About me

I'm just a believer that is recovering from my experience at Teen Mania's Honor Academy and I would like to share my journey of healing with you.

May 2, 2013

Megyn's Story

Since I came to Teen Mania as a staff member instead of an intern, my story is a little different than most here. I graduated from Bible College in the early 90's and struggled with what I was supposed to do with my life. I always had a desire to work in TV and the doors opened for me to do that. But I always felt conflicted by not working in “full time ministry.“  I struggled with should I be working at a regular job or should I be in the ministry, doing a "God" job? Even though I had a great job in the television industry, I never felt at ease because I thought I should be working in the ministry.

One day, I was called with an opportunity to develop a TV production for TM (this was prior to their in house production at the Center for Creative Media). I thought I hit the jackpot because this would be a "God" job. I would finally be working full time in the ministry doing something that I love doing. I flew down to TX for an interview. When I arrived, an uneasiness nagged at me deep down but I didn't take heed. At the time I was working in a very established job with people whom I loved.  It was a hard decision to leave but I thought this was Gods will.  When I arrived in TX, I had an incredibly overwhelming feeling of what I had just done. 

Not only did Texas feel like another world, but on top of that, the culture of Teen Mania was a different world. Some of the staff was nice at first but I often felt a superior attitude with those who have been with Teen Mania for a while. I know this wasn’t the case for all but I definitely got that sense from some.  I really enjoyed meeting all of the interns.  If I needed anything set up in my apartment I always had a helping hand. 
Many things really struck me when I started working there.  I thought it was awesome that young people would go to a place to really search their hearts to see what God wanted for them.  I did however think something was off by having young people basically pay to work.  I don’t know how anyone can justify this kind of treatment.  I have heard often that you should “treat it like ministry” yet to the higher ups it’s treated as a business.   I don’t think its right to have young people work for free, especially when the work is more than 8 hours a day on top of other tasks they are expected to do. I remember talking to a few interns who were in tears because they could not raise the money to stay in Teen Mania.  When I attended Bible College I did pay to attend. The difference is I got a degree and didn’t have to work off being there.  Most places I know, because of labor laws, pay interns to work.  From what I understand it is somewhat illegal not to pay people who are putting in 8 hours with no health benefits. To me that was a MAJOR red flag, especially having the experience of working for many years.

As the weeks moved on, I noticed how incredibly disorganized Teen Mania was. For a place where accountability is constantly preached, I didn’t find that to be true from a business point of view.  I met several production houses who did work for Teen Mania and they all said the same thing to me, “You left your good job to work there? “ The pit in my stomach was continuing to grow every day.  The more I would question things the more I would get shunned from staff. (Apparently, women at Teen Mania are not supposed to speak up or have differing opinions.)  I got the impression that business ran off the bare bones and yet still expected things to run flawlessly.  I remember the equipment that was purchased wasn’t right. When I had questions about it, I had a person on a higher level say they never saw someone complain so much and that other departments have a lot less and they make it work. I told him he was naive to think someone could lay hands on production gear and ask the Lord to make it do something else other than what it was supposed to do. Needless to say, that comment didn't win me any favor. If I gave suggestions on bringing ideas for developing anything I was made to feel like I walking against the grain. I was completely like a fish out of water. They wanted a high quality TV show yet lacked the knowledge how to produce and edit one.
I also had another staff member tell me that when I was working in the world, I was a bright light in a dim place.  With me working at Teen Mania, I was now a dim light working in a bright place. I was so hurt, so offended that I quit shortly after that.  When I left I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. For a long time I had questioned myself and that experience. I actually had a few people from Teen Mania contact me to see if I could connect them to anyone from MTV because they wanted their TV shows to be creative like that.  I was highly offended to say the least and I did not assist them.

After my experience, I was very hurt and very confused.  I came home very withdrawn and feeling like the worst person. Shortly after that, doors did open for me and I have been very blessed with my current job.  I work for a major network that reaches the world. Once I started getting back into the swing of things I really looked at what had happened at Teen Mania. I knew I had a choice to make. God didn’t turn His back on me, He actually used a not so pleasant experience for the good. I work with a lot of young people who literally come to work here from all over the world.  I remember how I was treated at Teen Mania and vowed never to do that to anyone.  I may not have gone all around the world doing a skit or preaching, but I learned everything to do everything just as Christ would.  Sometimes it may not be the most glamorous thing but even if it’s a small thing it matters to the person you are helping plus Christ.  I read a lot of the stories on this blog and my heart truly goes out to all those who had a bad experience. I hope I can be an encouragement.  I am not bitter at the Lord nor am I at that ministry.  I chose to take away a positive thing from a bad experience. It didn’t happen overnight but I don’t look back with regrets.

6 comments:

What the duck when I was working in the world, I was a bright light in a dim place. With me working at Teen Mania, I was now a dim light working in a bright place...... really

no you were(are) the still bright light they just could not see how they were the dim ones.

Im glad you moved on

Glad you were able to move on and find a better and healthier environment to work in. I am sorry they did that to you.

"I have heard often that you should “treat it like ministry” yet to the higher ups it’s treated as a business."
Hit the nail on the head. You see a drastically different side of the ministry when you're on staff, and it's not pretty (not that much of TM is pretty).

Also, your comment on how disorganized TM is... yes, yes, yes! And they asked anyone working in the tech areas of the ministry to make miracles out of wires and tape. If you told them it was impossible, you were put down for being negative (defensive much?).

Thank you for sharing!

> "I actually had a few people from Teen Mania contact me to see if I could connect them to anyone from MTV because they wanted their TV shows to be creative like that."

Considering Teen Mania's much-touted vilification of MTV, that's some hilarious hypocrisy on their part.

> "I remember how I was treated at Teen Mania and vowed never to do that to anyone."

Sounds like a pretty worthwhile lesson, actually. :)

Thanks for telling your story, Megyn.

Megyn, from what I understand they pay a lot of the younger staff members rather crap wages. I just don't get why people would go from an intern to making 12k a yr as an employee. Not sure how much you made considering you had a degree.

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