Changed My Life


A life of service is transformational. Servant-hood means putting others first no matter what. To truly follow Jesus we each need to learn what it means to lead by serving. Our lives can become much more meaningful if we are willing to give our whole selves to the service of the Lord without looking back. Shelterwood men and women often arrive on campus hoping to affect the lives of others when in the end, their lives are also changed. Becky was a part of the Shelterwood team in 2011 and she recognized that, “Life at Shelterwood is different than the ‘real world’ of television mainly because in contrast to a superficial society, things at Shelterwood are REAL. Real relationships, real depth, real pain, real unmasking and transparency, real searching, real breaking, and real sacrifice -which are all REAL HARD. But sowing these things leads to a harvest of real growth, real healing, real purpose, real understanding, and real life change that are worth it…FOR REAL.”

Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:3-5,7).

Moving out of selfishness and into sacrifice is difficult and can be painful but the Bible considers it to be incredibly important. Jesus wants us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. When we follow Him into service He will lead us to a place of peace and contentment. Shelterwood provides you with an opportunity to work with at-risk teens and within a community of fellow believers. Living in community is the first step in living a life of service as much will be asked of you and you will need to learn how to rely on Jesus and others.


The staff of Shelterwood are excited to share with you the Biblical truths that will unleash the true power of Jesus in Your life. Through practical ministry training and ongoing mentoring we are able to provide a powerful experiential approach to discipleship. You will learn it, do it, and then we will process the experience together.  Training is led by our seasoned staff and ministry leaders from the community. While in Shelterwood you will attend classes meant to equip you, as well as give you insight into the teenage culture and the Christian worldview. You will have a better understanding of God, yourself, your gifting and your calling for ministry.  A year in Shelterwood is about you pouring your life into teens, but you are also a part of a team that will support, teach, and care for you.

…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The teens that you will be leading attend the Shelterwood residential treatment center, a residential facility for teens who are struggling with a variety of issues. Most come from Christian homes, and are dealing with rebellion, drug use, poor self-image, pain from a variety of family dysfunctions, and depression. Our staff includes full-time licensed Christian therapists who meet with the teens and parents and a staff of men and women that work directly with you as you walk through the Shelterwood experience. We also provide a fully accredited school for the teens to attend. Shelterwood discipleship students spend time each day with the teens when they are not in school, helping them with homework, doing household chores with them, going to ballgames and the store. There are also opportunities to participate in mission trips to places like Haiti and Mexico and opportunities to serve with local churches, para-church and non-profit service organizations. You live with the teens, experience their struggles with them, and model the love and truth of Christ on a daily basis. It’s difficult, hands-on ministry, but it’s where most of the growth takes place while in Shelterwood.

We believe that we are created for community and that this is reflected in the character of God, Himself in the Trinity. Beautiful unity within diversity is seen most clearly in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By living together with men and women from across the country, and sometimes the world, our students get to experience unity within diversity in a wonderful, albeit challenging at times, way. It’s a year of coming away to be together with the Lord, as Jesus called His disciples to come away and be with Himself for those three years.  Men and women who have completed their year of service in Shelterwood often say that some of their closest lifelong relationships have been established during this time.


Comments from past mentors

“Shelterwood taught me how to die to self. It taught me how to study the Word of God. I learned how to fast and pray. I came face to face with spiritual warfare and learned how to pray with power. I experienced accountability. I experienced giving my life for a child’s life that wasn’t mine, but whom I grew to love and who taught me as much as I did her.” (Jenny)

“I have told many people that my Shelterwood year was the hardest but best year of my life. It was the year that God used to strip me of my misconceptions of Him, faith, and myself, and to build me in His Truth. He shaped and disciplined my heart, made me understand community, and gave me a desire to live abandoned to His will. It was the year that fully prepared me for medical school and the life I now live. I am no less sinful, but live fully now as a disciple of Christ.

God used Shelterwood to change my life, my relationships with others, and, most importantly, my relationship with Him. Before Shelterwood, I was guarded and closed-off. Now, I am transparent and vulnerable. My heart was hard but I have been made soft. My dearest and closest friends to this day are the ones with whom I walked through this year. I hope that everyone has a time in their life when they are impacted as much as Shelterwood impacted me.” (Abby)

“When I look over my life there are paradigm shifting moments that define not just who I am, but who I am in Christ. We are blessed to have these life changing epiphanies once in a great while, sprinkled in the ordinary of life. My experience in the Shelterwood Discipleship program was filled with these moments.” (Michaela)

“My time at Shelterwood provided me with a hands-on lesson in the necessity of community as well as provided a safe environment in which I could face my weaknesses and hone my strengths.” (Ann-Victoria)

“Shelterwood…that’s where life really started, that’s where I first heard God speaking clearly to me, where I understood true freedom, where I found out who I am. That was the place where I trained for the life I have right now. There is something about those people and how wonderfully God uses them for His glory.” (Lumi)

Comment from past Shelterwood teens

“I was in a very rough patch of my life before I went to Shelterwood, I was having a hard time accepting God into my life and I was blaming him for a lot of events that had happened. Being at Shelterwood greatly influenced my life in a positive way, my relationship with God (whom I call Papa) grew very strong, with the help of my big (Shelterwood Mentor), my therapists, and all of my peers. I am in a much better place now than I was before, and my relationship with Papa is prospering.” (Melissa)

“Shelterwood changed and saved my life by giving me love, hope, and the tools I needed to deal with my demons. icon smile Changed My Life I want to be a Shelterwood big sister some day.” (Emily)

“Thanks to my Godly big Sis (Shelterwood Mentor) at Shelterwood I am a changed person. It was a long year and a half that I spent on campus, but I think it was time very well spent. I’m not sure where I would be today if it had not been for my Shelterwood experience. The relationships that I developed that year have lasted and will last a lifetime. I wanted to draw close to God, because I saw a glimpse of him in the way my Big Sister and House Director related to me. They made God very attractive. Thank you to all of the staff at Shelterwood and for the sacrifices you make every day!

I remember the Big Brothers and Sisters (Shelterwood Mentors) playing a big part in my growth. They did not judge me. They encouraged me and walked beside me. I looked up to them. I wanted what they had. I wanted God in my life.”