Prayer, Evangelism & The Holy Spirit

This month was a time of thankfulness for our country and for those that helped establish it; we will always be grateful for our Founding Fathers and for the role that they played in making our country great.

Another great founder that we are all so thankful for is David Wilkerson. According to Merriam Webster, a founder is an originator of an institution or movement. I am grateful that God chose a man like Wilkerson to be the originator of Teen Challenge. It was God’s idea but He placed it in Wilkerson’s head and, thankfully, he was obedient to the call- the crazy, impractical, startling and even bewildering call. This was a call that could have very well led to death but God went before Wilkerson and gave him great favor…you know the rest of the story.

I am challenged today to heed to the foundational ideas that Wilkerson had when the ministry of Teen Challenge began. Wilkerson was walking in purity before God; he listened to God and obeyed and he depended on three things:

Evangelism. This is where Wilkerson started- sharing the Good News of the Gospel. He believed it was the only message that could make a difference in the lives of the gang members he was ministering to.

Prayer. It was the thing that Wilkerson depended on to hear God’s voice and to receive Praying Wilkersonthe strength he needed for obedience. It was also the only way that addicts and gang members were going to receive deliverance. There was no other way.

The Holy Spirit. Without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the ministry that God called Wilkerson to would have been fruitless. Wilkerson needed the Holy Spirit to go before him, to work in the lives of the hurting and to permanently change the hearts of those he was ministering to.

After almost 60 years, nothing has changed. In order to have any degree of success in what we do, we need to continue to give the powerful Gospel message, we need to be people of prayer for strength, guidance and power and we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of men and women.

David Wilkerson was a great man but he would have been the first to admit that he was imperfect. He would point us directly to the One who is perfect- the one who gives us all that we need to do all that He calls us to do. As we share the Good News, bathe all that we do in prayer and depend on the Holy Spirit, God will continue to make this ministry fruitful for His glory!

The Best is Yet to Come, in Christ,

Brice Maddock, COO, Teen Challenge Southeast

Passing on the culture: Presence & Relationship

At our recent ELP Summit Dustin and Janel Nance shared how we, as the bridge generation, pass on a culture of presence and relationship. “We have to look at the past to remember that we are a part of a legacy.” David Wilkerson built a good foundation for TC by going to those boys, partnering with churches, fundraising, recruiting and training specialists and providing a home of hope for those boys. Teen Challenge has to be about Lamb Chop evangelism; real meat and substance; teaching our

I was working hard and wearing the ELP DNA shirt and gave Timmy a huge! thought you’d want to see me passing on DNA to our future leaders!

I was working hard and wearing the ELP DNA shirt and gave Timmy a hug! Thought you’d want to see me passing on DNA to our future leaders! ~ Dustin Nance

students to nurture a real love for Christ and a love for others. At ELC, Dustin and Janel creates a culture of relationship and living life with students. The decision to live in community meant they would live a transparent life before the students knowing the students would grow and they themselves would grow. “At the core of raising up sons and daughters is love. We love our students and we like them. They are our spiritual sons and daughters and they know that we love them even when it gets messy. We allow people to see the imperfect person we are, who love and who say “yes” to Jesus, and we teach them to hear the voice of God for themselves and to say “yes.” We want to raise up sons and daughters who are dependent on the Lord not dependent on us. Raising sons and daughters is not setting up policies for every infraction, it’s living life with people. The devil is not scared of dry bones (people following rules); he’s scared when there is life in them (people led by the spirit).

Characteristics of our Pioneer

Some of the characteristics of our pioneers are:

  1. They recognized that they were not owners but stewards of the vision. Prayer was all they had. Frank Reynolds said one of his greatest fears was that “we would think we know how to do it.” Because we don’t know how to do it, we are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. He is the only one who can draw people to Christ.
  2. They did not put in human mechanisms to fix a spiritual problem. Jesus is the Program. What makes Teen Challenge different from other programs? It is the Jesus Factor. Jesus is the only one who can fill the deep void that our students feel. “We use God’s mighty weapons to capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ” 2 Cor 10:5 (TLB).
  3. Stop screaming from the bleachers and get in the game. David Wilkerson
    photo 5 (1)

    Claude Mooneyhan (GTC) and Dustin Nance working with emerging leaders to build a section of the bridge at our Summit.

    started the first Teen Challenge in New York, Mike and Kay Zello did evangelism on the streets, Frank Reynolds started The Farm in Rehrersburg, Dave Batty developed the first curriculum. They all had skin in the game and they went to work. They were exemplary leaders who modeled servant leadership and raised up sons and daughters.

