New Direction Ministries, a 501c3 non-profit, nondenominational ministry was founded by Bridget and David Walls. The vision and mission of New Direction was birthed from insight they received while a family in crisis with situations in their own home with teenagers. They became aware of the reality that most adolescent and family care was cost prohibitive for many families. In 1996 David (a stock broker) and Bridget ( a licensed professional counselor) heard the call from the Lord to find a place set-apart in which teens and families could come and receive restoration. Stepping out on faith, both quit their jobs and opened a counseling center with the policy that no one would ever be turned away for inability to pay.
New Direction Farm opened in 1998 in Madison County as a residential school for teenagers experiencing relational difficulties such as failure in school, oppositional defiance, Attention Deficit Disorder. Many hands from many churches worked together to transform the fallow mountain top farm into a thriving community for over 300 teenagers to live, receive schooling, and counseling and most importantly to be taught about God’s perfect plan for redemption through Jesus Christ. The average length of stay was 2 years. The Lord financially provided for these as well as many other families who have received counseling through the support of individuals and churches.
Family work was also a vital component in the work with the teens. Oftentimes adolescent professional treatment is independent from the family. This fragmentation is contrary to the vital importance of the value of the family, as designed by God and undermines the proper position of authority of the parent. Inevitably this diminishes the strength of the family. Many parents have lost a sense of their responsibility in leading their children and teaching them to be contributing members rather than independent, self-absorbed, individuals. These children suffer the relational ability to have intimate relationship with others. We were designed to love God, first and foremost with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength and then to love others as ourselves.
As evidenced in the daily news, our country is rife with ever-increasing violence, sexual and physical abuse of children, increased addictions and depression. We are a culture of immediate gratification and a constant comfort mentality which leads to looking to alleviate symptoms rather than addressing root issues.
The burden of responsibility for change in the family circle must fall upon the parents rather than the children. Change does not occur easily as our behaviors come from deeply engrained beliefs. Unless these beliefs align with what is true according to the Revealed Word of God, there will continue to be disharmony in the family circle. It becomes a matter of replacing old ways with new. This does not occur in a vacuum. In order for change to take root, there needs to be life application in our relationships, the most important of which is God and then family.
As of June, 2014 the decision was made to close down New Direction Farm School in order to fully focus on the deeper work with parents and families. Another ministry, Shechem, will be working with boys on the top mountain property. Continued work with adults and families is further described on the following pages.
“Put me together, one heart and mind. Then, undivided, I will worship in joyful fear” (Psalm 86 The Message )