Can You Help Fill This Gap?

Vox Josh Courtney

One of My Boys is coming to Greenville, and he could use your support.

Courtney Owens is a young man from Allendale who . . .

  • was one of the hardest working guys I coached;
  • volunteered at every camp that I asked him to work (and that was a lot);
  • shows a desire to improve himself, such as reading every book I’ve given him, and even going through a book study with a group of guys;
  • impressed a local business owner enough to get hired — an impressive feat in a community of high unemployment and few employers.

Now, he has graduated high school, and is wanting to move on towards success in life. The question before him now is, what does that life look like?

Courtney has been raised by a loving and strong mother, and with the influence of some caring men to give him guidance along the way. But he can use more. He can use Vox Bivium.

What is Vox Bivium? Click here to learn more…

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Summer Camp: Mid-Summer Update

After week off, we are back at Summer Camp. We are thankful to partner with Long Branch Baptist Church, as it has been a wonderful opportunity for our family, and for 40+ children in this neighborhood and in this church.

This experience has been new for us — being leaders at a summer camp without being in charge of it. We are thankful that we haven’t been in charge. For one, it has helped us to step back and not carry such a big load. But even more, we see that the leaders at Long Branch have done a number of things so much better than we could have!

During the first few weeks of this camp, Joanna and I noticed how loving those leaders are. This church has some younger adults and college students serving, most of the ones involved are older. And while these folks might not have the energy level they once did, their love and passion for children is obvious.

Click here to learn more, and to watch a fun video of our campers…

The Hope for Unseen Greenville

Unseen Greenville Panel

Since we moved back to Greenville a year ago (and especially since we now live downtown), I’ve learned a few things about our city:

Greenville does a great job “hiding” its problems (such as poverty).

And (as a result of this),

It’s easier to raise money and awareness for places like Allendale than it is for Greenville.

Now, both of these observations are vast generalizations. Most of us in Greenville are aware of real problems and needs in our community. And we have had lots of supporters for our ministry in Greenville.

But when most people think of Greenville, they think of all the Top 10 lists that our city finds itself on, for food, raising a family, and more. And we are so confident in our superiority that we boast of our hashtag #yeahTHATGreenville.

Still, if you hang around long enough and open your eyes and hear, you’ll see the unseen Greenville.

You’ll want to SEE this . . .

Clubhouse Kids: By the Numbers

This is our last week of Clubhouse Kids after school program, before we take a break for the summer.

We could share lots of stories of how we’ve seen children grow and learn and be loved. I already have, here and here and here.

Instead, especially since I’m a math guy, I’ll just share some numbers of what’s been happening over the past few months:

  • nearly 150 hours of reading,
  • more than 250 hours of homework assistance,
  • more than 250 hours of exercise and physical activity by children (to say nothing of us adults!)
  • dozens of arts and crafts creations (all credit to my wife)
  • 180 volunteer hours (which is worth far more than the calculated $4152.60)
  • 520 snacks served to children, virtually all of which were donated
  • $2500 donated to send kids to summer camps

This doesn’t quantify the new relationships that formed, especially between kids from the neighborhood and outside the neighborhood (since they don’t go to school together).

And it doesn’t include the spiritual and emotional investment our team has made in the hearts of these children. As one mom told me:

“They come home talking about all kinds of stuff about the Bible that you guys are teaching them.”

To our volunteers, families, and donors, we give a big . . .

THANK YOU!!!

You are making an invaluable and eternal difference.

Job(s) Update: Have I Enjoyed Teaching?

Lead Academy

Next week, middle schoolers across the state will begin taking standardized tests. This includes my math students at Lead Academy.

Most teachers love the few weeks after testing and before the end of the year, since they get to come up with fun and engaging projects. Not me. My expertise is not in designing and leading projects, and I’m more about “working hard” than “having fun.” (Not exactly what middle schoolers look for in a teacher.)

Have I Enjoyed Teaching?

Over the past few months, when people have asked me if I’ve enjoyed teaching, I . . . hesitate . . . and . . . pause . . . for . . . a . . . while. . . . That is usually all the answer they need.

Don’t hesitate. Click here to learn more…

Circles Initiative

Have you heard of the Circle Initiative? Here’s a snapshot:

I’m hankful for this initiative (which is going on all over the country, including right here in Greenville, SC). The mission and success of programs like this is why I firmly believe that relationships are the pathway to solving social issues.

Related Links:

Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get the Gospel into the Schools

Augusta Circle Elementary

Any evangelical Christian would love the opportunity for the gospel to be presented in schools. But we lament the “separation of church and state” and come up with outside programs. And we shy away from programs like in-school mentoring, because they are “secular.”

If this is how we approach this issue, we are thinking about the gospel wrong. We are misunderstanding the full-scope of God’s redemptive work, and we are missing obvious ways to let our light shine, so that God is glorified (Matthew 5:16).

Alvin Reid writes, “The public school campus is arguably the greatest mission field in America.” I agree.

We (the church) can gain immense credibility and have a meaningful impact, by investing in an institution that directly involves more than 85% of all the youth in our country (data here and here). And when you consider that most public school students are growing up in poverty, you know that help is needed.

What can YOU do? I’m glad you asked…