Gang Intervention Specialist and Juvenile Justice Advocate, Amy "Hope Dealer" Williams, will share how true community and healing begins when we experience the power of story, intentional listening and genuine compassion. Williams' Tedx Talk, "Putting the Human Back in Humanity," provides a powerful reminder of the unfortunate shortcomings of judging people based on lazily-contrived labels. By validating one’s humanity, we create authentic relationships that can change the world. Enjoy!
“To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in His will makes us dangerous.”
~ Erwin McManus from An Unstoppable Force
Typically when someone is considered dangerous, it means they are likely to cause damage or danger to someone or something. In essence they are a threat to safety, order, and peace. As I think about it, I want to be an intentional threat, but not to safety, order, and peace. I want to be a threat to things that injure, defeat, oppress, and negatively impact lives, especially young people.
The world is full of people who play it safe. I don’t want to be one of them. I want to live my life on the edge. However, I’m not necessarily talking about “death-defying” activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, or wrestling wild animals (that’s for a different post). I’m talking about maximizing my full potential by utilizing my God-given abilities, talents, gifts, and resources to be a catalyst for life transformation.
I have learned over time that being a life transformation catalyst means that I must be willing to smash the status quo, i.e. standards that people and society have accepted that shouldn’t be. I can’t strive for a life of ease and comfort. I have to take risks, stretch my faith, strategically apply my giftedness, and reach out to people that others have rejected.
By living dangerously, I want to smash the status quo for youth and young adults in the areas of:
If you're a parent or a teacher you already know that teenagers think much differently than you do. However, sometimes it's hard to understand why. Well here is a an excellent graphical explanation that will help you understand why teenagers think and behave differently than adults, and it's based on the developmental process of the brain (and not just some insatiable desire to be rebellious :-).
Tim Elmore, one of the foremost experts in youth development, has written a powerful article, Seven Shifts as Generation Z Becomes Generation Y. In this article he explains what's happening with the "next" generation of kids as they morph into adulthood, and shift away from old realities into new ones. Here are a few of his points...
These are some great points for those who want to understand and serve those in the millennial generation.
Read the entire article at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/seven-shifts-as-generation-y-becomes-generation-z
The 4th of July is a time when Americans celebrate our independence from an oppressive government more than 200 years ago. What's really interesting about the time we live in now is that millions of Americans are still fighting for their independence. However, in this case it's not from an oppressive government. They are actually fighting for their independence from the loving God. Watch the video to learn more…
What are your thoughts?
For the past two weeks I have had a front row seat to the real condition of many of our young people through a business training I have been facilitating for at-risk youth through Greater Works Vocational Discipleship Program in Atlanta. It is heartbreaking to hear the deep sense of hopelessness a lot of them have that leads to their often rebellious and sometimes violent behavior. Although that behavior is never acceptable, I have a better understanding of the mindsets with which a great number of them are wrestling.
There are two obvious needs which are at the heart of the matter - economic insufficiency and spiritual deficiencies. Our society will see the destructive cycles of family and community degradation increase to greater levels if we don't address these conditions with a stronger sense of urgency.
God placed it on our hearts to respond to this urgent need by equipping youth with the tools needed to successfully break out of these cycles. This starts with inspiring them to dream big, identify their purpose, discover their unique talents, and apply their skills to impact their own communities. We use faith based business training that focuses on two main things: 1) the development of entrepreneurial and social skills, and 2) the growth of profitable enterprises that positively impact other people.
For the second consecutive year, Kinsman Community Ministries, Inc. will host the Inc. My Dream Young Boss Camp this summer in South Atlanta for youth ages 12 to 18. For two weeks, from July 13th - 24th, a select number of students will be trained in leadership, problem solving, business development, and more, with the goal of producing viable solutions that will have a direct benefit in their own communities and beyond. Last year's camp was a great success and we expect this one to be even better as we expand from 1 week to 2 weeks.
This camp is free to the students. So in order to cover our expenses we are inviting you to be one of the special 15 business sponsors we are seeking to donate at least $1000 each to partner with us to meet this urgent need of transforming the lives of these at-risk youth. In addition to the great benefits you will receive as a sponsor, your invaluable partnership with us will allow this innovative economic development initiative to become a blueprint that will export Christ-centered “economic evangelism” to poverty-challenged communities in other areas of Metro Atlanta, around the United States, and ultimately all over the world.
Click here to download the sponsorship package
Even if you can't donate the full $1000, your financial support at any level will help pay for the trainers, curriculum, supplies, food, and other resources needed to make this an unforgettable experience (the itemized list is in the sponsorship package). If we don't invest in our youth, we can't expect them to break the destructive cycles and become all that God created them to be.
We understand that to rebuild communities we must strengthen families spiritually and economically. And we hope that you share this same commitment.
God bless you and thanks in advance for helping us meet the urgent need of transforming the lives of these young leaders for our communities and His glory!
