Apparently Teen Mania Ministries was in the media last week. MSNBC aired a special called Mind over Mania. I missed it but I did catch up on all the commotion around the special. Below is the promo from MSNBC’s site.
In caes you are unfamiliar, Teen Mania is the parent company to Acquire the Fire, Global Expeditions and a handful of over ministry initiatives involving ministry to teens and preteens. I searched all over the web for a rebroadcast of the MSNBC special, but I couldn’t find it anywhere… but I feel I read enough summaries to speak my opinions and thoughts.
I went on my first Teen Mania trip to Venezuela when I was 16 back in 1993. I spent another two months in India in 1994 and did the one year Internship (now called the Honor Academy) and ventured to both Morocco and Russia while I was an intern. Unfortunately, I’ve not been involved with Teen Mania since my internship because of my involvement in kidmin. Almost 15 years have passed since then, but I’ve sent many teenagers and preteens on summer trips and almost every time, the results are the same. Lives are changed.
I am who I am today because of Teen Mania and the one year internship. I’ve started the things I’ve started and have lead at the capacity that I do because of the things I learned as an intern. I raised nearly $10,000 to be an intern for them where I was housed, fed, given a job to do and was invested in significantly for 12 months. Oh, part of that money sent me halfway around the world… twice. I can’t imagine a better investment into my life. I held two roles as an intern. One was in leadership development where they put significant trust in me as a 19 year-old to set up a tour to college campuses where we recruited leaders for summer mission trips. I’m still amazed at the opportunity they gave us. My second role was as a call center rep for their Acquire the Fire events. I built relationships with student pastors to help them get thousands of teenagers to an event in Virginia. One of the greatest moments of my life was to be at that event and see the thousands in attendance because of my hard work. Those are incredibly rewarding experiences for a teenager.
Lastly, the organization pushed me out of my comfort zone through incredibly creative retreats and experiences. 15 years later, I still marvel at what I learned. I was never forced to do anything and the men and women in leadership were some of the godliest people I knew… who invested in me, helping me to become the leader that I am today in the world of Kidmin.
So, if you saw the trash MSNBC developed or read negative articles other places, know that there are always two sides to every story. Sure, some people have bad experiences. Mistakes are sometimes made and at times, people fall through cracks. But Teen Mania taught me an awful lot about character and virtue and I learned these things from the same people being accused of “mind control” and other garbage. I don’t think so.
I still firmly believe that if you want to sent a high school graduate on course for excellence in life (and their relationship with Jesus), the honor academy is one of the best decisions you could make.
Check out the Honor Academy here.
Here is an article on the MSNBC Special.
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I found the special on YouTube,
Mind Over Matter – Inside the Teen Mania Christian Child Abuse Cult Part 1-3
Thank you sharing this Kenny! It was great hearing a little bit more about your experience with Teen Mania.
(As you might recall I’m an alumni of TM as well.)
It is cool to hear from you. I was on your team in Venezuela. And it changed my life also.