What God is doing in a partnership between a public school and a church is something ONLY He can plan and orchestrate. For the past four years the partnership between Julius Marks Elementary and TCCC has continued to grow. This year alone there are 8 tutors going to JME on a weekly basis from our church. At Christmas time gifts were given to 15 kids and 6 families received Christmas baskets. In August, 250 backpacks were given away, but this year we personally handed the backpacks to the kids and families at the school’s back to school night. The latest incredible event ended with a LEX 18 news story “Ornaments for Orphans” where 1st, 2nd, and 5th graders made ornaments to sell. All proceeds went to the orphanage in Liberia that a group of people from TCCC started. This financial and spiritual support ministry is called Psalm 82:3 Mission. The end result was over $800 given directly to the children! It’s what God is doing, but for the past couple years we wondered if there was something we could be a part of that would get kids from JME into our church for more personal relationships and sharing Jesus with them!
In September, we asked about this idea and soon the new guidance counselor, Dustin Robinson, replied with a great need for a BOYS ONLY mentor group for preteen boys. Through October, November, and December, I met and prayed with school and community partners, and together we watched God move to start a new group called “Pit Crew.” We asked teachers to identify boys from the school that could use a program like this and they gave us 13 names. Then, just before Christmas I met with the boys and told them they had a chance to be a part of something new as a team. Together, the counselor and I, challenged them to “step up” and accept the challenge. We encouraged them by telling them they were special. I wish I would have had a camera to record their reactions. Boys that may not have had much confidence, sat up straight in their chairs, and puffed out their chest. To be asked was an honor to them.
So– running every Tuesday from 3:30-5:30 pm is Pit Crew! It’s a ministry built on I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” We are still looking for men who will accept the challenge. We have 3 dedicated mentors and a couple Jr. Mentors (high schoolers) on the team, but are open to more. It’s not a ministry for the medium commitment. It’s a ministry for men who want to commit to making a real difference in 16 weeks for a young boy or group of boys trying to find their way. Oh yeah, we’re also building race cars!