Last night, I attended the 21st graduation banquet of a local ministry called Savannah Missions Bible Training Center (SMBTC). It is a part of Mission Teens, Inc., which has seventeen similar centers around the country. I volunteer to minister the Word of God monthly at SMBTC. I must say it is one of the most effective Christian ministries that I have been a part of during my more than thirty years in the ministry.
Mission Teens, Inc. is a Christ-centered discipleship training program. Its goal is to give hope to the hopeless. The program is divided into four phases, each lasting 2-4 months. During their time in the program the participants, called residents, live at the Center. There is no cost to come to the Center. It receives no government funding, resulting in total freedom to be Christ-centered.
The people who come to Mission Teens, Inc. come because they are desperate. Before entering the program, some were living on the streets, eating from trash cans. Some spent many years in prison. Practically all of them had their lives devastated through drugs and/or alcohol abuse. If you could hear some of their incredible testimonies about where God brought them from, you would be amazed at the effectiveness of this ministry.
The people who check into Mission Teens, Inc. need more than local church affiliation. That’s helpful but not enough. Simply coming to church on the weekend and Bible study once a week, and returning to live in their daily hell won’t cut it. They need to be brought into a controlled environment and to be mentored to become disciples for Christ.
Discipleship in a local church setting differs from discipleship at Mission Teens, Inc. Still, local churches can learn a lot from this organization about the power of effective discipleship.
Some local churches enjoy great success in seeing new converts come to Christ. But where they often fail is in the area of discipleship. Neglect in this important area of ministry often results in a revolving door because of low retention rates of new members. Some Christians argue that once a person accepts Christ, he needs no mentoring because the Holy Spirit is his guide. But having become born of the Holy Spirit does not preclude the need for babes to be mentored. That’s why Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go and make disciples.
Mission Teens, Inc. has been effectively making disciples for over 40 years. Its success rate greatly exceeds that of any secular rehabilitation program. The typical participants in the discipleship program are not your average churchgoers. In some local churches, these program participants would not even be welcome. But Mission Teens, Inc. is living proof that through Christ and effective discipleship, even the most defeated and desperate soul can become a champion for God.
Copyright© 2015 by Frank King. All rights reserved.