  4. Don’t lose the vision of reaching others. David never lost the vision to go and save those boys.  Keep in mind the vision ahead “to put hope within reach of every addict” and work hard at it. Ministry is a heavy load and we as the bridge generation have a responsibility to be strong, to be a people of integrity and to believe God for the miracles.

Excerpts from ELP Summit 2015 “The Bridge, Passing on the Culture: Presence & Relationship” by Dustin & Janel Nance.

 

3 Things Leaders Do to Change History

Most everyone who is involved with Teen Challenge knows the story of David Wilkerson from the book, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” When David Wilkerson was just a 26 year old preacher he heard God calling him to sell his TV and spend the last two hours of each day in prayer. To his surprise, the next day he sold the TV for the exact price that he had in mind for it. Then he began to spend his nights in prayer and seeking the Lord. David Wilkerson had no idea that not only would this time in prayer change his life but it would also forever change history.

19 days into this new experiment he had a radical encounter with the Lord when he saw a Life magazine article about a young boy named Michael Farmer who was killed by a gang in New York City. As he looked at the article he heard the Lord speak to his heart that he was supposed to go help those boys. The thought would not go away. It filled his heart with such an unction that the very next night he stood in front of his small country church to try and raise enough money to drive to New York City and help the boys in the gang. He had such an encounter that suddenly he was filled with a boldness and a passion for pursuing the unknown. He now had an unnatural measure of courage because he had a word from God that had possessed him.

There are some really amazing observations that I want to make from this story and also I want to talk about how this story can really apply to our lives today. I see that first of all David Wilkerson was willing to step out and sell his TV. I also notice that he was willing to sacrifice and give up an extended period of time each night to be with The Lord. Lastly, I see that he was simply obedient with the word that the Lord gave him. These three things all brought David Wilkerson to a place where he was positioned to receive a word from Heaven that would not only change him but all of history. We are called to change history and impact the world around us.

What separates leaders who simply controls and those who change history?

They are willing to do the following:

1. Step Out

Many times God calls us to do things that are really unusual. When we listen to Him this opens up the ability for Him to break into the everyday and ordinary places of our lives. We can become so complacent and comfortable and it is in these times that he challenges our faith and brings us to new places. We must be willing to step out if we want to step into the destiny that God has for us as world-changers.

This is demonstrated to us through the story of Peter when he steps out onto the water towards Jesus. That act of faith is what separated him from every other person that was in that boat. All of the men in the boat were disciples of Christ but Peter stood out because he was willing to step out. We see the fruit of this willingness in Acts Chapter two when he is the first to step out and boldly proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to those in Jerusalem. The church was birthed because of Peter’s willingness to step out. God is calling each of us to do the same!

2. Sacrifice

Everything great that we do in life requires that we sacrifice other “good” things for the “greater.” We make sacrifices and choices every single day on the way we spend our time. We may sacrifice time watching a football game to be with our kids or sacrifice our relationships with friends to pursue a deeper relationship with our finance. Sacrifice is natural and is something that we all do each and every day. Every decision we make in life bears fruit in our lives. When we are willing to sacrifice some “good” things in our life for the better things that God is calling us to is when we begin to step into our destiny as world changers.

We can see an example of this in the life of John the Baptist. He was set apart as a forerunner of the coming Messiah even while he was still in his mother’s womb. Even though he had angels tell his mother that he was to be especially set apart from birth he still had to make a choice whether or not to comply. He was set apart in a Nazarite type vow and chose not to partake of certain things because God had a special plan and a special purpose for his life. Because of his obedience in this and making such a huge sacrifice he got one of the coolest privileges in all of history… He got to baptize Jesus! God has huge plans for each of us and when we are willing to sacrifice the good for the best then we are able to step into them.

3. Simply Obey

Once we have pressed in through sacrifice and stepping out God will eventually give us a word that will not only change us but will also possess us. This is what happened to David Wilkerson. He waited on the Lord until he had been given a word that absolutely possessed him and drove him along the path of his destiny in Christ. After we have received the word it is important that we practice simple obedience and do what God has shown us to do. When we begin to walk in this simple obedience to his word then we will begin to see greater miracles than we ever could have imagined!

