ATLAS at a Glance

The History of ATLAS

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Walking With Others on the Road of Life: The History of ATLAS:
It's been almost 30 years now since Jerry Kieft came out of New Life Treatment Center, in Woodstock, Mn, and gave his life to the Lord. He moved back to old friends and unfortunately old habits. He felt like he did not fit in church.  He soon found himself back at New Life Treatment.  This time was going to be different!!  He was going to ask for help!  He soon met someone that said he would be his mentor and not only that, but he could come live in his basement.  Jerry decided to go back to school for counseling.  The next time when he came back to New life, it was as a counselor.  He saw many men and women pass through the doors that struggled like he had.  He saw that they needed a mentor, someone to walk this road of life to sobriety and making healthy choices. He soon felt a strong call to start a ministry to help people that "had fallen down" on their journey and were willing to have someone come alongside and pick them up. This led to the ATLAS ministry.  The acronym being ATTAINING TRUTH, LOVE, AND SELF-CONTROL. It is based on the Bible Verse in Ecclesiastes 4:10, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up, but pity the person who falls and has no one to help him up!”   After several years of the Lord blessing the ministry of ATLAS, more and more people asked how they could start an ATLAS in their area.  Soon Jerry and his board knew God was calling them to help start other ATLAS Ministries.  Today there are 16 individual ATLAS ministries across the United States.  They all may look a little different but are based on the same foundation, the same core values and beliefs.  Today, ATLAS Group, continues to help communities start an ATLAS. This means a commitment to prayer over a period of time and then gathering people to support with prayer and finances, as well as mentors to listened and encourage those who are struggling.  God has provided abundantly for the ministry of ATLAS and we are so grateful that God laid this need on Jerry’s heart years ago. We are also grateful that a mentor came alongside and said “Yes, I will walk beside you, Jerry.”  Countless lives have been restored and given hope as God works through this ministry.  We humbled to see Him work!

Beginning of ATLAS for Life in Pipestone County
 In the summer of 2004, after seeing a community need, a group of 20-25 Christians from SW MN began to meet for prayer about starting an ATLAS in Pipestone County.  After meeting for 4 months, ATLAS for Life began in Edgerton, MN in September, with Bob and Stella as directors.  In 2006 the group was led to move ATLAS to Pipestone.  During the next years, the Lord grew the ministry and soon ATLAS needed a larger space in which to operate. In January, 2012, ATLAS purchased the Free Star and Office Supply Building at 101 2nd St, NE.  It was evident that the building needed extensive remodeling.  In this process, God provided over 100 volunteers.  With generous donations and proceeds from many fundraisers, the building was completely paid off in December of 2015.  God provided abundantly!! Praise the Lord!

 As board and staff, we saw God meet every need according to His riches in glory.  We are so thankful for the individuals, businesses and churches that have come alongside us to carry out this ministry.

At this time, it was apparent we needed to raise funds for our monthly expenses of operating an office.  Our Volunteer Coordinator approached the board with having a “Boutique” where they could repurpose furniture and items and sell them with proceeds going for monthly expenses.  The east portion of the building was designated for the boutique with a work space in the back.

2015 found several faithful volunteers finding items to “repurpose” and since opening, has had several special “boutique events”.  God has shown his faithfulness again through the volunteers repurposing and people purchasing items to provide funds for the ministry.  In the fall of 2016, the board could see that the “work area” was too small, and storage for work projects for the Boutique needed more room .  It was decided to utilize the basement by putting on a garage with a 6 foot wide staircase to move items downstairs until they could be restored.  In addition, the basement affords much needed space for storage of supplies.

God continues to increase the number of people who come through our doors in need of someone to walk along side them in their struggles.  It is our hope we will continue to meet that need in our community through mentoring, classes, encouragement and prayer.


What is ATLAS?

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Our Mission
As Christ's love compels us, we reach out and together touch lives for Christ.

Our Strategy
Connect those who are hurting with a Christian mentor who will love them as they are and encourage them to grow in their faith and daily walk.

Our Goal
To show Christ's love to the hurting and in doing so, invite them to share in the comfort, peace, and hope that Jesus provides.

ATLAS (Attaining Truth, Love, And Self-control) is a non-profit organization which provides a way for Christians to intentionally connect with non-Christians (or Christians with other Christians) in an informal, Christ-centered mentoring relationship.

At ATLAS we Help Hurting People: Sooner or later, all of us will go through a tough time in life. ATLAS provides a point of contact for struggling people (or people who want to grow or just want a mentor) to get help and work through the healing process.

ATLAS Equips Believers: We train Christians from the community to be mentors that walk along-side others who are hurting or want to grow.  We also provide on-going support to mentors who have been paired with a client.

ATLAS Unites the Community: People are connected through ATLAS.  We connect someone struggling with someone else who has been through a similar difficulty in life and is now further down the road. Many of these relationships

Statement of Faith:
We believe that God calls us to come along side the hurting and the lost based on Ecclesiastes 4:10: "If one falls dow, his friend can help him up, but pity the person who falls and has no one to help him up." Understanding this, we are devoted to work side by side with people who are committed to helping others attain truth, love, and self-control.  We believe people can and will attain truth, love and self-control through the power and love of Jesus Christ.  Therefore we want everyone we work with to understand our core beliefs.

