Firstly, thank you to my home church Dominion Baptist, both to our individual supporters and alumni as well as to our church officers being available to be speakers (sometimes on short notice).
My wife Sydney and I have worked patiently since 2019 to reboot the Timothy Group and CHALLENGE, preserving the godly heritage and spirit spanning back over 20 years and seeking to address classic weaknesses of the ministry: finances, and marketing. By God's grace we not only only ran another successful CHALLENGE: Basic, but also restarted our advanced program CHALLENGE: Extreme this year. All of this while keeping our budget under control, and without requiring financial support from the church or self-funding from the staff.
At Basic we had 10 young men (up from 8 last year) including 4 junior or "intro" participants. Operating on the theme of "Purpose and Meaning" we heard 4 messages from men of 3 separate churches on Purpose and Meaning in Spite of Suffering, Purpose and Meaning in the Family, Purpose and Meaning in the Church, and Purpose and Meaning in Christ.
Extreme is a program that hasn't been available since 2015, and before that 2010. As I've told many of you, most of the quality leadership training I've benefitted from in the Timothy Group happens after graduating basic (at Extreme and Selection). We had 5 exceptional young men graduate Extreme this year and it was an honor and a privilege to see them work through the problems we presented to them. We committed to running this event even at a loss, and by God's grace we still broke even on the year. Our theme for Extreme was "Find Your Mission" and we heard on Prerequisites for Finding a Mission, How to set long-term goals and ambitions, How to assess my gifts and abilities, and How do I know that I'm in God's will.
Looking to 2024 we're already planning our staff selection course, CHALLENGE: Basic in the fall, and a skills-based firearms class in February. Strategically, we will also be focusing on our communication and marketing using resources that God has provided through my day-job at a Christian digital marketing agency. Lord-willing we will shore up that pillar and continue our labor to grow the ministry.
While prayer and financial support are welcome (and necessary) our biggest need is still getting the word out and getting folks signed up for CHALLENGE. If you know young men around the ages of 10-20 they need this program.
In our modern society, it often seems we've forgotten what it is to be hungry. To be driven to do hard things and work under pressure. CHALLENGE is always a reminder that God has equipped us for greater things than punching our physical and spiritual clock, and that true service requires sacrifice and struggle.