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Thank you for your interest in the Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC) Ministry.  This page is intended to help you better understand how ATC is organized and what considerations there are in determining new center development.

VERY IMPORTANT: ATC is a Faith-Based discipleship program, not a medical or clinical treatment program. Adult & Teen Challenge programs are designed for individuals seeking a new life in Christ, free from addiction.

ATC Organization

  1. ATC is not a single nonprofit corporation, but individual nonprofit corporations that operate under an affiliation agreement with ATCUSA in order to legally use the ATC name.
  2. There is a distinct difference between the ATCUSA National Office and the ATC affiliates (centers) operating throughout the United States. Unlike the local ATC ministry, ATCUSA operates as an independent department and part of the Assemblies of God (AG) US Home Missions.  The ATC National Office’s relationship with the AG allows the local independent centers to gain access to different types of AG funding programs available at the AG district level.  To separate legal liability between ATC and the AG, no AG church may operate an ATC program.  ATC Centers operate best outside the direct supervision of a local church, while gaining the support of churches and individuals within the community it serves.  Therefore, each ATC organization must operate as its own nonprofit corporation with its own Board of Directors, etc., with no legal or supervisory connection to a local church ministry.
  3. There are two types of ATC organizations. The first is the ATC organization that operates a regional or state office with two or more satellite residential programs or outreach offices located in different cities.  This type of organization can cover a whole state or be multi-state in its ministry scope.  Any new ATC work that would be done in one of these states or regions would need to be under this ATC’s organization and governance.  The second type is the stand-alone ATC organization whose ministry outreach is more local.  The inquirer will be asked for the city and state they are in so that ATC USA office can help determine what type of center can be developed.
  4. ATCUSA provides no start-up monies for new center development. Each ATC affiliate is responsible for raising its own operational budget from the local area or region.

New Center Development & New Director Application

Two things are taken into consideration when looking at new center development:

  1. How many ATC residential centers are already operating in the state as well as the location to where the inquirer resides. It is not always financially feasible to have a residential program in every city of a state or region.  Therefore, if the inquirer resides in a state with several ATC residential centers operating and there is a desire and burden to develop an ATC ministry, he/she may be encouraged to prayerfully consider starting up a Lifeline Connections ministry in their area (more on this below).
  2. The second consideration is the qualifications of the person applying to start a new ATC program and the feasibility of their business plan. The process for starting a new ATC ministry begins with the person who will be starting up the ministry and serving as the Executive Director to apply to determine if he or she meets the necessary qualifications.  The qualifications for the new director include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Must be a mature Christian with good references. Must also agree with the ATC statement of faith. 
    • Have business leadership experience and good communication skills.
    • Be able to raise finances for the ongoing funding of the ministry.
    • Be able to teach.
    • At least a High school diploma or GED. A college degree is recommended. 
    • At least 6 months ministry experience in either another ATC ministry or similar program.
    • Pass both a criminal and credit background check. Must be able to manage finances well.  The application process requires a $300.00 nonrefundable fee paid up front to help cover the cost of the background checks and administrative costs.  The applicant will also cover the costs for the ATC Regional Representative who is required to do an onsite visit to the applicant’s home and to assess the area under consideration.  A director who keeps a clean organized home will keep their center the same way.

The application process is as follows:

  1. The applicant must meet with the director’s currently operating within the state to determine if plans are already in process for a ATC ministry to be set up in that area.
  2. The ATC Regional Representative is asked to arrange a time with the applicant to visit their home and to look at the area to determine if the community can viably support a local ATC residential program. The costs associated with this visit must be covered by the applicant.
  3. If the report from the Representative is positive, then our office contacts the AG District office for that state informing them of the potential new ATC work within their district allowing their office the opportunity to give feedback.
  4. If approved, the applicant sends in the required application fee and the application is sent out. Once the application is received (the business plan is submitted along with the application), background checks are completed, and referrals are contacted.
  5. Finally, the applicant must be interviewed by the ATCUSA National Office.

The new center application is for starting up a nonresidential ATC Outreach and Referral office.  Before a new ATC ministry can begin to operate as a residential program, it needs to develop first into a viable non-residential outreach and referral office within the community and in complete compliance with ATCUSA Accreditation Standards.  Once fully accredited, then the ministry can proceed to develop a residential component if so desired.

Operating a residential program involves special zoning permits.  Requests for these often meet stiff community resistance.  If there is opposition, a hearing process can take up to a year or more and can involve attorneys. 

The average cost of starting and operating an ATC Outreach and Referral Office is about $100,000.00+ per year.  Residential programs cost anywhere from $500,000 to over one million annually.  Many ATC residential programs have budgets that exceed two million annually. 

Adolescent Programs

Adolescent ATC programs are essentially Christian Boarding schools.  In addition to the discipleship classes required in all ATC programs, adolescent programs also must run a fully accredited Christian school.  Some states will require that such a program be licensed with the teacher being fully credentialed.  Like adult programs, adolescent programs also must raise an operational budget. 

Our initial recommendation is that you contact an existing ATC center and, if possible, volunteer for a season to see if this type of discipleship ministry environment is a good fit for you.  For a list of programs near you, please visit our center finder.

Lifeline Connections

Lifeline Connections ministry was developed to expand a residential ministry’s outreach into the surrounding towns and areas where they minister.  Not everyone needing help requires a 12-18 month residential program.  Therefore, Lifeline is a non-residential ministry that holds weekly meetings within the community and has a fully developed curriculum.  A Lifeline Connections ministry is not an ATC program and requires less funding to operate.  A Lifeline ministry is strongly recommended for those individuals who have a burden to help those struggling with life-controlling problems, but do not qualify or feel suited to operate a residential program.  To receive further information about Lifeline, please email Rev. Clayton Arp at Clayton@lifelineconnection.org in Louisville, KY.   All new non-residential ATC ministries are required to start-up and run a Lifeline Connections ministry.   It can be phased out if the program transitions into a residential model.  Lifeline is a great tool to help build ministry support within both the community and surrounding towns as you begin your journey.