Main Article – The Process of Competence

The Process of Competence

By: Bryan Sampson

I won’t ever forget my second day in Teen Challenge. It was 90 degrees in Sanford, FL, the sun was beating down on me from every direction as it reflected off of the line of cars I was staring at. I was surrounded by a thousand dirty cars that needed to be washed before an auction took place. The first thing that crossed my mind was “what did I do? I have made the biggest mistake of my life!” Fast forward fifteen months later; I’m an intern, on the same car lot, with the same heat, but different responsibilities as I supervise the work crew. As I began to grow complacent wondering what I was doing on the same lot, doing the same thing, God reminded me of my purpose and showed me how far I had come through the process He ordained. It’s funny that while in each moment I would have changed so much, as I look back through this journey and I wouldn’t change one thing. God was using every situation to show me who I truly was while preparing me for my destiny. I discovered more about myself and my competencies by working in a variety of domains than I could have ever discovered by a personality or interest inventory. How do we know who we truly are and what we truly love to do if we don’t experience the good and bad positions of work that life can provide? The process of discovering our competencies and who we truly are in Christ should fill us with joy even if the particular job doesn’t.

Stanley makes it clear that though we may not always be in a position where we are working within our competencies we need to adapt the mindset to uncover the areas where we would have the highest probability of success (Stanley, 2003). This is something we must work toward and focus on. No position will ever be completely filled with responsibilities that we love to do or where we operate within our competencies all day long. That isn’t realistic. We all must answer to someone and be willing to complete the tasks assigned to us whether they are in our competencies our not. We owe it to ourselves, our ministry, and to God to embrace the process of discovering our competencies, learning about ourselves, and being patient and willing to do whatever is asked, so when God does open the door for our dream position we are prepared to walk through it.

Jesus says, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:26-28 ESV). There was a process that Jesus had to go through before He entered His role as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It was Jesus’ joy to endure the process of sacrificially serving Himself to the point of death so that we could live but more importantly that He would be glorified! (Heb 12:2) Let us begin to walk with the same humility and anticipation that Jesus did as we grow and develop as leaders.

Are you willing to go through the process so you become competent and ready to walk you’re your destiny so that God would be glorified?

ELP Participant Highlight – March

Name: Glenn Thomas Forker

Age: 34

Hometown: Madisonville Ky

Teen Challenge Center: Western Kentucky Teen Challenge


Brief Testimony: I was homeless strung out fo 20 years and as broken as a man could be. I had gotten very close to killing myself and was living out of a hotel at a level of strung out I had never been too. My family had offered to help me if I would seek help. Thinking I was going to get over on them and stay high I agreed. But God had different plans. I pushed to come on a tour of this program and one year later here I am.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? I feel like I am meant to share with people what has happened in my life, what GOD has done in my life. If I just give one person hope or am able to help bring one person to the Lord, every struggle I have been threw is worth it.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? ELP has taught me leadership on a level I have never thought possible. And most importantly it has taught me how to lead like a Christian man and to show people the word threw my actions

Training Facilitator Highlight – March

Name: Jeremiah Jeffers

Center: Graduate of Teen Challenge in Dixon, Ky.

I have been here for 3 years now, and I am working as a full-time staff member. Through the opportunity the Lord gave me through Teen Challenge, I now have restoration with my daughters and am building a relationship with them. I have purpose for my life today, and I love to work and help others. I am thankful for a personal relationship with the Lord and to know the power of His Word. Today, I am a living stone, a royal priesthood, and my life is now built on the solid rock and aligned with the true cornerstone of Jesus Christ. Today I have true life.

Main Article – The Next Generation

By: Bryan Sampson

Over the next year, we as a region will be mining through Andy Stanley’s “Next Generation Leader” to pull insights and wisdom that will hopefully improve our leadership skills, but before we get to the what we are doing it is always good to ask why. This allows us to understand the heart and greater purpose behind the training.

Why Staff Trainings?

