Training Facilitator Highlight – November 2017

Name: Lauren Schiller

Hometown: Palatka, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Women’s Center; Graduate of Davie Women’s Home, 2014

Brief Testimony: Almost 5 years ago, I was a nobody going nowhere. I was suffering from a full-blown opiate addiction that was putting me in and out of jail, destroying all of my relationships, and quickly taking my will to live. As I went through the Teen Challenge program, I learned how to come before the Lord broken, empty, and ready to surrender…and to my surprise, that’s all He ever wanted from me. I completed the program in June of 2014 and graduated the following November. Soon after, I enrolled in Teen Challenge’s Emerging Leaders College where I learned how to work in full-time ministry and discovered a whole new depth of God. I now serve at Pensacola Women’s Center as the Program Assistant and ELP Training Facilitator. Had you asked me 5 years ago where I saw myself in the future, this would not have been an option. But God, in His perfect love, has opened my heart to the life He has intended for me to possess…And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What do you enjoy most about your role? – Daily having the opportunity to watch women who were once broken and hopeless develop a confidence in the gift of leadership God has placed within them. Being able to teach them, from personal experience, how to bring that gift into full fruition. The fulfillment they receive is always rewarding to witness.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – We never “arrive” anywhere, so it is important to always remain intentional in challenging ourselves to grow. Working in the ministry of Teen Challenge, it is important to make sure we have that person in our lives who is continuously challenging us to reach our full potential in Christ. So in turn, we can lead by example for those who are coming up behind us to fulfill the position we currently hold.

Training Facilitator Highlight – October 2017

Name: Matthew “Bryan” Sampson

Age: 35

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Teen Challenge Center: Orlando Men’s Center & Training Coordinator SE Region; Graduated September, 2014
Brief Testimony: After 18 years of addiction I finally lost everything and had reached a point of desperation. Going to Teen Challenge I had little hope, but God…God used Teen Challenge to build me up into the man of God I was always meant to be. I now work as the Training Coordinator for the SE Region and am working towards my second Master’s degree in Mental Health. My desire is to raise up leaders within the region to be healing agents and leaders of Christ.
What do you enjoy most about your role? – The most enjoyable aspect of my job is to see people encounter the love of Christ. Once I begin to see this change I love engaging, encouraging, and helping them grow and develop into their new identity and watch Christ manifest in their lives.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  – In order to make the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God, we must be investing in the next generation to lead people in the will of God. Leadership and training are essential in becoming more like Christ and walking out a life that glorifies Him.

Participant Highlight – October 2017

Name:  Tyler Graeff

Age: 26

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Teen Challenge Center: Orlando Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: When I was living in the world I was consumed with a lifestyle of sin. I was lost and broken and a door opened for me to come to Teen Challenge. While enrolled in TC, I rededicated my life to Christ. God began speaking to me, as He broke off the chains of depression and heroin addiction. I now live a life with more freedom, peace, and joy than I could ever have imagined.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – God has called me specifically to Teen Challenge to serve Him in full-time ministry. My vision is to serve in this ministry and help broken men overcome their addictions and pain through the power of Christ in me.

 How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP is giving me the leadership skills that I need to help me become the leader God has called me to be. I’ve also grown spiritually, as I am learning more and more about God’s perspective on leadership. ELP is helping me answer the call that God has placed on my life.

Training Facilitator Highlight – September 2017

Name:  Trista Kincaid

Age: 42

Hometown: Dublin, GA

Teen Challenge Center: Dublin Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: I was saved at a young age and was fortunate to grow up in a (not perfect, but) Christian home. After college and working for many years in children’s ministry, I was honored to serve as a Missionary in Brussels, Belgium. Upon returning to the USA I met my husband, David Kincaid, who was serving at Teen Challenge in Fort Myers, FL.  I say that I “married into the ministry of Teen Challenge”. We are now blessed to serve as the directors at the Dublin GA Men’s Center.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I serve in several capacities at our men’s center (finance, events & ELP training facilitator). I love getting to work with our Emerging Leaders because this group represents the future of our ministry. There is an energy and excitement amongst these new leaders which makes me want to be a better leader!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? Years ago, while working in Illinois, I had a pastor and his wife invest in my life a great deal. I know the influence they had in my life that shaped me into who I am today. I want to be that for others!

ELP Participant Highlight – September 2017

Name: Thomas Burton

Age: 40

Hometown: Lincolnton, Georgia

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Dublin Men’s Center, April 2017

Brief Testimony: 18 years of drug abuse & pornography.  As a result, my marriage was destroyed.  God has now restored my marriage and my life.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? God has given me a vision and calling for evangelism and executive leadership in Teen Challenge.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has provided instructions and study material to help me to learn about God’s calling on my life.

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Name: Erin Burton

Age: 38

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Columbus Women’s Center, March 2017. Now serving at Dublin Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: I fell in love with Jesus at 8 years old, but was instantly consumed by death gripping fear due to hurt, abandonment, and loss. This lead to my first drug overdose at 15 years old. I was consumed by greed, control and lust. I walked out of God’s will and adventured right into the hands of the enemy…only to find Jesus Christ right in the middle of my despair and destruction. He faithfully pulled me out of a deep, extremely dark pit of depression, and placed me at Teen Challenge in Columbus, GA., While at Teen Challenge I received the true revelation of salvation. God’s grace changed everything. My body was healed, my heart was not afraid to love or be loved, my mind was completely renewed, damaged relationships were restored and I was made Kingdom bound. I’m now serving, wholeheartedly, with my husband as an Emerging Leader at Dublin Men’s Center in Dublin, Georgia.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – My husband and I answered God’s call while we were both in the program at Teen Challenge. After being made whole in Christ, the vision of leading multitudes to Christ is now being breathed into existence.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – The Emerging Leaders Program continuously improves and enhances my intimate relationship with the Lord. Through the Lord’s strength, He is molding, forming, and shaping me. The Lord is helping me to be a walking, breathing display of Christ.

