October – ELP Highlight

Name: Katie Settle

Age: 27

Hometown: Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Teen Challenge Center: Fort Myers Florida June 2018

Brief Testimony: Two years ago I was using my daughter’s daycare money to fund my $400/Week cocaine habit. I  had walked out on my family, my friends, and most importantly God. I saw no future for myself. Today, I have purpose because Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life, and even in the face of difficulty, I have hope. My passion is to share the truth of an almighty, eternal God with a world that has rejected and forgotten Him.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? To testify the truth of His existence and hope to a dead and secular world.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? Everything is different working for the Lord. I’m discovering the joy in serving, and learning that leadership is 100% more about humility and submission than “being the boss”. Leading like Jesus means perfecting the role of servant.

 

October TF Highlight

Name: Cosett Williams Age: 34
Hometown: Miami Florida
Teen Challenge Center: Fort Myers , Fl Woman Home

Brief Testimony: After finishing my Internship I was hopeful that there was going to be a position open for me but their wasn’t one so I went into the role that God set before me in discipleship in my home. After almost two years waiting faithfully God called and He gave me the desires of my heart, which was working with Teen Challenge. Today I work with the women in Fort Myers and I wake up with a purpose knowing that I am making a difference.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Seeing the transformation from beginning to the end.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? It prepares me in becoming a better staff member and it equips me with tools that I can apply in my daily walk.

Main Article – A Leader Worth Following

By: Bryan Sampson

If you are not careful you can go through life and never ask yourself the pertinent questions that can change the entire philosophy and scope of your life for the better. Some important questions you should ask as a leader in Teen Challenge are what kind of leader do you want to be and what kind of leader do you want to be remembered as? With so many leadership philosophies and ideologies, it can seem overwhelming to choose what is going to make you succeed as a leader. So, what is going to make the difference in your leadership style and the legacy you leave behind? Character.

Your character is everything. It is what people are going to associate with your name and will determine your legacy. So, what is character? Stanley (2003) defines it as “the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard” (p.133). Having the kind of character that glorifies God and will make you a leader worth following will require a willingness to make the right decisions. Decisions that are tough, that may run contrary to emotion, intuition, economics, current trends and in the eyes of some, common sense. To have this kind of character you have to believe and follow an absolute standard of right and wrong which is independent of your emotions, experiences, or desires. It will be your willingness to say “no” that will set you a part from the pack and make you a leader worth following.

Don’t become intoxicated with the world desires of power, money, success, fame…. As Stanley (2003) points out “intoxicated people see the world differently” (p.138). They see rules for the common man but not themselves. Leading with character is not doing the right thing to avoid consequences, but because it is the right thing to do. “Virtue is not a means to an end. It is the end” (Stanley, 2003, p. 138). We must recognize and submit to joyfully following the moral law which has been revealed by God through His word and in our hearts. We must always walk in humility and never come to believe that our position, success, or situation can give us the right to replace what God has put in place.

I challenge you today to analyze yourself and have God search your heart to reveal what kind of character you are demonstrating and leading with. Pray for God to reveal His truth and have it become the standard that you choose to live by so that you can develop the Godly character to bring Him glory so that others may follow.

References

Stanley, A. (2003). The next generation leader: Five essential for those who will shape the future. New York: Multnomah.

September – TF Highlight

Name: John Arnold

Age: 26

Hometown: Manitou, KY

Teen Challenge Center: I graduated from Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge in 2015. I’m currently on staff at Teen Challenge Men’s Center, Dixon, KY.

Testimony: I had a great upbringing as a child in a supportive loving home but early in my teenage years I chose to consume myself with the things of this world. I entered Teen Challenge in September of 2014 broken, depressed, desperate and addicted. During my 12 months at TC I encountered God and He revealed Himself to me like never before. It is 100% His credit for the changes He has helped me make in my life and I continue to make daily. I am extremely grateful that He restored me and am excited for the future He has for me. Romans 12:1!

What do you enjoy most about your role?: I enjoy being able to first hand witness God impacting others’ lives the same way He impacted mine. It’s humbling to be in a position to help lead others to new levels of leadership and discipleship.

What do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? Leadership training is essential for the Kingdom to expand! We all have to teach and learn from one another to more effectively carry out our purpose for Him.

September – ELP Highlight

Name: Zac Mullins

Age: 31 years old

Hometown: Lexington, KY

TC Center: Pensacola TC 2016

Testimony: For the past ten years I was lost trying to find my place in the world. I was using copious amounts of drugs and using everyone around me to fulfill my selfish desires. I was asked to participate in Pensacola TC and reluctantly decided I would go to try and change my life. I found God in those first few weeks and He has forever changed my life.

What is the vision and calling God has given you? To help others that struggle with the same life controlling issues that I have struggled with in my life.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? The program has shown me how to stretch and push myself beyond my mental and spiritual limits that I thought existed. It has constantly caused me to look at and reassess how I present myself and engage with other people.

