Jesus, the greatest communicator who ever lived, amazed listeners with His clarity. His words—timely and truthful—came from a heart of compassion modeled in His life.
In Matthew 7:28, 29 we read, “When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one who had the authority and not as their teachers of the law.” Jesus taught with authority and confidence the people had not heard before. Repeatedly, we read in the New Testament, Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, or He went down by the lake to pray.
Clarity keeps you on point, maintains focus, and enables you to complete the task. There is much being said today about this subject of clarity—for both individuals and corporations.
I recently read a great devotional from Wisdom Hunters Devotional, which said this about clarity:
- Clarity Creates Confidence - Everyone is sure of their role and what to do next.
- Clarity Expands Influence - Whoever brings clarity in the organization is perceived as the leader. Though you may not be the boss, your influence can be persuasive and pervasive.
- Clarity Fosters Accountability - Knowing who is doing what, and when, is a win for the team. Accountability flushes out the frustration of making decisions without follow through.
These three principles should help us understand the value of clarity. Without clarity, people struggle to survive. It is simply frustrating and demotivating not to have clarity.
Last year we worked hard with the Bridgespan Group, a non-profit consulting firm out of Boston to achieve clarity for Global Teen Challenge. One of the key points of our seven-month effort was to discover clarity in each area of our operation. We worked hard to develop a clear execution strategy as to how we would put hope within reach of every addict.
As a result of this effort, Global Teen Challenge has come to focus on three main initiatives for growing and partnering with the Teen Challenge family of affiliates.
Our first focus is on leadership and core program development. We have always been committed to investing in leadership development. Based on feedback from the GTC family, leadership development continues to be the primary way in which we can serve you. Our work with leaders around the world offers GTC a unique opportunity to invest in, and identify future leaders as well as disseminate valuable innovations.
Our second focus is to assist with sustainability solutions. When we did the study with Bridgespan, we found of the 110 Teen Challenge centers surveyed, only 30% of our centers were thriving financially, 52% of the centers were surviving, and 18% were on the verge of closing down.
We are committed to investigating culturally relevant ideas for funding non-profits in each of the GTC regions. We have invested approximately one million dollars in Invest Forward projects around the world and have come to understand some key principles. Most of these projects only contribute support for about 15-25% of the operational budget. This helps but does not allow a center to thrive. We must consider other options and solutions for sustainability.
Our Global team and Regional Directors are considering other options as we look into the future and the needs for ongoing funding continue to challenge our leaders. This is a real issue and we must be innovative.
We have been developing a council of businessmen and women to help us address this issue. They consider businesses with high profit and low operational cost. We believe with God’s help we will find some solutions as we press forward.
The final and most transformational focus we have at Global Teen Challenge is our Discover Recovery Initiative. God has provided some amazing donors and expertise to enable us to press forward in developing technology would allow us to gain significant insight on our individual students as well as collect the data needed to understand how well we are doing globally.
We want to answer lean data questions such as:
- How many students are in the programs of our TC family today?
- How many staff do we have?
- How many are needed?
- What are the retention rates of our programs?
- What’s the average cost of a bed in TC programs around the world or in a specific region of the world?
- What are the primary drugs that are being used by those who enter Teen Challenge?
In addition, the Discover Recovery Initiative will enable us to gather insight like never before on our student population. We will gain insight into their individual needs and have the information needed to better serve them with love and care. We believe this knowledge and insight will enable us to do a better job in effectively ministering to the individual student, as well as see a better success rate due to this level of care. We absolutely want to know the success rates of our graduates for one year, two years, and three years after completion.
These three initiatives bring clarity to defining our work, our funding priorities and how we invest our time. This will be the first time in our 60-year history we will have clear, global empirical data on Teen Challenge. We believe these tools will enable you to do a better job, win the confidence of your donors, as well as attract new donors to meet the requirements of government regulations.
I pray that as a leader, you understand this strategy will take time and will need God’s favor to accomplish. We have one of the most gifted staff we have ever recruited and now we need God to assist us with all of the funding needed to press forward.
Know that we are working for you and with God’s help we will continue to press forward to deliver all we have dreamed of providing for the TC family.
Jerry Nance PhD
Global Teen Challenge