I first met Jason Williams in early 2011 at an interest meeting for men who desired to mentor the fatherless youth within Birmingham’s inner-city communities. It was there that we all heard of the Mercy Street Ministry mentorship model that had been taking place in Dallas which involved a 6-9 year commitment from each mentor to his or her respective mentee, beginning somewhere during that mentee’s fourth, fifth, or sixth grade school year.
Jason and I stayed in touch every few months since that first meeting in 2011 as he had been growing his own version of a Mercy Street Ministry that God put on his heart to cultivate in our Birmingham communities: The Aspire Movement. After multiple visits together at my Iron Tribe Fitness offices in downtown Birmingham, it was clear that God had called Jason [and me] to go all-in on what Jason experienced in his pilot for Aspire.
Look no further than Jason’s story to see how incredible God’s sovereignty truly is and why this is where He chose to lead Jason’s path.
As I was able to jump in and serve as a mentor, it was clear that the transformational experience of spiritual growth is just as significant for the adult male mentor, as it potentially can be for the young, fatherless mentee.
Jason says it best when he states there are two groups at-risk–fatherless youth and the church. Fatherless youth are the obvious group, with a greater likelihood of getting into trouble with the law and never graduate from high school. The less obvious group is the church who is at-risk of living completely insignificant lives, overlooking the needs of youth growing up in our own backyard.
By the end of 2014, it was clearer than ever to Jason, the Aspire Board and I that it was time to take The Aspire Movement to the next level. This meant that more than just mentees in Fairfield (West Birmingham) and mentors from a few Birmingham churches would have the opportunity to serve in this incredible transformational cause that God created through Jason’s story.
It was time for us to work together to solidify The Aspire Movement by involving more churches, where mentors are ready to serve in the community, and it was time for us to offer this opportunity to more schools whose youth are in need of this ministry.
Here in 2015, that’s exactly what the Lord has done. Calling Jason from his previous role as Briarwood’s Urban Missions Pastor into his current role as full-time Executive Director of The Aspire Movement.
And for me, both as a mentor for Mekhi and a board member for the ministry, I am more motivated than ever to labor for Christ in any way I am called to, so that we can truly transform these two at-risk groups in His name.
Visit http://www.aspiremovement.org to learn how you can get involved as a mentor and/or donor to help address these two at-risk groups (our youth and the church) in His glorious name.