Main Article – The Essentiality of Coaching

By: Bryan Sampson

Take a moment and think back to your childhood and recall that teacher or coach who made a big impact in your life. Does a specific person come to mind? For me it was Mr. Stowe, my eighth-grade basketball coach. I won’t ever forget Mr. Stowe because he made such a profound impact on my life. What made Mr. Stowe so impactful on my life? It wasn’t that he had the greatest techniques and skills, it wasn’t even that he was an excellent coach, no, what made him the greatest coach of my life was that I knew I needed him to teach me so I could improve to be a better basketball player. I knew he cared, I respected him, and I needed him, so I absorbed everything he offered. The coaches’ impact can only have an effect if we are aware of our need for them. Sadly, most of us don’t believe we are in need of anyone to coach us in things outside of sports. Stanley (2003) makes a great observation when he states “In the world of leadership we have a tendency to operate under the misguided assumption that because we are leaders, we don’t need to be led. Once we are recognized for our ability to “perform,” we think we don’t need outside input in order to enhance our performance” (p.105).

To be the best next generation leaders we can be, it is essential to enlist the help of others to evaluate us and help us see how we can improve in our leadership skills (Stanley, 2003, p.106). This must become a priority if we are ever going to meet our full potential. To think that we can just coast through life only comparing ourselves against other people would be an erroneous assumption which would have detrimental affects to our growth and development (sanctification). We have a tendency to measure ourselves against the people around us and not asking the critical question of “how am I measuring up to my potential?” How can we become all God created us to be if we aren’t aware of our own potential? This is where a coach comes in. A coach will take us to the next echelon in our leadership development, as they will help us measure ourselves against our strengths instead of against someone else’s. A coach will know what we are capable of and will push us to our limit. The only question is do we want it? Do we want the feedback and critical insights that can help us reach our full potential?

So take a moment and honestly examine yourself today. Do you feel the need for a coach in your life? Why or why not? What may be preventing you from seeking the feedback from a respected colleague or leader?

The great news is that you can start today, just simply ask another respected leader or colleague for honest feedback on how you have been performing, teaching, mentoring, holding meetings, etc… I pray we all can walk with the humility needed to receive the feedback and insights that can radically shape us into the next generation leaders God is calling us to be for His glory and purpose. 

 

References

Stanley, A. (2003). The next generation leader: Five essential for those who will shape the future. New York: Multnomah.

Main Article – Clarity in times of Uncertainty

Article By: Bryan Sampson

Take a moment and imagine yourself being an Israelite. You just wandered the desert for 40 years. Your feet hurt, your lips are dry, and you long for the land of milk and honey you have heard so much about. Then you get word; it is time. It is time that for you, as a people to possess the promise land. Everything inside of you jumps with joy, as energy pulsates through your body, your heart starts pounding, your feet stop hurting and you run to your leader Moses and ask what are we going to do!? He explains to you that you are now the leader of the people as he goes off to die. Charged with the order to bring your people into the precious promise land you begin to wonder how you even begin this journey. What do you do? How do you begin? The LORD has commanded you to be strong and courageous, but what about all of the uncertainty?

These are questions we can find in our day-to-day lives frequently. How do we start…? What about…? If this happens then… It can go on and on. Uncertainty has the ability to paralyze a person. It can also shatter progress and growth, preventing essential changes from taking place. As a next generation leader, we cannot allow this to happen. In these times of uncertainty clarity is paramount. Stanley states, “If you are unable or unwilling to be clear when things are not certain, you are not ready to assume further leadership responsibilities” (Stanley, 2003, p.91).

So, how did Joshua respond with the uncertainties they faced? Joshua was clear “prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to begin to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.” (Josh 1:10-11).

            People – “But what about the river? How are we going to cross it?”

            Joshua – “I’m not sure, be ready to leave in three days.”

            People – “What are we going to do when we get across?”

            Joshua – “I’ll tell you when we get there, just be ready in three days to move out”

Today I challenge you to be crystal clear with the vision and purpose God has for your role and ministry with those you are leading. Communicate in a way that shows confidence. Don’t allow uncertainty to prevent you from being clear and taking a chance. Allow it to be the opportunity for greater levels of trust and commitment to form. Remember what Stanley (2003) says, “People will follow you if you’re wrong. They will not follow you if you’re unclear” (p.89).

Let us pray for the courage needed to communicate as precise and clear as possible, so those who follow will not be lead astray and we will achieve the purpose God has set out for us to possess.

TF Highlight – August

Name: Storm Williams

Age: 21

Hometown: Morristown, TN

Teen Challenge Center: Dublin Men in 2016

Brief Testimony: I was a very lost and hurting young man before I met Jesus I had no hope whatsoever. To cope with the pain and emptiness on the inside I would use whatever drugs I could get my hands on, and whenever I could get my hands on them. This destructive life style had me in and out of mental intuitions and group homes as an adolescent and when I became an adult I was immediately homeless. I was planning to take my life one morning but instead that very day I found my life forevermore.  I gave my life to Jesus and he made away for me to come to Teen Challenge were he radically changed my life and filled every void I had and even more filled me with life.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love that I get to live out the great commission every day and make disciples who will eventually make disciples themselves. I think the most special part of this role is to be able to identify gifts and talents in the emerging leaders and to call those out of them and spur them in the direction to operate in those giftings.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? I believe it is a vital key in the gospel of Jesus Christ advancing to the nations. I believe God is sending men and women through our programs who will change the world and this will not happen if we don’t do our part in equipping them with the tools they need.

