"You want to die?"
This was the catch phrase of one of our teachers Big Paul. We had a whole house of young adults- on probation, drug problems, sex addictions, and worse hopelessness. They were plagued by violence and bad attitudes, their lives hurtled toward a deep abyss of overdose, prison, and death. Big Paul would cut thru all their bull and excuses. He would stare right into their eyes and ask them "You want to die?"
Do you know that when you have no hope for a better future, you will want to die? Hopelessness is so powerful it can cause a beautiful young girl to cut herself, a strong young man to smoke crack, a middle aged dad to abandon his family.
Matthew 28:16 - 20
The Great Commission
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”_
In 1989 I was 19 years old. I had just got out of the Navy after a medical discharge. I was angry, lonely and searching. One day I found myself sitting in the office of Park Village Church in Memphis, TN talking to pastor Tim Viner.
"Tim, what does God want me to do with my life?" I asked.
He looked at me and smiled. "What do you want to do in life? I mean what is your big dream?"
"Well, don't laugh but I want to help young men become preachers. I don't mean good church dudes. Im talking about gangsters, druggies and homeless guys."
Tim pushed his glasses up on his nose. "That is interesting. Why would you do that?"
"Look I think the problem is simple enough. These people have no dads, no deep connections, they need family and purpose."
"Bryan, You are absolutely correct. I am going to ask the elders to ordain you as a missionary and youth minister."
"I don't know the bible enough for that!"
"That's okay. You know martial arts, you know computers, you know art. Ill help you learn the bible. You teach these kids what you know. You pray for them. You share the bible with them as you learn it. And to prove I am serious this church will pay for you to attend bible college."
Soon I was ordained as a youth minister and a misionary to street kids in Memphis.
This is how we started. We originally started with two gang members in Memphis. That group grew to almost thirty kids. Some of them lived with my family. This started an awesome adventure that has taken me all over the United States.
Since that time we have pastored 6 churches, planted 2 churches, founded a bible college, raised 45 foster kids of all ages, housed and discipled nearly 20 adults, and we have housed and discipled 2 whole families (the mom, dad, and their kids.) We had students come from all over the world and saw many lives changed.
Now we are in Girard, KS and we are planting a new chapter in our life. A vocational home of discipleship that combines bible education, vocational training, and healthy Christian love and encouragement to those who need a change in their lives.