I find this quote from Nehemiah 4:6 to be one of the most encouraging and important phrases in the scriptures. It describes the single-minded camaraderie of the people of Jerusalem in rebuilding the wall after Nehemiah had come from Susa, the capital of the Persian Empire.
Though we know that we are dependent on God to accomplish anything of significance, we also know that we must work together to fulfill the task that God has called us to.
Therefore, I want to thank everyone who had a role in helping us complete the first phase of the strategic planning process for Teen Challenge USA!
This process began with our Board of Directors meeting in January of 2011. It was then carried on to all four regional conferences where many of our directors and staff had the opportunity to give their valuable input. These were followed by an open meeting in Dallas in which about 30 directors came to help further refine what had come through the previous activities. This culminated with this year’s Board of Directors meeting in which we pinpointed the areas that are most critical for our future. We made these decisions based on all the input that had come in through the six previous meetings.
Before I share these areas with you, I want to sincerely thank a number of people for their tremendous help.
• The Teen Challenge USA Board of Directors. These fine men and women were willing to grapple with the tough issues presented as well as help develop a vision for the future. Though you may not know them all, let me assure you they truly have a heart to see this ministry go forward.
• The regional representatives who allowed a significant amount of time at the regional conferences to be used for this process. I know there were many other topics that could have been presented, so I thank them for allowing us this valuable time.
• Everyone who was able to attend a regional conference or the Dallas meeting. In the busyness of running a local center(s) it takes a concerted effort to take time for meetings like these. In addition, it takes foresight and an unselfish attitude to see what is needed for Teen Challenge as a whole. It was great to hear the voices of so many!
• Finally, I want to extend our gratitude to Rick Souza who guided us through the entire strategic planning process. Rick’s expertise, commitment, and patience kept us on track in finding God’s direction in this whole process. Thanks Rick; I do not believe we could have done it without you!
The tremendous efforts of each one have brought to light five areas that are going to be the focal point of the ministry coming out of our office for the next several years.
• Staff Training and Development. We know that an ongoing need in our centers is to have quality training and development for our workers, from interns to executive directors. We will explore what methods of delivery are most effective and most accessible. Dr. Rodney Hart will be the team leader for this area.
• Sustainability. Fund raising is always a concern and challenge for our ministries both at the local and national level. With the establishment of a Development Department at TCUSA we will, in time, be able to assist local ministries in their fund raising through training and sharing innovative ideas. I will be leading this team as we seek to provide solutions for this long standing need.
• Communication. This area seeks to clarify and facilitate the relationship between Teen Challenge International USA and the Assemblies of God. Tim Culbreth will head up a team to carefully examine this relationship and give a thorough explanation with recommendations for future action through a white paper which will be sent to all the centers once it is written.
• Marketing/Branding/Public Relations. This is a broad area that includes promoting Teen Challenge in a variety of ways. One aspect that is already going strong is our Public Service Announcements through our media department very capably headed up by Lynette Scherber. This team will go even beyond that and look at what it will take to get Teen Challenge to the next level in public awareness and support. This group is headed up by Elizabeth Fletcher, a board member who is also a business professor at Evangel University. She will be joined by Lynette, Snow Peabody, and others.
• Best Practices. This area could be expressed by other terms such as ministry models, templates, etc. The key point is providing proven systems that any Teen Challenge can use in adding to, upgrading, or beginning their program. This will help all Teen Challenge centers operate effectively without having to “reinvent the wheel” each time a new area of need arises. Greg Hammond, COO of Southeast Teen Challenge will head up this important team.
We are working hard to have the initial recommendations of how to implement these plans in practical ways by the National Teen Challenge Conference in Denver, Aug. 5-7. (By the way, I would love to see you there!) We want to have at least one or two proposals to present regarding each of these areas.
This process has taken time and energy and will take much more time and energy as we work through the process. I believe, however, that it will cause us to move forward more efficiently and effectively than ever before to touch those in need with the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Please join with us in praying for the continued leading of the Holy Spirit as we move forward for the glory of God!