*We Believe in one eternal God who has revealed Himself in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4;  Mt. 28:19)

*We believe the Bible is the true and inspired Word of God, and that it is without error in all that it affirms.  We believe God 's Word is our one authority for the practice of life and faith. (Is 55:11; 2 Tim 3:16)

* We believe that the historical Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord and Savior of all humanity and that He is fully God and fully man.  We believe Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin and Mary and that He lived a perfect and sinless life.  We believe He died, was buried, and rose again from the dead to pay for our sins and give us eternal life and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  (Mt. 1:18,  John 1:1, 14; Heb. 9:11-15)

*We believe there is only one Name given under heaven and earth by which people might be saved, and that Jesus is the one way to have a relationship with the God of eternity.  (John14:6; Acts 4:12)

* We Believe God has called us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all people.  We believe every person must understand the flowing truths:  eternal life is a free gift of grace,  all people are sinner in need of grace, God is loving but He is also just and will punish sin, therefore, God sent Jesus Christ into creation to take upon himself the punishment for our sins, and that all who believe in Jesus Christ with their whole heart and mind and confess their faith in Him will be saved( Matt. 28:19-20; Romans 3:23; 6:23; I John4:8; Ex. 34:7; John 6:47)

*We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives.  The Holy Spirit comes to guide, sanctify, convict and grow each believer in Christ's likeness and to lead the lost into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 15;26-27; 16:8-11)

* We believe in the power of prayer.  We believe God has called us in prayer to intercede for our communities, our churches, our leaders, and our world. (Gen. 18:16-33; I Thess. 5:17; James 5:16)

* We believe Jesus Christ established the church so that through it, He might proclaim the love of God to all the people's of the earth.  We exist to serve the Church in her mission to share that love of God.  We believe that all Christian are called by God to be active participants in a local church by sharing in the mission of Jesus Christ in that church and participating in the fellowship of believers. (Gen. 12:1-3; Eph. 4:11-16)

*We believe that God has called us to equip believers in Jesus Christ to disciple all people and that we have a responsibility to work for justice and reconciliation in all aspects of our community (Mt. 25:31-46)

* We believe the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, and therefore, every Christian should resolutely determine to be about the work of the Kingdom of God. (Matt. 24:22-24)

Founder: Jerry Kieft's Story

Founder, Jerry Kieft’s Story
I was raised in a small rural community in northwest Iowa where my Father was an Elder in the church from the time I was young. My upbringing consisted of going to church twice on Sunday, catechism and learning all the right things that I needed to do to be “Christian.” Even though I knew what I was supposed to do I was a young man that wanted to find my own beliefs. Unsure of who God was and what an authentic relationship with Him looked like, I rebelled against my parents and upbringing.
Early in my journey I was making unwise decisions that led to problems with alcohol, drugs, and pornography. By the time I was 26 my life was quickly spinning out of control. I found myself dropping out of college and soon thereafter ended up homeless on the streets of Mesa, AZ. In the midst of all the external turmoil I began wrestling with God, wondering just what my purpose in life was really about. During this desert time in my life God began a mighty work in my heart and I realized there had to be something more for me. My philosophy in life had always been “don’t knock it until you try it,” and I found myself on my knees saying, “Jesus if you’re real I cannot say anything against you until I try you.” At that moment my life was transformed forever as I felt Christ and His Holy Spirit come upon me.
The next years proved to be more fulfilling as I began focusing on God and service to His kingdom while surrounding myself with caring, Godly people. After completing my education, I became an Inpatient Counselor at a Chemical Dependency Treatment Center for 6 years, and then continued in ministry as a Youth Pastor. It was while I reflected on these two experiences in my life that the vision for ATLAS was born. As an Inpatient Counselor I saw people who would come into treatment and do very well then go back into their communities and fall flat on their face. I began wondering why the body of believers did not surround these people and support them as the Bible commands us to. Then as a youth pastor it became apparent to me that the hurting people did not always grace the doors of the church, allowing the body of believers to provide the needed support for them. It was clear to me that we could do a better job as the body of believers of loving hurting people, walking along-side them and carrying their burdens whether they were in or outside the walls of our churches.
I also realized that we needed to equip and encourage the saints in our churches to walk beside these people in a mentoring role. This had been modeled so clearly in my life by a man named Gordon Kuik. He saw me in the pit, in a pothole of life and said, “God created you for a better reason than to be sitting on a bar stool or putting drugs in your veins. Get out of this pothole and walk with me and I’ll show you what life with Christ is all about.”
By helping hurting people wherever they may be and equipping people in our churches to reach out in compassionate service I feel that the Biblical mandate of uniting our churches and communities will start to happen. We must drop the denominational walls and work together in our communities to help those that are hurting, no matter what that hurt is. Alcohol or drugs, pornography, marriage problems, financial problems, spiritual problems or mental problems – we as Christians need to walk beside God’s children and love them for who they are.