Teen Challenge Ballymena needs you if you are you an experienced, spirit-filled Christian with a desire to reach out to people trapped in alcohol or drug addiction! Teen Challenge Ballymena operates every other Friday night from Linenhall Street in the town and currently need new volunteers to help them with this amazing ministry.
Teen Challenge is a Christian outreach project which was founded in New York over 60 years ago by David Wilkerson. His vision was to help young men in gangs, many of whom were also caught up in drug and alcohol abuse. Now, the organization has countless rehabilitation centres worldwide, including facilities in Scotland, Wales, London and its main UK base known as Willoughby House, in Leicestershire.
Colin Owens, who leads the Ballymena team, explains: “The Teen Challenge rehabilitation programme is a lengthy one, which lasts about 12 months. It is Biblically based, with Jesus at its core, although you don’t have to be a Christian to be accepted on to it”, he added.
Teen Challenge Ballymena – a ministry to help those whose lives are impacted by addiction.
Teen Challenge Ballymena started in September of last year in response to a request by a number of local ministers who were concerned about the impact of addiction in our town.
They made contact with Lee McClelland at the ministry’s Belfast office. He put together a group led by Colin, who had previously volunteered with the project in the capital for three-and-a-half years.
Every fortnight, Colin and his team park a trailer in the car park behind the Lighthouse Hostel for the Homeless. From there they offer tea, coffee and biscuits and more importantly, a listening ear to those who choose to stop-by with them:
“We decided to park close to the hostel because many of the guys there are already in need”, said Colin.
“Perhaps their greatest need at that moment is to have someone to talk to. It can take a week or two to gain a person’s trust but once they get to know you, they will open up about their life-stories, family histories and you get a chance to befriend them and share the Gospel”, he says.
Members of Teen Challenge Ballymena are very grateful to the local churches who have supported their mission in Ballymena to date, including the Church of God in Ballymena, Victory Praise Community Church and Ballykeel Pentecostal Church, who provide storage space for their trailer between outreach nights.
Although it is early days, the ministry of Colin and his team is already bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom in this area.
He reports: “Some of the guys we met have already expressed an interest in coming to Church and one who is already attending a local fellowship came to us to say that he had given his life to the Lord as a result of this. But the most encouraging thing is that some of the staff in the Hostel tell us that through Teen Challenge being there, the guys are more open to talk about Christian things”, adds Colin.
Colin says that Teen Challenge are very keen to recruit more people from Ballymena for their outreach in the town.
This would enable the team to be on the streets more often, cover a greater amount of ground and ensure the work is more effective.
He went on to say: “We are looking for people from a solid Christian background who are spirit filled and competent at street outreach work. On a practical level, we need at least one person who can tow the trailer.”
If you would like to know more about volunteering with Teen Challenge Ballymena, contact Lee McClelland at the Belfast office on 07843 444 043 or email: teenchallengebelfast.co.uk. You can also find out more of the Teen Challenge UK ministry on their website here or keep up-to-date with the Ballymena Teen Challenge team on their Facebook page here.