COMMUNICATION – The Foundation of Strong Relationships

If you’ve worked at Teen Challenge long enough, we’ve all been there. You have a church rally, banquet, work crew, or something else of importance about to happen. Where is the van we are taking? It’s out on the town somewhere and no one signed it out. Where is the crew leader or student for this job? They were assigned somewhere else for the day and no one was notified. Who is supposed to be on duty right now? Where are they? No matter what the case, it’s a flat out communication breakdown.

Fires happen and chaos can come at any time, and adapting to the mayhem of each day can be a feat of its own, but many of these things can be prevented or improved. What’s the magic ingredient? You got it—communication.  But even much deeper than a practical, day-to-day communication, we must be in tune to the spiritual and mental well-being of those around us, especially those we lead.

Jon Gordon writes, “Communication is the foundation for every great relationship. Communication builds trust. Trust creates commitment. Commitment fosters teamwork, and teamwork drives results. Without great communication you don’t have the trust to build a strong relationship, and without relationships you can’t have a strong team.”

So there we have it, to have a strong team and great results, we must have relationships based upon trust and commitment, good communication being the means on how we achieve this.  I want to challenge all of us: Do you communicate well with your team or to your students? Do you truly know what the “pulse” is on your campus at any given time? Are we seeing more lives being transformed due to a strong team because of communication? I believe as a Region we will see more people impacted for Christ through our programs as our staff, interns and other leaders continue to raise the bar on communication and relationships.

 

Article written by: Dan Williams

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, author Jon Gordon

ELP Highlight – July 2017

Name: Andrew Cartwright

Age: 25 years old

Hometown: South St. Paul, MN

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Men’s Center

Testimony: I found my significance in how others viewed me from early childhood.  I started using at 13 and only got worse. My good times of drinking with friends on the weekend ended up with me alone in my garage with a handle of liquor and an eight-ball of cocaine. This led me to the point of being lonely, broken, homeless, and defeated.  Since coming to Teen Challenge, I have found hope, purpose, and a restored relationship with family and God.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – God has called me to be a living Bible, to always be growing and to help others build a relationship with Jesus. I will teach others to live out their values with His truth by devoting themselves to God and the application of His word.
How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has completely changed my view of leadership. I see where I need to grow and how and when to rely on God.  I have also learned that everyone has personal values God has given them and we must learn to follow these values the right way so that others come to Jesus.

Training Facilitator Highlight – July 2017

Name: Michael Spivey

Age: 38 years old

Hometown: Macclenny, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Men’s Center, graduated 2013

Brief Testimony: I was on drugs for 18 years, and completely selfish for the 15 years before. I came to Jacksonville Men’s Center, 5 years ago and have seen God change almost everything about my life. God is using me to end generations of addiction, dysfunction and abuse in my own family and allowing me to see lives transformed all the time in Teen Challenge.

What do you enjoy most about your role?  I get the privilege of being a genuine example, in progress, of what God can do in a life. I get to be part of the solution and undo the damage to creation that I once took pride in causing.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – Being teachable is super important and there has to be people to lead us in the right way. We all learn best by seeing the truth walked out in front of our eyes.

CONSISTENCY

When I think of consistency, the words discipline and choice come to mind. For some this may not be the most natural correlation, but in leadership it is essential. It’s easy to be consistent when you are good at something, enjoy the task at hand, or when things are going smoothly. However, it can be a different story when you are being challenged to grow or when change is happening around you. Author Jon Gordon, in his book titled, You Win in the Locker Room First talks about the fact that being consistent isn’t easy, it takes effort.

Consistency ultimately comes down to making a choice…we have to decide daily to be disciplined and determine what we want our influence to look like. Some of the greatest leaders in history are memorable simply because of the fact that they have a deep desire to consistently be excellent in all areas. This attitude comes from a life-long journey of discipline. We can’t expect this trait to be developed overnight. The more consistent we are in our personal lives and in leadership, the more of an impact we have in building relationships. We have to choose to “walk into the locker room” and cultivate relationships based on unwavering attitudes, efforts, and actions. Consistency ultimately leads to trust. This act of discipline ultimately allows us to make more of an impact for the Kingdom.

Author John C. Maxwell, in his book titled The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth writes, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” It starts with the small things. Challenge yourself to reflect inwardly on the areas your life that could use more discipline.  Be honest and ask yourself, “In what areas of my life do I see inconsistencies?” This isn’t a challenge towards perfectionism, or to compare yourself with the greatest leaders or all time. It’s simply a challenge to look at the challenge in front of you and choose attack it with an attitude that moves towards excellence.

Article written by: Holly Williams

ELP Highlight – June 2017

Name: Christie Ganpat

Age: 29

Hometown: Queens, NY

Teen Challenge Center: Graduated from Davie Teen Challenge, 2016

Brief Testimony: My parents were divorced when I was 2 years old. I lived with my dad for the early part of my childhood, my dad was an alcoholic. I moved in with my mom when I was 12 and started drinking and experimenting with drugs at age 13. At 28 I found myself in a very abusive relationship, very hopeless and broken. I came to Teen Challenge and found love in the right place and so much has been restored in my life. I know that God is able and He is the lover of my soul.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? God has called me to be a light in a dark world. I know that He has called me to be a leader within Teen Challenge, to continue giving the same hope that was given to me to others. I know He is raising me up to spread His love to others.