When Jesus told the man to go wash in the river to receive healing the man practiced simple obedience by going and washing even though it made no sense at all. Because of his simple obedience to Jesus he was healed of blindness as recorded in John 9. This man’s simple obedience led to an astounding miracle! When we walk in simple obedience to the Holy Spirit we will see even greater things in our lives.

I believe that God is calling each of us to consider how He might be calling us to step out and where we can make sacrifices. He has even greater things for our life than we could ever even imagine but sometime we are too complacent to find out what these things might be. I feel like He is calling each of us to take some time to consider what He might be calling us to do. I can only wonder what might happen if the body of Christ began to set aside 2 hours each night like David Wilkerson did for those 19 days. The Lord is just waiting for people who are willing to step out, sacrifice and simply obey.

Andrew Chalmers

http://twitter.com/landrewchalmers

http://andrewchalmers.wordpress.com

Freedom Costs a Price

Richard Henry Lee oilA Leader who sets a Nation Free

Great Leaders set others free. On June 7th 1775, Richard Henry Lee of Virgina presented a resolution for the united colonies to be free from British rule. “Let it be resolved that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved “http://www.military.com/independence-day/history-of-independence-day.html. Lee’s words set the flywheels turning for a series of events that led to the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence and on July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England – an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.  These few words and a series of action, set in motion that which would change the history of this great nation and its people forever. Last week we celebrating over 200 years of independence, but it took one leader who considered the welfare of the people above his; one leader who sought the good of the people and acted to bring about change. Freedom cost a price, oftentimes not to the one who enjoys its, but to the one who gave his life for it. Thank you to our forefathers who paved the way for our independence.

A Leader who sets Addicts Free

Another great leader got his call in 1958 to go and help those boys in New York City. Davida_David_Wilkerson Wilkerson was a 26 year-old Pentecostal preacher from Pennsylvania who answered the call to go to New York. After a series of encounters with God first, and then with addicts and gang members, the Teen Challenge ministry was started.  David had a clear vision for the addict “they could begin life all over again, with the fresh and innocent personalities of newborn children.” This time they would grow up in an environment surrounded by love. “A house where these new kids could come – a really nice house where they are welcomed and loved, the door would always be open; there would always be lots and lots of beds, clothes to wear and a great big kitchen for meals.” Today, there are over 1200 Teen Challenge homes like this in 102 countries of the world. It all started with one leader leaving his family in Pennsylvania to go and help those boys. In Teen Challenge, being set free is no small task. Our students walk in with years and years of lies, generational curses, hurts and other issues embedded deep into their hearts and minds. They enter as slaves – trapped in a dead-end life of sin. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. They enter Teen Challenge where Jesus steps in and break their chains of sin and shame and cover them with grace; He reaches out a hand to save and set them free. He transforms slaves into sons, who have an established position in the house (the Kingdom) and who can run around it with glee. Teen Challenge is where life-transformation happens – people encounter God and are born again into a new life. We are establishing sons and daughters to enjoy their freedom in Christ – serving the Lord with gladness. No more legalism and religion, they have experienced Love which motivates them to freely give to the One who paid the price for them.

A Greater Leader who sets the World Free

Over 2000 years ago another great leader, in an expression of love for people, gave a Jesus 10155746_678591885530960_857185614685534700_nmost precious gift – His Son who stood in our place to set us free. “This is how much God loved the world; He gave His Son, His one and only Son.” Why? “So that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life; those who trust in Him is acquitted.” (John 3:16-18, TM).  He gives us new desires and a new heart altogether that would want to follow Him. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.(John 8:34-38, TM). Jesus says “if you stick with this, living out what I tell you, then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you” (John 8:31-32, TM). This truth is the Word of God which expels darkness and help us to walk in the Light.  To walk in the Light means to be free from darkness. The ultimate sacrifice for your life was paid by one man who gave His life – Jesus Christ.

As a leader, what are you willing to sacrifice so that others are set free and experience New Beginnings?

“Hope lives here. Freedom is found here. Changed lives leave here.”

– Don Wilkerson (Teen Challenge)

 

 

Leading Through Forgiveness and Grace

Mercy Said “No, I’m Not Gonna Let You Go!”

