Training Facilitator – May

Name: Tyler Graeff

Age: 27

Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Teen Challenge Center: Teen Challenge Southeast Region Orlando 2017

Testimony: I was once ensnared by the chains of addiction and mental health struggles. An encounter with Jesus Christ set me free. When I surrendered my life to Christ everything started to change. God has delivered me from addiction to narcotics, healed me of depression and the diagnosed PTSD from the trauma that I experienced as a child. I was once a broken man and I have found healing and hope in Christ, He has made me whole!

What do you enjoy most about your role: I enjoy seeing and working with those responding to the call of God upon their lives. This role has given me a newfound desire to build others up and to be challenged in my development as a leader.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable:  It is essential that we remain teachable as leaders and that we are always looking for new ways to reach the lost of the world for Christ. God is equipping the saints for the establishment of His kingdom. Through leadership and training we are joining the ranks of God’s army!

Main Article – Challenge the Process

By: Bryan Sampson

There is a saying within Teen Challenge that the T.C. stands for “Things Change.” We all have experienced this within our ministries. The implementation of a new curriculum, the change in our schedule or job responsibilities, the unveiling of new computer software, or changes in leadership will always be happening. Change is a part of life and is essential for progress, but our desire for stability prevents us from embracing it the way we should. Thankfully, we serve a God who give us the Holy Spirit to help us handle the changes He is initiating against our status quo. The Holy Spirit should create in us the courage and boldness to become agents of change, bringing the kingdom of God to all aspects of our lives. We must become the leaders that challenge the status quo and progress our departments and ministry forward.

With so much change taking place in our lives and ministries it can be difficult discerning what changes we should embrace and which we should resolve. One question to ask ourselves is whether the change is helping you progress or regress. Are the changes going to make you become better, more relevant, more disciplined, better aligned as a team, or more strategic in how you operate? These are questions we should be constantly asking as we determine how to challenge the process of the way we minister.

Leadership is more than just recognizing what needs to change; it is having the courage to act on what you see. Courage establishes leadership. Stanley (2003) makes it clear that “Next Generation Leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside” (p.51). So, what is it that needs to change in your program? In your department? In your life? What is it that God is speaking to your heart today that you can no longer keep silent about?

Pray today for an increase in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit to develop within you the courage to step out and challenge the process of the status quo, so that God may be glorified in your work and life.

Works Cited

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

Training Facilitator Highlight – December 2017

Name: Kevin Campos

Age: 24

Hometown: Satellite Beach, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Tallahassee Men’s Center; Graduated of Orlando Men’s Center, 2015.

Testimony: My name is Kevin Campos, I am 24 years old and I poured all my time and energy into becoming the best football player I could be during high school. When I found out there was no chance for a football scholarship I turned to unhealthy relationships, stealing, getting high and drinking for my acceptance. After a few years of moving city to city and building a rap sheet, I could not take the endless cycle of purposelessness anymore. I cried out to God where He gave me no other option than to enter into Teen Challenge. This is where I learned how to have a genuine relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now I drive my own vehicle with a valid license, I go to school maintaining great grades, and I am a teacher for Tallahassee Teen Challenge. Glory to God!
What do you enjoy the most about your role? –  What I enjoy most about my role in Teen Challenge is teaching and being a part of these men’s discipleship process, watching their lives transformed by the power Jesus Christ alone.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – Leadership and training is valuable to me because I want to follow Jesus and He commissions us, as His children, to make disciples and to help each other become more obedient. This is only possible by receiving correction and correcting others by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

ELP Participant Highlight – December 2017

Name: Christopher Flannery    

Age: 22

Hometown: Dallas, GA

Teen Challenge Center: Tallahassee Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: From an early age of 15 I started using drugs. After a scare to my parents, I put it off until college when freedom was given to me. I went all in with the party scene until I got dismissed from college and began my adventure into a dark tunnel of drugs, women and masked failure. Then I was brought to the end of myself by my own destruction and at the end of the tunnel God’s light overcame me. I ended up going to Teen Challenge where God has moved in my life in significant ways. It has been a very beneficial roller coaster and I can’t wait for the next loop.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – The vision I have is to be an optimistic minister. I want to open a ministry for community and love for those needing God.

 How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has brought me to terms with who I wanted to be and the challenges of being that person. I am now becoming who God wants me to be.

Participant Highlight – November 2017

Name: Michelle Peltier

Age: 34

Hometown: Peoria, Arizona

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Women’s Home; Graduated Home of Hope in Arizona, 2013

 Testimony in Brief: I grew up with a Christian background, but never personally knew the Lord. When I reached my 20’s- I made bad decisions and fell into alcohol addiction. At 29 years old- I finally found myself at rock bottom where I desperately wanted to change my life. I cried out to the Lord and He helped me! I was told about Teen Challenge and knew that was God’s will for me. I entered the program with restored hope and a new relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!

What is the vison and calling God has given you? – I am now the Admissions Coordinator for Pensacola Teen Challenge Women’s Center. God has given me his blessing to help others receive life transformation and freedom from addiction, just as I had, through Jesus Christ at Teen Challenge.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP Level I and II have impacted me tremendously and continue to keep me focused on my walk with the Lord. One book in particular, Ordering Your Private World, taught me proper time management skills and I learned how to prioritize my personal life, so that it reflected that peace and order within my ministry. ELP is a blessing in that not only do I continue to grow with the Lord, but I have the privilege of sharing it with others.

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.