My man Preacher Sam is getting work done with Open Doors. We really need your prayers, help, and financial support, so if you feel led, let’s partner up. Thanks and God Bless!
The need- through my eyes
As I begin this journey with Open Doors Christian Coaching, I am jumping back into environments that I have been out of for quite some time. When I was in college, I spent a year and a half focused on urban ministry. I learned a lot about unchurched folks from under resourced situations. I regularly hung out with young people who were in pretty tough situations. When I interned in Winston Salem back in 2007, I was intrigued by the church’s efforts to reach out to the inner-city youth, as they were doing an excellent job at the time. When I moved up here in 2008, I began to do some ministry within the homeless community and learned a great deal about their struggles.
I mention these experiences because I believed they have molded my perception of some of our societal problems as well as the problems the church faces in reaching out to those who face these issues day-in and day-out. With the exception of that experience in 2008, my experience in ministry has largely been with young people between the ages of thirteen to eighteen. My heart breaks for young people who may already be in really tough family situations, who then must face the reality of being in a flawed educational system. I’ve noticed that the culture of schools on opposite sides of town is vastly different. Unfortunately this is no coincidence.
For instance, I have begun a partnership with a local ministry doing character education in local schools. Each week, leaders go into middle and high schools to help young men and women grow in character and leadership. I have had the privilege to go into two different high schools with the leader of this ministry and be a part of this program. I have already begun to recognize differences in educational levels between the schools. Students from one school seem to catch on to topics of discussion much more quickly than the students at the other school. I was actually mentioning this on the way to a school a couple weeks ago, and then I watched my words unfold as truth before my eyes.
We were doing an exercise I had seen at the other school a few weeks prior. Students were challenged to walk through a 5×5 maze of colored construction paper sheets. Each sheet of construction paper was an option for students to step on. There was no initial instruction other than which sheet was the first step. From that point, students had an opportunity to figure out the maze- one step at a time. For each misstep, the leader would make a loud noise to indicate that someone else needed to step up because the previous person had chosen incorrectly.
One by one, students attempted to make it through this maze, deciding their next step based on the previous missteps of their peers. When a student had not been paying attention, it showed, because he would oftentimes repeat the mistake of one of his peers. Sometimes this happened even when the student had just watched a mistake happen. The exercise ended up taking much longer to complete than what I had seen at another school. At the other school, the task was viewed as a challenge and students quickly picked up on the missteps of their peers and more often than not, did not repeat them. At this school, the students took it less seriously, and missteps were repeated much more often.
I could list many differences between the students at each school. However, I see the major differing factor as being environment because I do not believe any of these young people is that much different from the others. All of them were young men between fourteen and eighteen. Their family environments are unique but probably are not substantially different. It is their educational environment that seems different.
The brutal truth is that schools with a diverse population seem to have a better system than schools with a less diverse population. Unfortunately, race does play a part, and it is no secret that our community has some huge issues in this area.
The truth I want to focus on, however, is that every student matters and is loved by God. So regardless of their educational or family situation, young people who come to Open Doors will have the opportunity to grow- spiritually, relationally, and physically. Our coaching is definitely multi-faceted in that we want to influence young people to know who God is and his purpose for their lives. We want them to grow in their character and self-worth as we spend time with them. We want them to learn to set goals and accomplish those goals. And we want them to become the best version of themselves physically by using weightlifting and athletic performance.
The need for this type of approach is needed in our community. Young people need positive influence and guidance from good, loving leaders, and we want to provide exactly that through Open Doors Christian Coaching. I will take it a step further and say that Open Doors will be a national network of coaches who’s efforts are geared towards seeing that reality happen in their communities. For me, it is about Winston Salem, NC and Davie County, NC. But I know there are others who feel the same way all across our nation, and my hope is that we can come together and change the landscape of our society so that no young person feels defeated by circumstance.
In order to see this vision become reality, we need your partnership. We need folks who will begin to pray for these students and for God to provide opportunities for impact. We need volunteers in our community who will help with character coaching, mentoring, and athletic development. And we need financial partners who will commit to helping fund this movement.
Please visit gofundme.com/opendoorscc for more information about partnering with us financially.
And if any of this speaks to you, please email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org for more about what we want to do and how you can be a part!