Thomas and his wife Erin, now serve together as Emerging Leaders at the Dublin Men’s Center. They have also been reunited with their beautiful 3 year old daughter, Carly.

COMMITMENT

Recently, I was at a middle school seminar, where a motivational speaker was challenging students to become engaged in a small group initiative. He gave an illustration of a married couple who were relaxing poolside. It was a hot day and they were needing some relief from the sun. Naturally, they both decided to go for a swim. The husband, stood up and without hesitation cannon-balled right into the deep end. The wife, on the other hand, walked over to the shallow end of the pool, used the handrail and slowly walked her way into the pool using each step. After several minutes of contemplating and with about half of her body emerged in water, she turned around walked out of the pool and told her husband the water was too cold. This story seems like an average event, but it was used to show the dynamics of commitment. The husband’s reaction was one of being enthusiastically all in. The wife was hesitant and wanted to tip-toe into the situation, while over analyzing every step.

This scenario can be so common in our own lives. We see an opportunity or a challenge in front of us and we can make the choice. We can either dive into the deep end without doubt, insecurities and fear, or we can tip-toe our way around opportunity. One requires faith and the other relies on self.

In this context, we could highlight two kinds of commitment – personal commitment and commitment as a leader. Personally, this begins with your relationship to the Lord and the confidence of knowing what He has called you to. When these two things are solidified in your life, you are able to draw strength, especially when stepping into the unknown. This strength then has the ability to overflow and influence those you are leading. Leaders who make a choice to dive into their relationship with the Lord are able to lead others out of a strong sense of commitment. We live in a world where so many people make decisions based on their own interests. In doing so, we fail to realize the greater impact that our own “yes”, may have on others, not to mention the eternal impact! Your commitment hinges on souls.

In closing, let me leave you with this quote, “In order to ‘hold fast’ to something, one must allow oneself to be held to something. That commitment may be one of the hardest things to practice in a world of so much choice.” Today we have a choice. Will you choose to cannonball or tip-toe?
Article written by: Holly Williams

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

Training Facilitator Highlight – August 2017

Name: Rachel Massieu

Age: 21

Hometown: Dothan, AL

Teen Challenge Center: Fort Myers Women’s Center; Graduate of Columbus Girls Home, 2012

Brief Testimony: When I first came to Teen Challenge I was bound to my eating disorder and insecurities. During my time in Teen Challenge I radically fell in love with Jesus, who picked me up from the muck and mire and gave me the beautiful life that I live today.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love being able to see men and women come to the knowledge of their gifts, callings and passions through ELP and learn how to apply them to their lives.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? The leadership training that Teen Challenge men and women receive in ELP, empowers them to walk in their gifts. They are then able to be the vessels that God has ordained them to be.

CONNECTION

Connecting with others has always been difficult for me. Even as a kid, I only had a handful of close friends. I have never been someone that had to have tons of people around me to call friends. I loved people and wanted to be in relationship with them, but I just didn’t “need” very many deep connections. Even in College I was content with my 5 or 6 close friends and made no effort with anyone passed that.

I remember so clearly a defining moment in my life when God taught me the importance of connecting with others. It was in the summer of 2007, my wife and I had just stepped into full time ministry with Teen Challenge. We had just moved, started going to a new church and joined a cell group with 3 other couples. The guys were all out going and ready to be vulnerable, I was resistant at first but soon they drew me out of my shell.

Now to the defining moment…

Janel and I were going through some difficult circumstances and I had become very angry with God, our situation, and began to get bitter at life in general. I went to that cell group reluctantly one evening not wanting to open up or be vulnerable, I was fine…just fine. The guys saw through that front and pushed me to open up. It ended with them pushing Janel out of the way to surround me while I ugly cried…tears, snot and all. They hugged me, cried with me, prayed for me and encouraged me. God broke through some walls in my life that had been there for as long as I could remember.

The Bible is full of examples on the importance of connecting with others. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said, Love God & Love People, in Matthew 18:20 He said He is with us when two or three gather in His name, in John 15:12-15 we see Christ telling us to love each other enough to be willing to lay down our lives for each other, in Hebrews 10:24-25 the writer encourages us to meet together and spur each other towards love, in Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul tells us to live in unity and the list goes on and on.

We as Christians are a part of the body of Christ and therefore we must live in connection with one another, but it is that much more true for Christians who work together on a daily basis. In Teen Challenge SE Region, over the past 2 years, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “it’s all about the we not the me”. This is absolutely counter culture to the world we live in. Jon Gordon says it like this, “The message they (we) receive from the world is that it’s all about the individual, not the team. It’s about me, not we.”

We know the importance of connecting with one another, but often times we are not intentional in our efforts to connect with each other. We assume it will happen over time or we intend to do it, but never get around to it. Meaningful connections don’t happen by accident. You must be intentional as you are trying to build connectivity as a team and in your walk with Christ.

Ask yourself some key questions today:

  • Are you intentionally building connection with those around you?
  • How can you improve those connections?
  • What are some distractions you can put boundaries on?

 

Article written by: Dustin Nance, Divisional Leader of Training

Source: You Win in the Locker Room, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

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.