Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us

2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


Christ breaks addictions

John Castellani is the director of Teen Challenge International USA, an Assemblies of God ministry devoted to helping people overcome drug and alcohol addictions through the power of Jesus Christ. There are currently 180 Teen Challenge centers in the United States and 250 in more than 70 countries around the world. Castellani spoke recently with Staff Writer Isaac Olivarez.

PE: How does Teen Challenge demonstrate God’s ability to work in an addict’s life?

CASTELLANI: What sets Teen Challenge apart from other programs is that it’s built on biblical principles and the message of Christ. Jesus is presented as not only the Savior, but as One who is able to deliver and keep recovering addicts from going back into their former life. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a special plan for each of our lives. Learning from Scripture helps people recovering from addiction to build a positive self-image through a relationship with Christ and His Word.

PE: What will it take to get society on board with Teen Challenge and other faith-based organizations?

CASTELLANI: I think society at large is willing to embrace us. The difficulty comes when some who are clinically trained question how we can do what we do with the success we have without doing it in a clinical fashion. To overcome this hurdle we need to do a better job of communication. We have to let the world know that our Christian faith goes beyond a set of dogmatic beliefs and shapes the ethics we share. Along with ethics, we provide positive counseling that is biblically based. The greatest example we have is our graduates’ testimonies and how successful they are in their local communities. Many public schools are beginning to open up to us. Some of our centers have done an excellent job in going into schools and doing presentations. When we go in there we can’t tell the message of Jesus Christ, but we can still make it clear what God has done in their lives.

PE: How does Teen Challenge partner with local churches?

CASTELLANI: One of the key parts of our re-entry plan is connecting our students with the local church. Only as they stay in a local church will they be able to stay strong and keep from going back to the things they used to do. One of the goals of Teen Challenge is to put together a strong drug prevention program that we’ll be able to take to churches, public schools, Christian schools and other venues. We’re working with Evangel University and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary to create staff training programs so we can do training seminars across the nation and give opportunity for all centers to have adequate training.

PE: How does Teen Challenge partner with the judicial system concerning drug offenders?

CASTELLANI: It’s a local thing. As the various center directors build relationships with judges, most will send us their clients. The challenge is, because we’re faith-based, they send us the clients but there are no revenues that follow. Hopefully the faith-based initiative will help to correct some of that. Once we get national acceptance as a legitimate program helping to restore lives, it will be a boost to our centers.

PE: How can people pray for Teen Challenge?

CASTELLANI: One of our challenges is zoning restrictions in places where we want to establish centers. Another challenge is getting adequately trained staff. We need to pray that God will not only help us put together the proper program, but the proper trainers also. The better our trainers and staff are, the better our product. Finances are always a challenge because all of our funds are raised from private donations.

E-mail your comments to

E-mail this page to a friend.
©1999-2009 General Council of the Assemblies of God