To understand why we believe that our staff meetings should contain a training component we should hear Paul’s words written to the Ephesians “… and He (Jesus) gave gifts to men… and He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work in ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (4:8-13).

Unfortunately, there is a wrong way to do ministry. We have all witnessed this within our centers and at times have been guilty of it ourselves. It’s time to repent, get rid of the excuses, and take serious the growth, development, and sanctification of ourselves and our future leaders. We want the next generation of leaders to grow in the fullness of Christ, understanding how to do ministry in a way that honors Him. Our staff meetings provide excellent opportunities for us to equip the saints for God glorifying work in Teen Challenge ministries.

Why Next Generation Leader?

How should we measure success as leaders in Teen Challenge? Is it the bottom line of our centers’ financial statements? Should it be based on recidivism? Or maybe on graduation rates? While all of these would be good measures to understand the program, none of them can measure longevity and success.

Stanley states that “In leadership, success is succession.” If the people coming up behind us are not able to take what we have offered and build on it, then we have failed in our responsibility to the next generation (p.11). The only way Teen Challenge will be able to serve the generations that follow is by raising up leaders to fulfill the roles that are needed. We fail as leaders if we aren’t preparing our replacements.

We must realize that God is giving us pastoral leaders, teachers, IT professionals, counselors, etc… to grow, develop, and mature in Christ. We want to invest in those who are destined to leave the world a better place than they found it, a place where God’s will is done. As a region, we want to raise up the leaders within our program that are going to shape our ministry and our future for the better.

ELP Participant Highlight – February

Name: Shannon McDonald

Age: 31

Hometown: Ft. Myers, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Teen Challenge

Brief Testimony: The Ministry of Teen Challenge has forever changed my life, before entering the program I had no clue about my Savior Jesus, never saw a bible or set foot in a church. I was bound in addiction for 21 years always looking for something that was missing, only I never knew what it was. Today I’ve found it, and I am delivered and passionate about giving to others what God has given me through this ministry. FREEDOM!

What is the vision and calling that God has given you?

To work in street ministry and evangelism with women in prostitution and addiction.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? 

God is intimately shaping my Christ-like attitude and character through all the studies I am doing. He is also breaking my fleshly ways off me that hinder me in my leadership and giving me the wisdom and grace to change. He is aligning my heart with his for His people so I am not selfish and can do His will for His people and not my own.

Training Facilitator Highlight – February

Name: Alyssa Coulthard

Age: 22

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Teen Challenge Women’s Center. Graduated in 2016

Brief Testimony: Just under three years ago, I walked into the doors of Teen Challenge – I was broken, humiliated, hungry for freedom, and so desperate for hope. A 6-year drug addiction led me into a life of homelessness, jails, prison, and despair. By the mercy of my Heavenly Father, I was able to serve my supposed prison sentence in TeenChallenge instead, where I was introduced to the person of Jesus Christ – He liberated me and broke off chains of bondage and addiction. I now live to spread the same hope and salvation that has been given to me, developing and raising up the next generation of disciples and disciplers. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy the privilege of being able to identify, develop, and equip leaders who will take part in advancing the Kingdom of God – I love to see disciples making disciples!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  

I feel that leadership and training are valuable because we must teach, train, and equip those who are wanting to mature and grow in their walk with Christ in order for them to in-turn pour into the lives of others, raising them up as disciple-makers as well.

ELP Participant Highlight – January

Name: Glenn Abernethy

Age: 52

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Teen Challenge

Testimony: I started abusing alcohol and drugs in 1978 and didn’t stop until 1991, when God rescued me and gave me a new start. It’s been an amazing journey. He has blessed me so much, and I’m living a life I never thought possible. I am honored to be a part of what God is doing through Teen Challenge.

