It’s a buzzword. It’s all the rage in management consulting and yes, even in ministry. “Best practice” was coined to describe a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved by other means. “Best Practice” is thought of as a benchmark that evolves through collaboration, trial and error. The concept involves groups of people, working together over time refining, sharpening and taking the effort to the next level.
In short, when faithfully used, it is God’s hand at work in an imperfect but willing world that is open and available to his leading.
Last month, Executive Director Jeff Bonzelaar took a team of Life Challenge leaders to the Teen Challenge National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The team was blessed with a demonstration, a revelation, of best practices. They brought back new insight and new ideas. As a result, Life Challenge is now poised to implement many new ways of doing things.
Here are some of the comments from the team.
What a joy and honor it was to attend the National Teen Challenge conference last month! Seeing Teen Challenge leadership converge from all corners of the country to worship, pray, testify, learn and re-tool for the days ahead was truly amazing. Over 400 people from all walks of life and different backgrounds gathered together for one purpose—to help those bound by life-controlling problems experience freedom through Jesus Christ. It doesn’t get much better!
I am proud (can I say that?) to be part of the oldest, most successful faith-based recovery program in the world. How God has blessed this ministry! There are over 1,000 Teen Challenge centers spread across 106 different nations globally reaching hundreds of thousands of alcohol and drug addicts with the hope of the gospel every year.
It was a special privilege to hear Don Wilkerson, brother of the late David Wilkerson, give the opening address. He spoke from Luke 10 and shared the story of the Good Samaritan. He challenged us never to pass by those stripped, wounded and lying in the ditch. He called us to guard our hearts against coldness and indifference and to reach out in mercy to those who have been left for dead.
The National Teen Challenge Conference once again reminded me that at Life Challenge we are not an island unto ourselves. There is a wealth of knowledge to which we have access that spans decades of experience. Sitting in the sessions over three days, I found myself gobsmacked at the level of professionalism within the Teen Challenge family.
Beyond the adept nature of the individuals presenting, there was a tangible spirit of camaraderie that they all displayed. Simply put, each session leader wanted to present the knowledge he or she had developed (in some cases taking decades to acquire) and freely give it, so that each person in attendance could be better equipped to respond to the calling of God.
If I learned nothing else, I learned that the vision for Teen Challenge is huge. As an organization, we have centers from coast-to-coast, including Alaska and Hawaii. These centers are doing some extraordinary things to build God’s kingdom and fight the war on addiction. In addition to all the centers already established around the world, Global Teen Challenge is right now working to build a center in the African nation of Madagascar!
I am truly proud to be part of an organization that has always had at its core the name of Jesus Christ and the desire to serve him in the most excellent way!
It is always exciting to mingle with like-minded, passionate people, sharing thoughts, experiences and new ideas together. Attending the Life Challenge Conference in Nashville was no exception. As I looked around a room full of people dedicated to helping and ministering to the lost and hurting, my faith in God and his grace was lifted and fortified. I am reminded that God always provides a way and a labor force filled with love to accomplish his purposes. He takes all the varied talents, and then he multiplies and orchestrates them to do his work. How awesome it is to see an unstoppable army raised up to fight the war on drug and alcohol addiction! I am so very blessed to be even a small part of that army.
God’s Hand At Work
Buzzword or not, best practices and the conferences that help us find them are invaluable as we work to bring hope, healing and help to those who struggle with addiction. Next month, I will be taking a team to Washington, D.C. to a conference on the use of our database software. I am looking forward to how God will improve us, how his hand will guide us toward better and better practices for the sake of his hame!