Families are in crisis all over this country. Youth have a deep sense of hopelessness. Schools in inner cities and are failing. It seems like there are a lot of giant issues taunting people everywhere.
This is not much difference between these giants and the giants who taunted a group community thousands of years ago. A young shepherd boy named David showed up on the front lines of a war wondering why nobody was fighting the giant that was taunting his people. The question he asked those around him who should have been fighting was, "Is there not a cause?" He was angry and frustrated that no one was addressing an obvious situation that was negatively impacting a lot of people.
Is There Not a Cause?
The Gospel has the power to transform lives, but if we never take it outside of our church services and to the people in our communities who need it the most, they may never have the opportunity to experience God’s power. Christian CEOs are problem-solvers that use their businesses as platforms to bring positive changes to the places where God positions them to serve (see You Are a C.E.O.).
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best as he described the practical role that the Gospel is to play to combat the challenges that are faced everyday in our cities and communities:
“The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only with his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being. A religion that professes a concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.”
Christian CEOs have the potential to decrease the potency of the kingdom of darkness in our neighborhoods, communities, and cities, which will result in a higher quality of life, naturally and spiritually. Specific areas where we should see direct results from our efforts include:
You have the opportunity as a Christian CEO to be a transformational agent in people’s lives in one or more of these areas. The question is are you willing to take the challenge of not just being a financially successful entrepreneur, but to be an empowered community leader who helps deliver people out of spiritual slavery?
I look forward to your comments below...
"Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint." Proverbs 29:18
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12
Like many I was heartbroken when I heard about the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. This tragedy highlights a spiritual epidemic that seems to be going unchecked in our communities - hopelessness. Watch the video below as I share my thoughts on how to stop the devastating cycle of hopelessness that is literally robbing people of their lives…
As you pray for the victims of this shooting, please remember to also pray for the youth of this generation.
There is no doubt the verdict from the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Florida has had a polarizing effect across this country. Many people in the black community and others feel a great injustice was wrought with the acquittal of George Zimmerman. In situations like these it's hard not to be emotional no matter which side of the result that you're on.
One thing for certain is that we still have a race relations problem in this country. And because this is true, we have to be as diligent and intentional as ever to see things from God's perspective in order to move forward in love, but also with the tools and strategies to root out injustice wherever it exists.
READ: How Your Purpose is Connected to Justice
"After the Verdict" will be a special broadcast of Passion in Action TV this Thursday at 7pm ET. We'll have a special panel comprised of communities leaders who'll be discussing how to help our communities move forward positively, especially related to our teens and young adults.
Leroy Barber has dedicated more than 20 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” Leroy Barber is Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, an international organization that works among the most vulnerable of the world's poor. Rev. Barber is on the boards of Mission Year and the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). He is the author of New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community, and Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World. His third book, Red, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight?, will be published this fall. Learn more at www.LeroyBarber.com.
Kenny Pugh is the author of Can You Do It Standing Up? A Different Position On Relationships, which is a compilation of insights targeted at helping people make healthy relationship decisions. As a media personality, life coach, and consultant, he has a passion for establishing, enhancing and restoring interpersonal relationships. He wishes to serve as a vessel of understanding in an era of disconnected, aimless, and broken relationships, and to soothe adversities of all forms, whether practical, relational, or spiritual. Kenny is host of the weekly radio show, Chat Kafe, and is a contributor to CNN and Black Enterprise Magazine. Learn more at www.KennyPugh.com.
Johnnie Porter is a professional chaplain, pastor, entrepreneur, community organizer and counselor. He consistently looks for solutions to empower people to live healthy spiritually, financially, physically, and emotionally. Johnnie has committed his life to serving in the community, mobilizing leaders, and helping those who are overlooked and underresourced. He is also the host of the online radio show Power Up with Johnnie Porter, which provides inspiration and information to help people create positive turning points in their lives.
READ: What About All the Other Trayvons?
Join us for the live stream on your computer or mobile device at 7pm ET only on www.passioninaction.tv.
Last year after the Trayvon Martin tragedy occurred I wrote a blog post talking about what I'll call the "forgotten Trayvons," referring to all the young people over the past few years (and even further back) who have been killed violently and senselessly by guns and other means. Whether it's white-on-black or black-on-black crime, we have a national crisis on our hands that's impacting one community disproportionately more than it's impacting others.
READ: It's a Sin Thing, Not a Skin Thing... Thoughts on Trayvon Martin
This is not a just black problem. This is an American problem. And until we're honest with ourselves - across all ethnicities - about the root causes and very real consequences, we'll waste more time blaming one another rather than collectively and collaboratively creating solutions. In the mean time another Trayvon situation is waiting to happen right around the corner.
It's time to wake up and step up.
I look forward to your respectful comments below. God bless.
LISTEN: Racism. Sexism. Classism. From Paula Dean to the Trayvon Martin Case
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