A Long-time Listener
Dear Drs. Van Impe:
I have followed your ministry for many years and have greatly appreciated your adherence to the purity of the Word of God. Two recent programs have particularly touched my heart – the ones dealing with drugs and alcohol.
For a season of my ministry and career, I served as the Executive Director of the National Capitol Area Teen Challenge ministry – located just outside of Washington, DC. (Teen Challenge, as you may know, is a faith-based evangelistic and discipleship program giving Jesus to those poor souls bound by chemical addictions. It was founded by David Wilkerson and now falls under the umbrella of the Assemblies of God.)
The Washington, DC ministry had ceased to be effective and the local Board of Directors was unable to find adequate leadership. A good friend of mine serves on the national Board of Directors and, knowing of my previous experience in revitalizing fledgling ministries, asked me to consider revitalizing this ministry. So, after prayer and several discussions with the local Board, I agreed to serve as their new Executive Director.
It broke my heart to really see how Satan had captivated the hearts of so many precious people with drugs and alcohol. Typically, the staff of Teen Challenge ministries are made up of born again, Holy Spirit filled believers who have been set free from their own chemical dependencies. However, I found that most of my new staff members had backslidden into use and dependencies again. (No wonder the ministry had ceased to be effective.) I held a staff meeting and reiterated the TC policy that to work in the TC ministry, they needed to be drug, alcohol, and tobacco free. Then I said that if they were using these substances, they had disqualified themselves from employment. So, as their pastor, I offered to help them with the Gospel to find (again) freedom in Christ from their chemical dependencies. However, later that month, 80 per cent of my staff resigned. (So sad.) The good news is – 2 staff members were, in fact, “clean” and had been praying that this type of ministry purification would happen so God’s people could once again preach deliverance to the captives. (The 3 of us formed a tight bond and worked diligently to serve our wonderful Saviour.)
As a result, I rolled up my sleeves and began a season of very long hours ministering to the oppressed while implementing solid business practices upon which the ministry could once again build a dynamic and effective ministry.
My season with the NCATC has come to an end but I left transformed with a compassion for those bound by chemical dependencies. I also have a profound compassion for the family members who watch helplessly as their loved one’s lives are ruined (an eternities jeopardized) with these dependencies.
I share this (long) story with you as a way of encouraging you. Your programs on drugs and alcohol dependencies were point-on-target. Jesus came to set the captives free from all sin – including chemical dependencies. I also ask you to continue to preach the “hard” and politically incorrect topics contained in the Scripture. There are countless people who watch your TV ministry and read your literature who need the encouragement that you bring via the pure Word of God.
Thank you for your faithfulness and partnership in the ministry. Our paths may never cross on this side of the grave, but we will certainly rejoice together in heaven for eternity, worshiping the King of Kings….
Pastor Gary L.