Just the Facts

New director takes reins at men’s center; Barres assumes role as executive pastor

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(Supplied Content)

The board of directors of Men’s Challenge of the Smokies recently announced that Michael Stephens is the new Executive Director, stepping into the role on Feb. 12. Stephens will take over for Mike Barres, who has been executive director of the men’s recovery campus. Barres will continue to be on staff long-term, but in a new parttime position as executive pastor. He will also be involved in extensive mentoring and training of Stephens.

“As most of you know, I am at retirement age,” said Barres. “However, I am not ready to retire completely. For the health and longevity of the ministry program, I felt it was time to have someone else be the executive director. That is the reason for the change. There is no doubt in my mind, or Betty’s, that this is God’s will and God’s timing and [Stephens is] the right person for the job. I look forward to being around campus with general oversight, training, and helping out in any way needed. I also look forward to spending more time visiting pastors and supporters of this wonderful ministry program. Betty will no longer be working at Men’s Challenge. She will retire and Amy Stephens, Michael’s wife, will be working alongside him as our new administrative assistant.”

MICHAEL STEPHENS and his wife, Amy, have taken on the roles of new executive director and administrative assistant, respectively.

Stephens has 30 years of ministry experience and has lived in Franklin for nine years. He has been on the Men’s Challenge of the Smokies board of directors for five years. For many years, he has offered a monthly support group for individuals with addiction issues who live in Macon County.

Stephens has formerly pastored a local church and worked with Four Seasons Hospice. He served seven years as an original board member of Heart for Families, a local nonprofit ministry created to help strengthen marriages and families in the region. Stephens is also working on a counseling degree from Liberty University.

Previously, he served four years as a medical corpsman with the United States Marine Corps and completed one deployment in Operation Desert Storm.

MEN’S CHALLENGE regularly holds graduation ceremonies for those who have completed the 12-month program.

The Men’s Challenge of the Smokies board of directors includes Rick Westeman, executive director of Habitat for Humanity/Macon and Jackson County; Richard Tirrell, a CPA based in Waynesville; Rob Loafman, Edward Jones Investments in Bryson City; David Odell, a retired paramedic; Alise Sutton, a Macon County probation officer; Forest Jones, a retired pastor; and Wesley Price, a retired pastor.

The Men’s Challenge of the Smokies’ program will continue to be non-denominational and accredited with Adult and Teen Challenge USA. For more information about Men’s Challenge of the Smokies, visit: www.mtcots.com.