As I was thumbing through the Cross and the Switchblade I came across David Wilkerson’s encounter with Nicky Cruz. As Nicky threatened to kill David, he responds Girl sad“You could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you” (C&S, p. 72). David was willing to die so that Nicky could hear how much Jesus loves him and how much he (David) loves him. It reminds me of the song by CeCe Winan “Mercy said No, I’m not gonna let you go, I’m not gonna let you slip away, you don’t have to be afraid, Mercy said no, sin will never ever take control life and death stood face to face, darkness tried to steal my heart away, thank you Jesus, mercy said no.” As servant leaders we are motivated by love because we have experienced God’s mercy and grace and we want others to experience it as well. In Lead Like Jesus, Ken Blanchard asks the questions “Why is forgiveness important as an aspect of leadership?” “Because forgiveness is the way for a heart grounded in unconditional love of God to respond to the imperfections of others.” In Teen Challenge we have many opportunities to respond to the imperfections of others – by forgiving quickly, bringing correction in love and helping our students receive and move forward. “As leaders, the journey of forgiveness must start with us; when we don’t forgive we judge with a view to condemn but when we forgive, we bring correction and restoration” (Blanchard).

“I’ll never forget the day Elaine put her finger on the quality of the love that redeems. “I’ve finally got it figured out, Reverend Wilkerson, ” said the girl. “Christ’s love is a love with no strings attached.” Christ’s love is a love that asks nothing in return. It is a love that wants only the best for these boys and girls. And this is the quality that redeems.” (C&S, p. 165).

The Life of Christ Activates Grace in Us

At our ELP Rep’s retreat Greg Hammond spoke a message on the life of Christ activating grace in us. He said “The death of Christ secured grace for us but the life of Christ activates grace in us.” When Jesus is working in the students lives, they look less and less like the world and more and more like Christ. When our students understand their position in Christ all they want to do is His will and be like their Father – Abba Father. “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba Father.” (Rom 8:15). “Grace extends unrestrained fellowship to others in celebration of their inherent dignity as being made in God’s image and as the objects of His affection.”  – Ken Blanchard. Grace activated in our students helps them come alive to the love of Christ and the abundant life only He can give. “If we are going to enrich culture we need to connect our students to the reality of the gospel so they believe it and grace comes alive in them; they start to identify with their Father – they are no longer “self-conscious” but “son-conscious” (Hammond). As leaders, grace is activated in our relationship with the students when we are present for Girls Talkingthem, when we accept that we are limited and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to come in and bring life and light in their situation.

In what ways does the Holy Spirit want to extend forgiveness and grace in your relationships with those you lead?

“If students learn to see this grace activated in them wherever they go, the knowledge of the Lord will fill that part of the world because of His son or daughter; their feet will be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, they’ll preach glad tidings of great joy and help fulfill their Father’s legacy and their Father’s dream – that the glory of Jesus fill all the earth.”~ Greg Hammond.

 

ELP Webinar 12/20

We are so excited to announce that our next ELP Revolutionized Leadership webinar is scheduled for December 20th at 10am. We do this monthly training for Teen Challenge staff and students all over the country. This is a great place that you can get valuable information on how to lead better and also get to interact with other leaders around the USA. We love to welcome Teen Challenge staff, interns, students and also anyone interested in joining us for leadership training!

Revolutionized Leadership Emerging Leaders Program

This month we will be talking about: “Change: An Uphill Climb.”

 

 

Healthy Culture – A Life of the Spirit

Essential to having healthy sons and daughters is the notion that we should have healthy parents and a healthy environment to grow in. Today, fewer children can say they grew up in a healthy environment with parents who are loving, caring and attentive to their needs. In the Cross & the Switchblade, David Wilkerson describes the culture and his envisioned future for the Teen Challenge Center (C & S, p. 129):

     “The Teen Challenge Center would be located in the heart of the roughest part of the city. It would be headquarters for a dozen or more full-time workers who shared my hopes for the young people around us, who saw their wonderful potential, and their tragic waste.Kevin & Sandy with girls2 Each worker would be a specialist: one would work with boys from the gangs, another with boys who were addicted to drugs; another would work with parents, another with Little People. There, in the Teen Challenge Center, we would create an atmosphere that was so charged with this same renewing love I had watched on the streets, that to walk inside would be to know that something exciting was afoot. They would live in an atmosphere of discipline and affection. They would participate in our worship and in our study. They would watch Christians living together, working together; and they would be put to work themselves. It would be where they were prepared for the life of the Spirit.

