“Faithfully managing God’s call and resources”
When we think about stewardship, we often think about budgets and taking good care of property and belongings. But as our tagline suggests, there is also the issue of stewarding the call God has entrusted us with, both personally and corporately. One of the ways we can faithfully manage the call God has given Teen Challenge is by being students of our calling. While recently on a fall color vacation, I had the opportunity to visit the Shipwreck Museum on the coast of Lake Superior, known for its sudden and treacherous storms. I was intrigued by the following quotes:
“Prior to 1871, Congress had been funding strictly volunteer life-saving stations, paying for them and their equipment but relying on the local community to provide unpaid crews. Lifesaving personnel were largely untrained and undisciplined men, usually local fisherman who had an intimate acquaintance with the habits of the surf, currents, eddies, and bars of their own coastal waters, but lacking in professional lifesaving skills.”
Formation of the U.S. Life Saving Service
“In 1871 a young lawyer from Maine, Sumner Kimball, was put in charge of the country’s life-saving stations. Under his firm direction, regulations were drawn up that set rigid standards for life-saving equipment, personnel performance, fitness, age, lifesaving drills and station maintenance. Kimball convinced Congress to increase funding to provide for full-time, paid crews, and Station Keepers. As a result, an astounding 87.5% decrease in shipwreck deaths within the areas covered by the Life-Saving Service was realized. In 1878 President Hayes officially appointed Kimball to be General Superintendent of the newly formed U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS).”
The USLSS is the predecessor to our modern day Coast Guard. If ever I should be carried away in a riptide, I know I’m in competent hands when I see the Coast Guard coming to my rescue. I can’t help but notice that the 87.5% improvement in results is strangely close to the success rate that Teen Challenge once touted. Stewardship involves constantly asking: how are we doing at this life-saving business God has called us to? And constantly seeking to not only recognize the ways that our wonderful staff are intimately acquainted with the work we do, but also identifying and remedying areas where we lack training. For people overcome by addiction, we want them to know they are in competent hands when they come to Teen Challenge, because we both know and have been trained by The Rescuer.
I would like to thank Karissa McCarter, who oversees training for Florida/Georgia Teen Challenge for allowing us to share this article.
Vision, strategies, systems, proper equipment, training – all components of a “Life-Saving” ministry.
Think about it -
- Which of these components are we doing well in and why?
- Which of these components are lacking or weak in our ministry and needs attention?
- What are the gaps (weakness/needs) in those components?
- What steps do we need to take to fill these gaps?