A New Year--Our New Opportunity
As we come into a new year, we are often drawn to reflection and thoughts of the previous year and the challenges facing us in the new year. We typically become introspective and focus on changing activities, disciplines, or behaviors that we believe will improve our quality of life. It is so easy to get introspective and focus on the things we want to change about ourselves and our situation. We often consider activities, disciplines or changes in behavior that we believe will improve our quality of life. Many make fresh commitments of exercise, eating right, less television and more time spent reading the Word and in prayer. I’m not being critical of bold goals and pledges of personal change, since I have also made such promises.
I believe it is okay to do some introspection, some soul searching, and to set personal goals for our lives. But in saying this, may I challenge you to do this exercise of soul searching, goal setting, and decision-making on your knees. Our prayerful consideration of Jesus and His love for us is where we must begin.
Jesus loves you just as you are, and you can never do anything to make Him love you more. You are redeemed, set free, forgiven and cleansed. You are His bride, and He is your one true friend who will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus loves you with an unconditional and unending love. So, given that fact, pray and seek His guidance on your priorities. Seek His presence and voice in your life. Listen to His voice and press on.
You will never be loved any more than you are today!
It is so easy to get distracted by the volume and number of voices that are screaming for our attention. These voices bring us stress and distract us from those things that truly matter to us. These voices draw us away from the peace and rest the Lord desires for us to have in Him.
Our family, our relationship with Jesus and our time in quiet surrender is premier to our sense of well-being and joy. Are you still feeling stress and pressure? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of this work? Are there staff, board members or others challenging your leadership? Be of good cheer! That is the perfect place to stop and listen to the voice of God. It is the perfect time to say,
“No more! I refuse to allow others to take my joy and sense of His presence in my life.”
You are not a failure. You are like any other leader who must face these distracting voices. This year can be different for you and will be different if you will learn to listen to His voice in the quiet place. Can I repeat what I said earlier? Jesus loves you, and you can do nothing to make Him love you more than He already does. Accept His love right now. Let Him embrace you and feel the hurt you have held inside. Let Him take it so you can experience the joy of your salvation once again.
A new year gives us a fresh opportunity to refocus our own personal lives, but it also gives us an opportunity to refocus our ministry vision. Global Teen Challenge continues to believe God is challenging us to Put Hope Within Reach of Every Addict. This dream drives us.
In August 2017, several donors sponsored the Bridgespan Group (one of the best not-for-profit consulting firms in America) to work with Global Teen Challenge on a strategic plan for the next four years. They have been wonderful to work with to gain insight and revelation on how we might improve and expand our services to the 1,400 centers globally. We are so thankful to the donors who made this study possible.
One of the outcomes from this study was clarity in several areas where GTC will choose to focus over the next few years. These areas are:
- Clarity of who our target beneficiaries are.
- Clarity in our intended impact.
- Clarity in our theory of change.
- Clarity in core program model.
- Clarity in our core program components.
- Clarity in our program stages.
I believe clarity is one of God’s greatest gifts!
In the coming months, I will discuss each of these topics with you as we endeavor to improve our efforts to serve you and your team.
The history of Teen Challenge bears out that our core focus has been on the hardest to serve addicts—the Most Hopeless.
In discussion with many Teen Challenge directors, we defined those “hardest to reach” as addicts who have
- The highest severity of addiction.
- The lowest expectation of recovery.
- The least access to care.
- The highest hurdles to success.
Teen Challenge works with those hardest to reach. Many, if not most, of those who come to TC have no money. Their families have stopped assisting in any way. They are homeless and without hope. We are reaching the hardest to reach, and we are seeing amazing results. We have anecdotal evidence all over the world, which validates that our program works. The thousands of testimonies of lives transformed daily at Teen Challenge is a testimony to our effectiveness. Many of our TC leaders are graduates of the program and are now serving in leadership roles which is a further testimony to our success.
Our target remains those that many other addiction treatment providers overlook, ignore, or have given up on. Our commitment is to reach the Most Hopeless.
However, as one of the largest and most effective programs worldwide, we lack statistical proof. We have not done the rigorous kind of research studies to prove our success rates. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time we get our numbers validated. I think it’s time to tell in an irrefutable way, what God is doing around the world through Teen Challenge. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
We will be asking you to partner with us by responding to some questionnaires, as well as working together to create a reporting system that enables us to gather necessary data to validate yours and other TC programs worldwide. We will share the data with you, which will help you with your board, donors and government officials. To have clear, validated facts on the effectiveness and vastness of this organization is amazing. We are an affiliation of over 1,400 programs working together to put hope within reach of every addict. We can do so much more if we work together, get our core program solid, and develop sustainability solutions. Global is working on strategies for each of these areas.
Would you please begin to pray for GTC, and pray that God will enable us to secure the funding that will allow us to better serve you and the TC family globally? Our heart is to serve God and serve you, our TC family. You deserve the best, and we hope to do our part to provide you with training and tools that will empower you to see lives transformed.
God bless you. May God grant you His favor this year as you walk out your faith and walk in His will. Remember to protect your quiet time.
Jerry Nance PhD
Global Teen Challenge