In my reflections on the 25 years of ministering here at Victory, I have great memories. I remember former students who have called my cell phone and just wanted to check in with me and see how I was doing. Once, after many years, a student from my second year here visited us. He, his wife, and baby girl were such a blessing. We had lunch, talked about their ministry and walk with God. Those calls, from Chicago and Utah, and the visits from former students brought me face to face with what Victory is all about. We are building relationships that go deep, reaching the hearts. We love these guys, really. The natural product of those relationships is heart influence. As Scripture is wrapped around the daily life here at Victory, their view of life is challenged and biblical answers are found to be true. That impacts the foundation of their worldview. That reveals the cracks in their self-focused worldview and brings light to the solid foundation of the biblical worldview. That impacts the inner man, the heart, life. As they see themselves as sinners in need of a savior, we then begin to show them the value of Christ and His work on the cross. When they see that at heart level, real growth of heart begins, life changes.
We have seen such good fruit in reaching the hearts of struggling young men that as I reflect, my adrenaline begins to flow and my focus is narrowed. Deep relationships have the ability to produce long-term influence and good fruit. Why I sometimes forget the sureness of the biblical sowing and reaping principle puzzles me. It puzzles me because one would think that by now I should recognize that correctly applying the Word of God produces good fruit. After all, good fruit is what those who are in Christ were designed to produce (Eph. 2:10). That is what God is in the business of doing in us. We recognize that we don’t see that fruit in every boy we work with, which reveals that our relationships didn’t get as deep as we wanted them to get. However, even with those we often see in the later years when they do finally grow up and commit themselves afresh to God, they call back and want us to pray, and they want to visit.
I have had the opportunity to work with well over a hundred young men in my time here. Many of those have gone on to succeed in life as policemen, firemen, missionaries, faithful employees, and great husbands and fathers. Today, in the day to day struggles of ministering to the guys we see little rays of hope as the light of the Word is shined on their hearts. That is what Victory is all about. We press on, influencing, reaching into one heart at a time, and seeing God work His work of changing lives from darkness to light.
As Victory Academy opens this school year, there is one thing that bothers me. For twenty five years it seems that Victory has been a secret.
Some things are so valuable they shouldn’t be kept secret. What makes Victory so valuable? Victory value isn't due to any one person, but found in the fact that God has done His work through literally hundreds of people to make Victory what it is today. Staff members, volunteers, and donors have sacrificially worked together to build a ministry that produces eternal fruit.
This should not be kept a secret.
What do you get when you put together a staff with decades of experience working with troubled teens, a program developed over twenty-three years, and an excellent 120 acre facility protected from many of our culture’s problems? That is Victory Academy for Boys! We have a fantastic program for reaching at-risk teen boys, and people need to know about it. Victory is not a band-aid for bad behavior. Victory is about heart surgery; real inner-man change.
Victory Academy is valuable because our program answers the needs of struggling teens and their parents. As I have looked over my 25 years here and considered the several hundred teens and families we have helped, I was able to name many whose lives were radically changed right here at Victory. Overwhelmingly, our alumni have graduated high school and some have gone on to serve in our military and law enforcement. Some have gone on to further their education at college. A few have studied at Bible colleges. One is finishing up graduate school this year to become a missionary pastor. Another is a youth pastor in Michigan. Dads have changed from passive to active leaders in their families. Families have seen the principles of God’s Word work in their homes. Relationships have been restored. Victory Academy works because God’s Spirit works through God’s Word to change hearts.
Foundationally we believe that parents are the key to long-term change and growth for a boy. If dad and mom are strengthened and encouraged in their parenting, our program’s impact will be family-wide and influential in the next generation (look at Psalm 78:1-8). Our parent program does the work of encouraging and strengthening parents, while helping them get back to the place of influence for God in the lives of their children.
There are families in every church and neighborhood that could benefit from our program. Many teens and their parents are struggling with all sorts of problems, and Victory is all about providing hope and biblical counsel to these families. Every time I poll an audience an overwhelming number of them know of teens that need our program. Think for a moment, whom do you know that would benefit from our program?
Victory Academy is open, ready, and able to help struggling teens and their parents, so, go tell the secret!
Let’s see what God will do!