Agape Training School

 Is a Ministry School for Adaptation Center Leaders a real need?


Over the past 4 years, 10 Adaptation Centers for teenage orphanage graduates have been opened around Ukraine. These centers are staffed by committed Christians who desire to serve needy teens - Adaptation Center Leaders, people who have obeyed the call of God and accepted this difficult ministry as from Him.

 Most of them are not child psychologists or counselors, and prior to beginning their ministry to these teens had not extensively studied the psychology of orphans and traumatized children. There are times when they have unresolved conflicts with the teens in their care and can't understand why their teens are acting as they are. They often don't know how to react best to a teen's acting out or how to avoid serious mistakes in building a relationship of trust with their teens. These leaders often struggle to understand their teens when they behave themselves immaturely or aggressively, and often don't know where to find the strength to continue in this ministry they've committed themselves to.

We found ourselves faced with the task of helping meet the needs of these leaders. We wanted to open a Ministry School for Adaptation Center Leaders to provide them with training and resources that they are in such urgent need of.


The main task of the Ministry School is to help these leaders see beyond the bad behavior on the surface to the cause of these behaviors: young hearts deeply wounded by the trauma and rejection they've experienced. Having arrived at the right 'diagnosis' of the causes of bad behavior, the leader can then decide how to best continue developing a closer relationship with the teen he's mentoring, without causing needless suffering. He is better equipped to provide support for his hurting teen charge and can help him find healing from the tragedies and trauma he's been through.

Without special preparation for this kind of ministry, a leader can quickly find himself making many mistakes in how he deals with the teens in his care. He will also be unprepared to take care of himself in a healthy manner - adaptation center leaders are investing themselves, their strength and health (physical, emotional and spiritual) into the lives of these teens. There comes a time when a leader simply has nothing more to give and finds himself empty, burnt out and helpless. We want to help leaders regain their strength before they reach this point, to evaluate their own inner condition, and even find healing for old wounds they themselves are carrying around in their hearts as they attempt to minister to others.

Apart from that, the very atmosphere of the school is healing and encouraging. The adaptation center leaders are able to get to know many others who have also committed themselves to the same ministry. Their times of fellowship and sharing experience are enriching times for each and every one. As they share their triumphs and tragedies in ministry with one another, they are able to learn from each other and hopefully avoid making the same mistakes in ministry to their teenage orphanage graduates that others have. Maybe more than anything else, this time helps the leaders to grow spiritually, strengthening their faith that the ministry they have begun - the mnistry that they were called to - is blessed by God.


Nadezhda Shtefan,

Director of Agape's Ministry Schoolfor Adaptation Center Leaders