BY KEVIN KING
I went to court the other day to support a parent whose incarcerated son stood before the judge to be sentenced. After the sentencing they marched in about 15 young men who would also learn their fate. I thought of the last letter that I received from this young man vowing to not neglect to come around the men who were once involved in his life. Regrettably, he stated that if he had remained around Common Ground Montgomery he knows he would not have made the poor choices that landed him in the county jail.
I then remembered the funeral I attended the other week of a young man and remembered the times that I visited him on the drug-infested street where he would hang out. I always asked if he was staying out of trouble and consistently tried to get time with him.
I think of others who have made poor choices only to face the consequences of their actions. I sometimes get discouraged when thinking what if I would’ve had more of an active presence in some of their lives - would the outcome have been favorable?
Other times I remember the warnings I’ve given in the past to those making destructive decisions literally weeks before they ultimately made a decision that would remove them from society.
Last week a young man sat on my couch depressed by a string of misfortunes encountered by his family. As we sat and talked about how his older brother had been in prison the entire eight years I’ve known him. His second to the oldest brother has been in and out of jail since I’ve known him and has done other things that he hasn’t been caught for yet. Thankfully this high school senior whom I met when he was in the 5th grade has never come close to committing an act that would jeopardize his life.
It dawned on me that he has broken a generational pattern in his household. This young man actually loves the Lord and often looks forward to our small group as well as worshipping in his own personal time with the Lord. And he is also one of the guys that his peers would consider ‘cool’. He often speaks of marrying his girlfriend one day and having a family together.
One day he placed his hand on my shoulder in one of my irritated moments and assured me that my investment in him and others wasn’t in vain because the Lord was consistently working through me to reach them. He told me that he personally was fruit of my labor!
I learned so much from this 17 year-old that night. His mother often thanks us and tells us what a wonderful job we’ve done with him in partnering with her.
Reasons like this are why I’m so passionate about the new direction of the mentoring program that is coming together at CGM. Consistency in the life of a child who often doesn’t feel hopeful about life is sadly the norm. When we as parents have the support of a friend who undergirds parents by helping to guide a child it lessens the chance of that child being involved in a destructive lifestyle.
We need mentors all over to serve families by advocating for our youth. If every child had a Godly mentor I know it would affect our neighborhood, city, education system, and fill the body of Christ with new believers and overall advance the Kingdom of God.
Please pray for our mentor program and lasting, impactful relationships with the kids in our community.