Teen Challenge has always attracted volunteers from many walks of life who want to be involved with this life-changing ministry. And with hundreds of graduates yearly from across the country, we must do something to keep them
active in ministry and free from relapse! Lifeline Connection offers both groups an opportunity to receive training and to be actively engaged as leaders and
facilitators of groups, all the while held to a standard of accountability and to further spiritual growth.
A good percentage of volunteers and alumni who may not be candidates for residential internships; it just is not a setting that is conducive to everyone’s giftings and personalities. They may still want to be engaged and connected — and need to be. This is where Lifeline fits in.
Let’s look at some of the reasons to encourage their involvement in the small group ministry of Lifeline Connection;
1. Opportunity to be challenged to a new level of spiritual attainment and much needed accountability for both volunteers and graduates. Volunteers desire the challenges of ministry, and with that desire comes the need for training. Many have not experienced the intense discipleship that Teen Challenge graduates experience; that could be one reason they want to volunteer. Graduates must have a bonding similar to what they experienced as students with fellow students during program participation.
2. It is most likely that if Lifeline Connection is to be an extension of ministry and effective outreach of Teen Challenge, it will be facilitated by volunteers, not residential staff members. The vast majority of our staff and directors have more than enough on their plates, and so volunteers are crucial to a successful nonresidential Lifeline Connection ministry.
3. Alumni must make the decision to continue with positive peer choice, accountability and boundaries if they are to be consistent in their new walk in Christ and be free of relapse. As a whole, Teen Challenge has been lacking in effective follow-up and re-entry. Recovery and discipleship are for a life time. Let’s give our graduates a ministry that maintains their dignity, allows for employment, further education, family restoration, and allows them to be engaged in meaningful ministry that gives both encouragement and accountability, and the camaraderie of caring relationships.
4. Somehow, we must reconcile the ministries of Teen Challenge, and that of the local church! If we are unable to transition the discipleship ministry of TC to the local church, we have failed in our attempts to truly see continued recovery & discipleship. Lifeline Connection can be the bridge between Teen Challenge and the local church. The bonding and closeness that students experience as a part of their Teen Challenge experience must be replicated and extended beyond their TC experience. Some churches may lack the relational component that is present at TC; However, the groups can provide the relational component and bonding that is so necessary for continued growth and discipleship. Churches may use the Living Free training and small group curriculum we use for Lifeline Connection, and have their own effective support group ministry as well.
In conclusion; there is no doubt that Teen Challenge needs to continue to expand and reach a greater percentage of the addicted populace. Volunteers and alumni can be a point of contact for our centers in smaller communities, offering referral ministry, helping the hurting become aware that Teen Challenge centers are available! Ministering to those not able to go, or unwilling to go, through relationships and the Christ-centered groups can be the difference between life and death. Helping families through realignment, ministry to those connected to our students and others who deal with co-dependency issues is vitally important.
Reintegration of our graduates back into society ensures they have every opportunity to be free of relapse and continue their discipleship. Volunteers and alumni are a vital resource to be trained and empowered if we truly want to reach a greater percentage of the hurting and addicted and impact our culture through both residential and nonresidential anointed ministry.