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.