable simply because of the fact that they have a deep desire to consistently be excellent in all areas. This attitude comes from a life-long journey of discipline. We can’t expect this trait to be developed overnight. The more consistent we are in our personal lives and in leadership, the more of an impact we have in building relationships. We have to choose to “walk into the locker room” and cultivate relationships based on unwavering attitudes, efforts, and actions. Consistency ultimately leads to trust. This act of discipline ultimately allows us to make more of an impact for the Kingdom.

Author John C. Maxwell, in his book titled The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth writes, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” It starts with the small things. Challenge yourself to reflect inwardly on the areas your life that could use more discipline.  Be honest and ask yourself, “In what areas of my life do I see inconsistencies?” This isn’t a challenge towards perfectionism, or to compare yourself with the greatest leaders or all time. It’s simply a challenge to look at the challenge in front of you and choose attack it with an attitude that moves towards excellence.

Article written by: Holly Williams

ELP Highlight – June 2017

Name: Christie Ganpat

Age: 29

Hometown: Queens, NY

Teen Challenge Center: Graduated from Davie Teen Challenge, 2016

Brief Testimony: My parents were divorced when I was 2 years old. I lived with my dad for the early part of my childhood, my dad was an alcoholic. I moved in with my mom when I was 12 and started drinking and experimenting with drugs at age 13. At 28 I found myself in a very abusive relationship, very hopeless and broken. I came to Teen Challenge and found love in the right place and so much has been restored in my life. I know that God is able and He is the lover of my soul.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? God has called me to be a light in a dark world. I know that He has called me to be a leader within Teen Challenge, to continue giving the same hope that was given to me to others. I know He is raising me up to spread His love to others.

How has the Emerging Leaders Program impacted you? ELP has given me the ability to admit my faults and recognize that I’m not perfect. It has taught me to remain teachable and allow God to show me how to lead like Jesus did. I’m so happy I decided to remain on this journey and I’m so ready to go to the next level with my God!

Training Facilitator Highlight – June 2017

Name: Barbara Cooper

Age: 61

Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

Teen Challenge Center: Davie Women’s Center

Brief Testimony: I was working in the bar business and realized at 26 I was heading for trouble. I was blacking out every time I drank. Someone told me I would like this church, so I went and I did and was born again.  A friend of mine started working at TC and I went to visit her and the Director offered me a job, so I went through the program as a staff, so to say.  God dealt with me about the same things He was dealing with the students about.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love seeing the captives get set free and watching God do it anyway He wants-can’t put God in a box that’s for sure!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  When I started, it was on the job training by the Holy Spirit-I never cried so much in my life! God was merciful and used me in spite of me still being crippled in many ways. I feel that Teen Challenge training is putting out a much better quality of staff and they are healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and better prepared spiritually for the battle.  Those that stick with it turn out to be “quality”.

CONTAGIOUS ATTITUDE

We could all probably muster up images of any number of movies where people are in bio-hazard suits to protect them from something contagious. We also probably can all think of someone we’ve been around where we wished we had better protection from the negative energy that had an effect on us. Or maybe it’s been ourselves that displayed a poor attitude to others. Either way, a leader’s attitude has a substantial impact on everyone around them.

Peter Stark stated, “One of the greatest gifts a leader can bring to a team is self-awareness and an understanding of their attitude and the impact it plays on relationships, the performance of their team, and everyone around them.” In the Southeast Region, we believe that having a Contagious Attitude means being people of optimism and belief—positive through every situation and full of confidence that we will succeed. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

As we look at our mission to Put Hope Within Reach, the only way we will accomplish this is by attacking every obstacle with optimism and belief. If you really think about it, it’s impossible to have belief and not optimism, or to have optimism and not belief. They go hand in hand. What would it look like on our campuses if every obstacle were approached with the attitude of, “We can do this!” instead of “There’s no way this is possible!” What would it look like on our campuses if complaining was obsolete? What would it look like if camaraderie and teamwork created a momentum that nothing could stop? Our president Dr. Nance has stated, “Momentum allows you to make a few mistakes, because your momentum allows you to only observe the mistake for a short time and then it’s behind you. Without momentum you get to see your mistake for a long time and it takes too much of your time and attention. Momentum is the greatest friend a leader has.”

I believe that we can have such a positive culture in Teen Challenge, that it would be impossible for anyone to come in contact with us and not know they experienced something different. Let’s let our positive attitudes impact everyone around us!

Article written by: Dan Williams