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Teen Mania: ESOAL

September 22, 2010
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I get a call every few weeks or so from a group called Teen Mania. I usually just put them on speaker, let them give me their 10 min spill, and I keep working on whatever I need to do.

Shocking I know, but youth pastors do actually work.

It’s been a while since I had a good reminder about why I will never participate in anything this group does. Then I saw this story over at Jesus Needs New PR and everything came rushing back in.

Ever heard of ESOAL? Well, neither have I. Apparently it’s part of their Honor Academy. I always thought that Ron Luce and his teen maniacs were militant in both their theology and practice, but I had no idea they actually had a boot camp to train their army.

Seriously.

Watch this video and try not to cringe. Make sure you keep an ear open for these wonderful lines: “when interns ate cat food” and “Don’t you yack it up. If you puck it up you’re gonna eat it back up again.”

If Teen Mania ever comes to your town please, please, please take your students and get out of Dodge.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Wes permalink*
    September 22, 2010 11:00 am

    I also get phone calls from these people all the time. Mostly they do this event/rallies all around the country and try to get youth groups to attend. I was interested at first, but when I started checking them out, I was really concerned by the combative and militaristic message that they were sending. These conferences were called Battle Cry, and their representatives urged me to prepare my kids for battle with the world.

    Also, if you have seen the video “Lord Save Us From Your Followers,” it has footage from a rally where they took the teenagers to the streets of San Fransisco to protest (cant remember what they were protesting, but im fairly certain it had something to do with homosexuality). What concerned me wasn’t necessarily that they were protesting, but the way they were doing it. These kids were absolutely whipped into a frenzy- there was a mob mentality that was truly concerning.

    Anyways, when they call now- I voice my concerns. Then they pray for me.

  2. Former Intern 2001 permalink
    September 22, 2010 1:40 pm

    First of all I want to thank you for listening to the interns who called you. Nearly 10 years ago I went to the Honor Academy and became an ATF telephone promoter. I called youth pastors to promote the ATF events. I was highly trained in how to deal with certain objections I’d get from people – mostly denominational based. I called for about a year – and looking back I was successful in filling my event – but I worked long hours, and had to deal with a manager that was less than loving. After all I was there to help feed the TMM marketing machine. I always couldn’t believe it when pastors would hang up on me, and it upset me – since I was literally paying money to sit in a chair for 8 hours a day to try and call as many people as possible.

    I participated in ESOAL my first year and helped produce the event the next year. The place is a breeding ground for legalism and judgement. I was definitely brainwashed to a point where I didn’t realize what was happening to me. Do I regret going to the Honor Academy? Sort of. I ended up staying two extra years since the organization does all it can to retain their trained slaves. 🙂

    I did meet lots of great people who were brainwashed with me and almost 10 years later a few of us laugh about it and call the place a cult – it pretty much is – considering all of our efforts were helping to fund the incomes of everyone on top. I stumbled upon your blog through some other blogs. I’ve been reading the recoveringalumni.blog for about a year now – if you’re not aware – there are PLENTY of stories from alumni about the crazy stuff that happened to them. Anyways – if you get any more calls from Teen Mania – instead of hanging up on them – or listening to their sales pitch, maybe try to convince them to pack up their bags and go home. Maybe a miracle can happen on that phone call and you can literally help save someone a lot of time and money.

    Cheers,

    Former Intern 2001

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