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
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- Stop screaming from the bleachers and get in the game. David Wilkerson
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.
- 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.