To sum up the TC culture – it is an environment preparing our sons and daughters to live the life of the Spirit. When Wilkerson awoke from his first night at Rev. Ortez’ home, he said ” the next  morning I spent in prayer; what was going to happen now, I could not imagine, but I wanted to hold myself as flexible as possible, ready to step out in whatever direction the Holy Spirit should point” (C & S, p. 77). This is the life of the Spirit.

The Life of the Spirit is one spent in prayer –  talking to God, listening to Him and meditating on His Word. Prayer is the work. “I had long ago discovered that too much running around, without a base of quiet meditation, produces little value” (C&S, p. 143).

How can you slow the pace at your center to allow everyone time for prayer, reading the Word and meditation?

The Life of the Spirit is one that is flexible – listening to the Holy Spirit and being open to…well just about anything. “We were driving slowly along when suddenly I had the most incredible feeling that I should get out of the car. “I’ll be back in a while, Miles; I don’t even know what it is I’m looking for.” “Hey Davie. Preacher!” A group of six teen age boys were leaning against the side of a building.” If you want to meet the gangs, why don’t you start right here?” (C&S, p. 28-30).

You don’t need to know what you are looking for necessarily, only – “where is God leading me right now?”

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The Life of the Spirit is one of action – demonstrating the power of our faith by acting out our belief. We believe God for the miraculous. “I decided to take a first step toward making my dream come true” (p. 64). “I would speak to these boys, trusting the Holy Spirit to reach them where I could not” ( C &S, p.65).

Ask yourself “how can I partner with God and be a vessel for the miraculous?” What are some indicators that you are producing sons and daughters prepared for the life of the Spirit?

“A strong working culture helps to create satisfied people who feel cared for, trusted and respected, which increases engagement and ultimately leads to better productivity.”

~ Ken Blanchard (Ken Blanchard Companies)

Responsibility – Love the Lost

Let’s recap, so far our acronym “Responsibility

Recruit
hunter.praying Equip and Train
Spirit-filled
Praying
Optimistic
Next-Generation Leaders
who lead Self well
Influence others
Buy into our vision
Invest time and resources
Love the Lost

God ignited a fire in our hearts last week, let’s keep that fire burning. How about starting your own ELP “Take the City” project or a “TC-HOP” (IHOP) with Harp and Bowl Worship and prayer at your Center?

When David Wilkerson ministered to the gangs on the streets of New York in 1958, he met Nicky Cruz, assistant to the president of the Mau Mau gang, who told him after a time of preaching and ministry “Go to Hell, Preacher.” But David’s response was “you don’t think much of me Nicky, but I feel different about you; I love you Nicky.” Nicky said ” you come near me Preacher and I’ll kill you.” David was moved with great compassion, gentleness and patience  and these words rolled off his tongue “you could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you” (C&S, p. 72). This is the depth of love our students need. Our students come to us because nobody loves them. Most of them did not experience unconditional love from their mother or father while they were growing up therefore they searched for love in all the wrong places. It is the unconditional love that we received through Jesus Christ that will make the difference in our students’ lives. Prior to their encounter with God, all they knew was conditional love but we can show them the unconditional love of God when they walk through our doors.

Last Saturday while we did our Take the City outreach, I realized how much the enemy is using drugs and lies to blind the eyes of people from receiving God’s love. When we invited one lady to leave her lifestyle and come with us to our Women’s Center, she said “I can’t do that to my “family” (other addicts). I confronted her with the question; “on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how much do you love your friends? 10. When asked the same question about God she responded “I can’t say that, I don’t even want to say that.” Although she professed to know God and pray to Him every day, she realized she loved her friends more than she loved God.

As staff we have to model unconditional love for our students. As Christ has loved us, so also we must love one another (John 13:34, NIV). David Wilkerson came to the realization years ago that “they’ve (drug addicts) got to start over again, and they’ve got to be surrounded by love” (C&S, p. 60). Pray that God gives you a burden for the 250 million drug addicts all over the world and ask Him how we can bring hope within reach of every addict.

Blessings, Andree
ELP Training coach