Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Investing in Freedom

Diane and I have just returned from spending a few days teaching at the Teen Challenge UK School of Ministry.  They now meet in the their new national HQ called Willoughby House on the main road between Leicester and Nottingham.  There, in what was a Best Western Hotel, they now have a men's rehab unit for drug addicts and alcoholics, their national admin offices, and also the 6 month SoM.  It was a tremendous joy to be in the atmosphere of this dynamic place.  The guys on rehab spend about one year getting cleaned up and set free from life-controlling addiction.  The success rate for this ministry is 80% - a phenomenal outcome for people who were so messed up before.  Once they graduate from the programme they have the option to take a further 6 months in the School of Ministry to prepare for Christian service.  This is a real example of the Bible verse that says: 'If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation: the old has gone and the new has come!' Exciting!

One real concern I have is that this organisation is so heavily dependent on gift income to survive.  Each person they take out of an addicted lifestyle is saving the state millions in prevented crimes, released hospital beds, empty prison cells etc.  In fact, I met one guy newly arrived from prison who had been sent there by the courts. Yet there is very little state funding of the programme. Also, when you consider the millions that are recouped from illicit drugs money by the authorities, how come so little of this finds its way into rehab?  So, when I saw an empty gymnasium with no equipment because of lack of funds, and a broken down minibus that will cost £24,000 to replace and so is lying unusable, I was angry at the lack of vision in our society.

I really hope and pray that businesses and even governments will respond to this challenge and make sure that these young people who are no longer part of the victim culture or even the drugs supply chain itself, have the resources they need to start this new life with a flying start.  You can find out more at their website www.teenchallenge.co.uk