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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor

(July 15, 2001)

John Castellani is director of Teen Challenge International USA. He recently talked with Ron Kopczick, promotions coordinator, about Teen Challenge and its 150 centers in the United States and 200 more around the world.

Evangel: How did serving as executive director of the Teen Challenge Training Center in Rehrersburg, Pa., help you lead Teen Challenge nationally?

Castellani: I was responsible for a budget of $5 million. We had to look for funds, because there’s no funding stream. We had to create and develop management skills while working with a staff of more than 140. We had a vocational-technical department of 21 different shops. The program teaches the men that Teen Challenge not only helps them get off drugs, but also creates in them a good work ethic. That has helped me see the big picture at the national office.

Evangel: What are some recent Teen Challenge ministry innovations?

Castellani: We’re getting our graduates into technical colleges, some of which offer two free years of education. Churches have developed re-entry houses. They have taken these men under their wings and given them opportunities to serve in local churches, find jobs and start their lives over.

Evangel: What distinguishes Teen Challenge from publicly funded short-term, inpatient drug treatment programs?

Castellani: Our answer is the "Jesus factor." That is the success of Teen Challenge. He’s given these men and women an opportunity to exercise the faith in them into something positive rather than something destructive.

Evangel: Why is it difficult for society to accept Teen Challenge’s effectiveness despite studies proving its success?

Castellani: In John 15, Jesus says, "They’ll persecute you, but it’s not you, but me in you." The secular community doesn’t like faith-based programs because of the positive message of Christ and what He is able to do in the power of redemption.

Evangel: What do the endorsements of Teen Challenge by various U.S. presidents mean?

Castellani: Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush have seen all kinds of programs, secular and faith-based. They have accepted that in Teen Challenge there is something positive. It’s just like anything in life. When someone recognizes your value or worth, it causes you to feel good. We don’t rest upon what they have said. We just take it as an encouragement.

Evangel: Where do you think the debate on federal assistance for faith-based organizations will lead?

Castellani: I thank George W. Bush for bringing it to the thinking of the American people. For years the church has done great things in the social community. When the debate is all settled, even if there are no moneys that come from the government, the populace at large will have a better understanding for faith-based ministries.

Evangel: What do you think the future holds for Teen Challenge?

Castellani: The future for Teen Challenge is going to be tremendous in the area of drug prevention. The public schools are going to open their doors to us, as they’ve already begun to do. We have testimonials from administrators who like what we’re doing. Drug prevention in our churches is not talked about enough. Our young people need to hear more from a Christian standpoint how to deal with the drug issue.

There is a great need for adolescent programs. Right now we have 20 adolescent programs. It’s my goal to have many more. In the prisons, wardens are looking for people to do more than hold evangelistic services. They’re looking for people to come in and do training, because recidivism is so great.

These are some of the best days for Teen Challenge because the need is great. I would like to see the day when Teen Challenge is no longer needed. But as long as the need is there, I really feel this is God’s time. The doors of opportunity are opening like never before.


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