Story of ATLAS

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 of West Central Minnesota:

ATLAS of West Central Minnesota was formed in 2015. Through their own experiences, our founding members observed the critical place relationships have in our lives - both our relationship with God and our relationships with others. ATLAS of West Central Minnesota was formed to help people develop or deepen their relationship with God and develop healthy, Christ-centered relationships with others. We started mentoring adults in 2016 and youth in 2022.

Core Values

The following non-negotiable core values comprise the very heart of every ATLAS organization and are our foundational principles.

  • Christ-centered

    • Luke 19 states, "Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost." Following in Christ's footsteps, ATLAS will focus on helping the hurting and lost find redemption, restoring broken relationships and uniting the body of believers.
    • John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me."
    • John 15:4-5 "Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
  • prayer-based

    • ATLAS seeks to "Go where Christ is working." That being said we need to be in constant prayer and communion with God to discern His will and direction for our ministry. Each team member is greatly encouraged to make prayer a part of their workday.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 "Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
    • Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with all thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
  • spirit-led

    • We feel strongly that the impact of ATLAS relies solely on the Holy Spirit providing the needed wisdom and counsel to transform lives and communities. God tells us in His Word that it is "neither might nor human power, but by His Spirit that great things will be done." Zechariah 4:6
    • 2 Corinthians 4:7 "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
    • Isaiah 61:1-4 "The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
  • grounded in mentoring

    • God demonstrates the importance of living in community and relationship with others by giving us the example of Jesus' ministry. Jesus was willing to go off His intended path to invest in those people who needed him. In the book Connecting, Larry Crabb writes, "There is power in community. It is the power of connection, of entering someone's life with the energy of Christ, of seeing someone's heart with the mind of Christ, of touching someone's soul with the love of Christ."
    • Galatians 6:2 "Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
  • inter-denominational

    • Christ's body refers to the entire body of believers, not just one particular denomination. It is crucial for the effectiveness and sustainability of ATLAS to work hard at connecting with each Christ-centered church in the community, making sure there is representation on our board from different churches and that we are keeping each congregation informed about the work and progress of ATLAS. We must seek to be unified for the sake of advancing the Kingdom.
    • Ephesians 4:12-13 "To prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
    • 1 Corinthians 1:10 "I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
    • Ephesians 4:3-5 "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."