01 Oct The Call to Teen Challenge Ministry
I often get asked,” How did you come to start a Teen Challenge Ministry?” I had been serving in my local church in support of my pastor. I always felt that God was calling me to play a supportive role in a local church rather than a leading role. A few years earlier, after being told that I had to give up my chosen profession due to health problems. Not being able to work at my chosen profession, I decided to return to school and complete my education. With no goal in mind, I started on a counseling tract. My original intention for choosing counseling was to help my pastor meet some of the needs of the congregation and learn how to counsel members who were struggling with life controlling issues. Pastors often become overloaded because of the needs of the members and struggle balancing their schedules. I felt my role as a counselor would help significantly in assisting. It is where I felt the Lord was telling me I could be used.
About two years later, I was almost through completing the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree when a group from a Teen Challenge Center in Philadelphia visited on a Sunday morning. I was greatly impacted after hearing the testimony of one of the students in the program. This was the first time I had learned about Teen Challenge. He spoke about how the Lord delivered him from addiction to drugs. It was then I came to the realization that I was being trained for a little more than I expected. Six months later, I began volunteering at a Teen Challenge Crisis Center in South Carolina. While serving at that crisis center, God showed me a map of the United States. A pin was inserted on the map where each Teen Challenge Center was located. I noticed a void in the area where I lived and thought the need was at home and my purpose was to start a Teen Challenge. While serving my assignment in South Carolina, I remembered a story the media did on drug addictions and how my hometown was rapidly becoming the Meth capital of the east coast. It was at that moment I felt that God was telling me that I should start a center in my hometown.
The seed was definitely planted that spring in South Carolina but I procrastinated (or ran) for the next three years. Then one Sunday, a visiting evangelist had a Word of knowledge that there was someone in the congregation that God had called to ministry but he had not responded to that call. I instantly began to feel the tingle from the Holy Spirit. I felt he was talking about me. It was prophesied that day, I would not only start a ministry but my wife and youngest son would serve with me. That prophesy eventually came to pass. The rest they say was history. God gave me vision and a purpose that Sunday for the Shenandoah Valley. Now, 15 years later, Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge is covering the entire valley preaching a message of hope and freedom from the bondage of drugs. We now operate on three campuses helping over 100 young men and women annually break free from their addictions and point them to a new life in Christ. It is that hope and freedom which only comes from a relationship with Christ and walking with him.