Participant Highlight – August

Name: Brent R. Herring

Age: 48

Hometown: Cove City, N.C

Graduated: Jacksonville Men’s Center, Fl. 2017

Brief Testimony: My first experience with painkillers came after I had my wisdom teeth surgically removed at age 17 and I received pain killers.  I remember wishing that I could feel like that forever, and from that time on I abused any form of narcotic I could get. I stole a prescription pad from one of the Physicians’ offices and was caught and charged with prescription forgery. I agreed to go to rehab in exchange for the State dropping all charges. That didn’t change my desire for narcotic painkillers and I began to raid family and friends medicine cabinets in their homes. My addiction got so bad that I took my mom’s Demerol capsules she needed after having back surgery. My addiction to painkillers continued to grow until I began overdosing because of the amounts it took to get me high. My tolerance had gotten dangerously high. After several overdoses which landed me in the hospital, I agreed to get help and enter Teen Challenge. I found out about Teen Challenge years earlier when I sent my Daughter through the program to overcome her addiction to Cocaine. After she graduated I remember feeling like I had my little girl back. I remember a definite transformation in her life that I remember wishing I had. I have now graduated, and have been free from addiction for over 6 months. I rely daily on my relationship with Christ to get me through struggles and hardships instead of relying on a pill. 

What is the vision God is calling you to? After being addicted for more than 25 years God has broken the chains of my addiction. In place of an externally poor self-image caused by rejection, loneliness, and self-hatred, God has renewed my spirit. I am now a child of God. Loved, accepted, and content with my life. God has placed the desire in my heart to serve others struggling with life controlling issues by loving them, respecting them and pointing them towards God for inner healing and restoration. 

How has the ELP program impacted your life? The ELP program is not only strengthening my relationship with God, but also giving me the tools to be a more effective leader.

The Light in the Shadow of Uncertainty

By: Bryan Sampson

Uncertainty sure can stir up a lot of different emotions. If you’re anything like me, you have come to realize that life has a lot of unknowns. I find it even more interesting that God intentionally designed our life to be full of uncertainties. This, I believe, is so we can learn to trust Him and become more dependent on Him. So, when looking at leadership experience should we expect it to be any different?

There are three ways to approach the uncertainties we will face as leaders. We can deny them; act like their not even there, we can fear and avoid them, allowing them to cause us to run away from our reality, or we can embrace them with prayer, humility, clarity, and courage, knowing that God goes with us in the shadow of the valley ahead (Psalm 23:4). Understanding the necessity and gifts that the unknown can bring can help us begin to change the way we see the shadows of uncertainties within our lives and ministries. As Stanley (2003) puts it “Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape” (p.80), so the need to accept and embrace its presence in our leadership is essential.

First, we must realize we are not God, and thus not omniscient. We will never know everything and exactly what to do in every situation. Leaders don’t have all the answers; they are just humble enough to admit it, able to take an honest look at the situation, and willing to consult others when possible. We have to be okay with not knowing for certain how things are going to turn out and we can’t allow that to stop us from making the courageous decisions that lie ahead.

Second, we can’t think that we are going to eliminate uncertainty. We shouldn’t want to eliminate it. We should see it as an opportunity for God’s glory to be exhibited as we trust in His guidance and providence. We should see it as an opportunity for growth and prosperity. This can help us see why God wants us to be uncertain, it allows us to let me Him lead. It is in times of uncertainty that we are most desperate for God’s presence in our lives. It should be this way in our leadership too. The only way we can be the visionaries and leaders for the next generation is if we get comfortable with the uncertainties that will continue to grow as we continue to improve and advance as a ministry. We should actually be grateful because uncertainty is job security for a leader and proves prior success. The more responsibility and success you attain, the more uncertainty you will be rewarded with.

Lastly, it is imperative for us to learn now how to thrive in times of uncertainty. This is where we must develop the art of clarity within our leadership repertoire. Stanley (2003) describes it as “giving explicit and precise direction in spite of limited information and unpredictable outcomes” (p.80). The times of uncertainty are not times to play around, they are the times when we must be direct and clear with what we are aiming to accomplish and what everyone is supposed to do. Imagine a staff meeting where the art of clarity is being utilized or imagine your leadership where you are communicating with the utmost clarity and precision. What differences would you see? What can you do today to start being more precise and direct with those you’re leading?

Uncertainty is a crucial part of our reality. It is when we have embraced our reality that we can allow God to help us courageously lead others. Remember “the goal of leadership is not to eradicate uncertainty, but rather to navigate it. Uncertainty is a component of every environment that calls for leadership. Where you find one, you will always find the other” (Stanley, 2003, p.84).

Pray with me today that we become confident, clear, and courageous as we embrace and lead others through the uncertainties God ordains.

Works Cited

Stanley, A. (2003). The next geneartion leader: Five essential for those who will shape the future. New York: Multnomah.