Vision/Calling: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) I have a heart to teach and share God’s Word. It is so necessary for the men and women we minister to to have a solid foundation and a vital relationship with His Word and the Holy Spirit. To help develop spiritual warriors who will take the fight to the enemy and restore what has been lost.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? The ELP program has stretched me and challenged me to be not just a better leader but a better follower. Learning to work together with so many diverse people yet all working toward the same goals, serving together for His Kingdom.

Training Facilitator Highlight – January

Name: Joshua Horne

Age: 39

Hometown: Fairhope, Alabama

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Men’s Center, 2013

Brief Testimony: I came into Pensacola Teen Challenge on August 20, 2012 with
intent to manipulate the judicial system. Shortly after arriving to the program,
God started to break my heart. After 20 years of drugs, alcohol and living a
completely self-centered lifestyle, the God of the universe called my name and I
heard Him. God has shown Himself through circumstance and has faithfully grown
me through trials, therefore equipping me to make disciples.

What do you enjoy most about your role? – I very much enjoy helping men grow
through trials.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? Identifying and equipping leaders ensures the future moving of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Main Article – January

A Time For Everything

By: Bryan Sampson

One of my favorite things to do while traveling overseas is observe people and cultures. I like to take on the role of an ethnographer as I observe and record just about everything that catches my attention. I am just fascinated with the differences in our cultures. One of the greatest differences between our North American culture and that of Central America is the way we see time. Here in the United States we are monochronic. We see our time linearly in chronological order. We focus on one thing at a time; things should begin and end on time and we don’t like people to be late or for things to run over the time we allot. While in Nicaragua they are polychronic, meaning they do many things at once. Their concept of time is free-flowing, and changes depending on each situation. Distractions and interruptions are a natural part of life, and have to be taken in stride. The polychronic culture shows greater commitment to people and relationships over just a job.

Looking at these two very different views of time I begin to ask myself; which does God prefer? I would have to say both. God is a God of order, the God of cosmos, not chaos so we know he can prefer the monochronic view, but I also know that God wants our availability and for us to be more relational. As one saying goes “God is not looking for ability but availability” Our monochronic view of time can leave us with too much structure and not enough room for spontaneity allowing deep meaningful relationships to build. What are we to do?

What I propose that we do this new year is create an awareness of how we see our time. Imagine if we could begin to analyze each situation and adopt the proper view of time to bring about the greatest glory for God. If we are in work mode a monochronic view may be best, but when you leave the office maybe it is time to change your view. Imagine what your life would look like if you could embrace each moment, each conversation, each dinner without the concern of the next event. I think we would be surprised at how much enjoyment we would get out of the simple things in life when we slow down and embrace what God is doing around us. I believe that by becoming more polychronic we will build real relationships that can lead to the salvation of souls while also experiencing the awe and wonder of His glory. It is when we begin to see our time as God’s and not our own that we may choose to spend it differently. Solomon says it best “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecl. 3:1). So how will you spend your time this year?

Training Facilitator Highlight – December 2017

Name: Kevin Campos

Age: 24

Hometown: Satellite Beach, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Tallahassee Men’s Center; Graduated of Orlando Men’s Center, 2015.

Testimony: My name is Kevin Campos, I am 24 years old and I poured all my time and energy into becoming the best football player I could be during high school. When I found out there was no chance for a football scholarship I turned to unhealthy relationships, stealing, getting high and drinking for my acceptance. After a few years of moving city to city and building a rap sheet, I could not take the endless cycle of purposelessness anymore. I cried out to God where He gave me no other option than to enter into Teen Challenge. This is where I learned how to have a genuine relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now I drive my own vehicle with a valid license, I go to school maintaining great grades, and I am a teacher for Tallahassee Teen Challenge. Glory to God!
What do you enjoy the most about your role? –  What I enjoy most about my role in Teen Challenge is teaching and being a part of these men’s discipleship process, watching their lives transformed by the power Jesus Christ alone.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – Leadership and training is valuable to me because I want to follow Jesus and He commissions us, as His children, to make disciples and to help each other become more obedient. This is only possible by receiving correction and correcting others by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.