Teen Challenge is offered as a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center not only for teenagers, but also for adults. The program seems to be based solely on the fact that a person can literally 'pray away' their alcoholism and drug addiction. As far as I can tell, the program is not even certified because it uses pastoral counselors instead of licensed clinical counselors. This has led me to do some research to find out what Teen Challenge is really all about and I highly recommend that you do the same before either admitting your teenager or yourself into it! (I feel sorry for the people who join while they are incarcerated. Teen Challenge does alot of their recruiting in jails and prisons! Nothing like getting you when you're already down, hey?)
Based on my findings, I feel that Teen Challenge should be classified as a brainwashing cult. Why? Well, first click here to view their Daily Schedule. (If you spend some time exploring their many websites across the U.S. and world, you will find that this schedule is rarely modified and strictly adhered to. You will also find that their Daily Schedule is quite hard to find!) Note how the schedule incorporates the daily times for the morning Devotions, Praise & Prayer and evening Devotions. From what I've heard, after you wake up and right before bedtime are when your subconscious is the most susceptible to change.
I printed out the schedule so I could evaluate just how many hours per day and week that a person would be required to spend doing the religious aspect of the program. I also realized that Lecture, PACE and Study Hall are all centered on the Bible. So, if you add up those times with the amount of time you needed for Devotions and Praise & Prayer, you realize that the students pretty much 'live & breathe' religion the good part of the day, every day, for an entire year!!!
I was also amazed at how many hours are spent in church on Sunday! The students must attend church, not once, but twice every Sunday!!! This totals 6-1/4 hours of solid religious programing every Sunday, not to mention the 1/2 hour that is spent doing the daily Devotion forty-five minutes after waking up that morning!
This is an Overview of the Teen Challenge Program. Some of their websites call it 'The Student Manual'. This site calls it Student Guidelines. (I recommend reading both of them in their entirety!) Regardless of what it is called, it is also very hard to find because most of the Teen Challenge websites do not offer it! (I wonder why? Is it because they don't want the public to know?) I also wonder if new 'recruits' are informed of these very strict rules before they are admitted. Strict dress-codes, no television, no contact with boyfriend / girlfriend / friends, no speaking to the opposite sex unless you have permission, very limited telephone usage, 5-min. showers? The list of no-no's goes on & on!
Here is their Global Teen Challenge Worldwide Directory. If you dig deep enough, you may be able to uncover a few more of their secrets that aren't disclosed on most of their websites!
Another good place to start finding out more would be to read the Proselytizing Report about Teen Challenge from the website of The Rick A. Ross Institute For The Study Of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements.
Personally, I highly recommend doing some serious investigating before either admitting your teenager or yourself into it! And if you know someone who is incarcerated that is thinking about applying to this faith-healing treatment center, let them know what your findings are!
Also, ask questions! Ask others if they agree that Teen Challenge very aggressively pushes their religious beliefs upon those who do not share them and whose main goal is to recruit you so they can convert you to their extremely 'hyper-religious' religion. And don't forget to ask others if they sometimes have to behave like Holy Rollers / Jesus Freaks who roll around on the floor and 'speak in tongues' in an uncontrolled manner.