Pastor’s Ponderings

Adult and Teen Challenge West Michigan will join us on Sunday, April 30th for worship. To prepare to welcome them, I would like to give my Pastor’s Ponderings over to them as I have taken the liberty of bringing together some of their materials so that we can better understand and prepare for their visit.

Purpose and Philosophy Adult and Teen Challenge West Michigan
Our first endeavor is to lead each person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We believe that a person can be forgiven and delivered from a sinful, addictive past through faith in the Blood of Christ, and His redemptive work on the cross. The one-year discipleship process begins through the teaching of God’s Word. Our instructors teach the Word to our students and how to apply it. They are taught how to pray and fellowship with God. They learn what it means to live and walk by faith, the importance of work and church attendance.

Biblical Counseling for each student is provided by our pastoral staff. These sessions provide an opportunity for the student to ask questions, to work through personal problems, and for spiritual development. This personal counseling is a vital part of the discipleship process.

Adult and Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive.

After Graduation
Some of our graduates will accept staff positions at one of the over 240 Teen Challenge Centers throughout the country. Others go on to complete interrupted high school education, college education and careers. Many of our graduates are serving with distinction as pastors, church lay leaders, business people, and highly regarded employees.

A study by the US Health, Education and Welfare Department indicates there is hope for the drug-addict and alcoholic. It has been determined that Teen Challenge has an amazing 86% cure rate. Those who complete the Adult and Teen Challenge program report being drug free six to seven years or more years after entering the program. Reasons for such success, as determined by those who have studied the program, believed the installation of faith by a forgiving God can offer the addict a firm spiritual support which the socially and physically insecure person urgently needed to shore up their self-image and insecurity. It is believed that such systems become self-validating, and their basic needs of security, recognition, response, and new horizons are met in this specific approach which is totally absent in many other therapeutic community programs. Faith does make a difference.

History of West Michigan Teen Challenge
The creation in 1958 of Teen Challenge in New York City was a direct result of one man’s obedience to God and prayer by David Wilkerson. Still to this day, lives of the students, their families and friends are continually being transformed by the love of God. This transformation was brought to West Michigan by Pastor Phil McClain in 1970. Phil and others made contact with individuals on the street. In 1971, a home was purchased on Lake Harbor Road where individuals could come together for church services. In 1972, a home had been purchased and Teen Challenge moved to a larger complex on Larch Ave. in Muskegon. In 1973, a live-in program was started for women on South Henry, which could accommodate twenty-four women. In 1974, the former Little Black Lake School facility was purchased for a men’s  live-in program. Highly disciplined schedules were established for both programs to help build inward stability and self-discipline for those who had committed the challenge. In 1994, an even larger facility for women was established on South Harvey.

Daily classes are held, students are taught standards of life and morals that are compatible to their conscience, sanity, the law, society and health, as they hold true to the mission statement established for Michigan Adult and Teen Challenge.

Mission statement: Evangelize people who have life controlling problems and initiate the discipleship process to the point where the student can function as a Christian in society applying spiritual motivated biblical principles to relationships in the family, local church, chosen vocation and the community.

Over the years, the West Michigan program has helped thousands of adults and young people overcome their life controlling problems and become productive citizens in society. Many times, staff serve as intermediaries with law enforcement agencies on behalf of the students. Adult and Teen Challenge average 125 students in the program year-round. The average age of an individual in the program is twenty-three years.

The current men’s facility consists of: a multipurpose building with office space, kitchen combination gyms, classroom, cafeteria, bathrooms, and shower room; a pantry; dormitories for students and an apartment for single staff; newly renovated Chapel; and two four-plex units to house married staff. The women’s facility consists of: three dormitories; a fellowship hall, cafeteria, office space, bathrooms; single staff housing; and supervisory housing.

Adult and Teen Challenge is not government funded. They are a nonprofit, tax-exempt, religious corporation with their own local board of directors. They are supported by contributions from private individuals, families, businesses, and churches. Adult and Teen Challenge will not turn anyone away for lack of funds if they are willing to make a life change. Should you desire more information about Adult and Teen Challenge please go to:

We look forward to once again worshipping with Adult and Teen Challenge on Sunday, April 30th followed by a potluck meal which the Claybanks UMC will share with them in community.

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