How has the Emerging Leaders Program impacted you? ELP has given me the ability to admit my faults and recognize that I’m not perfect. It has taught me to remain teachable and allow God to show me how to lead like Jesus did. I’m so happy I decided to remain on this journey and I’m so ready to go to the next level with my God!

Training Facilitator Highlight – June 2017

Name: Barbara Cooper

Age: 61

Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

Teen Challenge Center: Davie Women’s Center

Brief Testimony: I was working in the bar business and realized at 26 I was heading for trouble. I was blacking out every time I drank. Someone told me I would like this church, so I went and I did and was born again.  A friend of mine started working at TC and I went to visit her and the Director offered me a job, so I went through the program as a staff, so to say.  God dealt with me about the same things He was dealing with the students about.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love seeing the captives get set free and watching God do it anyway He wants-can’t put God in a box that’s for sure!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  When I started, it was on the job training by the Holy Spirit-I never cried so much in my life! God was merciful and used me in spite of me still being crippled in many ways. I feel that Teen Challenge training is putting out a much better quality of staff and they are healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and better prepared spiritually for the battle.  Those that stick with it turn out to be “quality”.

CONTAGIOUS ATTITUDE

We could all probably muster up images of any number of movies where people are in bio-hazard suits to protect them from something contagious. We also probably can all think of someone we’ve been around where we wished we had better protection from the negative energy that had an effect on us. Or maybe it’s been ourselves that displayed a poor attitude to others. Either way, a leader’s attitude has a substantial impact on everyone around them.

Peter Stark stated, “One of the greatest gifts a leader can bring to a team is self-awareness and an understanding of their attitude and the impact it plays on relationships, the performance of their team, and everyone around them.” In the Southeast Region, we believe that having a Contagious Attitude means being people of optimism and belief—positive through every situation and full of confidence that we will succeed. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

As we look at our mission to Put Hope Within Reach, the only way we will accomplish this is by attacking every obstacle with optimism and belief. If you really think about it, it’s impossible to have belief and not optimism, or to have optimism and not belief. They go hand in hand. What would it look like on our campuses if every obstacle were approached with the attitude of, “We can do this!” instead of “There’s no way this is possible!” What would it look like on our campuses if complaining was obsolete? What would it look like if camaraderie and teamwork created a momentum that nothing could stop? Our president Dr. Nance has stated, “Momentum allows you to make a few mistakes, because your momentum allows you to only observe the mistake for a short time and then it’s behind you. Without momentum you get to see your mistake for a long time and it takes too much of your time and attention. Momentum is the greatest friend a leader has.”

I believe that we can have such a positive culture in Teen Challenge, that it would be impossible for anyone to come in contact with us and not know they experienced something different. Let’s let our positive attitudes impact everyone around us!

Article written by: Dan Williams

Training Facilitator Highlight – May 2017

Name: John Arnold

Age: 26

Hometown: Manitou, KY

Teen Challenge Center: Graduated from Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge in 2015. 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 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 Teen Challenge, 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 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 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I enjoy being able to firsthand 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.

ELP Highlight – May 2017

Name: Brian Armstrong

Age: 40

Hometown: Central City, Kentucky

Center: Dixon, Kentucky Teen Challenge

Testimony: I was raised in a well-to-do God fearing family who instilled great morals and values. I gave my life to the Lord when I was 13 years old and was made to go to church until I was 16 years old. I began to live a life of rebellion around the age of 18 which included smoking pot and drinking. Soon after I became addicted to opiates, which caused my life to spiral out of control. I continued to battle addiction for the next 20 years, making countless attempts at sobriety in countless treatment centers. All failed until God brought me to Teen Challenge.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? After my encounter with God I was given a whole new outlook on life and a new vision for my future. Being delivered from my addiction, through the power of Jesus Christ has made an eternal impact on my life. I now know it is my duty to lead others to have the same experience and receive the same saving grace.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? My main goal in ELP is to acquire the wisdom and skills needed to develop the ability to lead like Jesus. I would like to learn how to teach and commune with other disciples of Christ ultimately leading others to our common goal; beings freed from the chains of addiction and other life controlling problems through the power of Jesus Christ.

CULTURE – Fight For It!

We have been experiencing change as an organization. As a leadership team we have been looking down the road and planning for the future, but before any of that could happen we knew that we had to adjust our culture as a region. It is time to align!

We have identified that we will have these values as an organization:

-Courageous Leadership

-Contagious Attitude

-Continuous Improvement

In the book, You Win in the Locker Room First, author Mike Smith makes it clear that culture is important and worth fighting for. He writes about coming into the Falcons Organization, ready to focus in on the culture from top to bottom. He spent time with every group of employee’s from the players, owner and senior staff all the way to the food service people and custodians. He said, “I’ve always believed that culture is defined and created from the top down, but it comes to life from the bottom up.”

I have always been a big believer that we all own the responsibility for the culture around us. I have charged many students and staff through the years to be “culture changers” or “to bring a good culture with them” wherever they go. Basically, we all own the responsibility of our culture at every level of leadership.

In a recent meeting, Brice Maddock, explained that our culture is defined by what we create, but also what we allow. I believe this is a charge to fight for our organizational culture. He went on to say, “We must commit ourselves to build a great culture – we must build it, live it, value it, reinforce it, and fight for it.

We get to be a part of an amazing move of God that is literally saving lives and restoring them. What we do on a daily basis has an eternal value. Own the culture around you, do your part to live out the 3 C’s and we will see God do amazing things through us all!

Article Written by: Dustin Nance

Source – You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith – Chapter 1