Participant Highlight October

Name: Caroline Denham

Age: 37

Hometown: Florence, SC 

Teen Challenge Center: Dixon Kentucky July 2018

Brief Testimony:  I came back into TC almost 2 years ago ready to get whatever it was I had missed the first time. The Lord helped me to understand who I really was and to understand who I really was and that he had a plan for me. His plan is far better than any I could have for myself, and I have learned to trust Him and to wait on Him, no matter what the circumstances. 

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? I believe I am here to share my knowledge of the word and the revelation that God has given me.
How has the ELP Program impacted you? I am learning, each month, how to be a more efficient teacher and leader, and that my own spiritual state plays a huge role in this.

TF Highlight October

Name:  Brittany Cottuli

Age: 25

Hometown: Camden, DE

Teen Challenge Center:  Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge Graduated in 2015

Brief TestimonyWhen I came into Teen Challenge nearly four years ago I was completely broken and lost. Over the last four years, I have learned to how to find myself and who I truly am in God. Through ELP I have not only been able to grow closer to the Lord, but I have learned that I am a leader. ELP has helped me to become a better leader while keeping the Lord in the center of my life.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I enjoy everything about my job, but what I enjoy the most is that I get to show these women the love of God and to show them the right way to be raised up so that they can go out and share the love of the Lord with others.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  I believe that they are valuable because they can become life-changing for anyone who is trying to grow in their relationship with the Lord. I feel as though it is important to expand the idea of leadership so that our students can see that it goes far beyond just the walls of teen challenge. 

Main Article: Inviting an Uncomfortable Conversation

By Tyler Graeff

Of our three core values, the one that challenges us most in our development as leaders is Continuous Improvement. We should always be taking personal inventory as well as seeking feedback from others so areas of improvement can be identified. Often times until topics are discussed in an uncomfortable conversation, we may not know where we need to grow.

In Chapter 26, Witt talks about inviting and receiving uncomfortable conversations. “Hold on Witt, you mean that we are supposed to invite these kinds of conversations and embrace them?” During my early stages as a leader, I found it difficult to receive and participate in those tough conversations. Especially those that were a reflection of my performance and character. It was a natural tendency for me to become defensive, and the root was insecurity.

Witt says that all of us struggle with some form of insecurity, whether we would like to admit it or not. Everything in us wants to resist having those hard conversations because of it. If we are striving to model our core value of continuous improvement, we must embrace having those uncomfortable conversations so that we can grow and help others in our sphere of influence grow.

In the midst of uncomfortable conversations, I have needed to remind myself of who I am in Christ. The good news is that my shortcomings are no surprise to God. He already knows our weaknesses and at the end of the day, the truth is we are gloriously saved and on our way to heaven. So why wouldn’t we welcome conversations that could help us grow?

One cannot simply remain the same when accountability is invited in the picture, there will be some kind of a shift or challenge presented within ourselves. Having these conversations within a team begins to challenge us to cultivate a culture of honor and honesty. Witt leaves us with a challenge when we are faced with an uncomfortable conversation: Lean in and embrace the conversation and consider the opportunity to grow.

Below you will find a good model for leading uncomfortable conversations:

Pray through your own anger and initiate the contact

  • Don’t let emotion lead you. Wait until you’re objective, but deal with issues before they get bigger.
  • Don’t wait for the other person, scripture beckons you to make things right whether you are the offender or the offended.  

Hold a Fact-Finding Meetings

  • Explain what you have seen and/or heard and how you see & understand it
  • Then ask them to explain how they see it
  • The meeting may be more of a clarification than a confrontation.

Listen and allow them to respond

  • You must stop and allow them to respond. They may present a new perspective that will help you both.
  • They may also throw up on you, listen anyway. Give them time to process and answer

Establish forgiveness and repentance, if necessary

  • Connect the issue you are correcting with who they are in Christ
  • Don’t conclude the meeting until issues are clear and resolved and forgiveness is extended, even if it ends with them being in the wrong or leaving

Pray and affirm your appreciation as you close your time together

  • Always close these times with prayer. Give them hope, and remind them of their place in God’s heart and yours