May of 2020-
I watched cities like my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan being torched, looted and destroyed; my stomach churned. It was a disturbing scene unfolding before my eyes. Numerous buildings in the city suffered significant damage, such as the building pictured below.
The senseless violence being committed by people was perplexing. When I got with the Lord in prayer, I asked Him a question, "Why are people so angry?" The response the Holy Spirit gave to me was resounding, "Todd, they have never truly been loved."
Matthew 28:19 tells us to, "Go and make disciples of all nations." A burden in my heart steadily increased. Our West Michigan Community and our entire nation is ripe for souls to come to know Jesus Christ. Our country has endless young people who have not had a love demonstrated to them; therefore, they do not know how to walk in healthy ways, personally or in relation with others. Hurting people, hurt people. Full of bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness, the only voices they hear around them are negative, and they often listen to those voices. The choices these voices lead to often result in a life of incarceration or dependence; a cycle that typically leaves a person feeling purposeless. A question started to enter my mind. What if? Instead of succumbing to the negative voices that are currently around them, they heard a consistently positive voice that told them they are loved by God, they can call on Him, walk in new ways and begin making wise decisions. I couldn't help but see the impact this could have on the community as a whole. The Lord gave me a vision that was beginning to form.
That Vision manifested in MentorMe of West Michigan. A mentoring program for youth in our community who need a committed, caring, positive, adult presence in their lives. One that would pour into them weekly with love, prayer and encouragement. One that would place a loving mentor into a youth’s life up to 4 hours each week.
The most frequent response in regards to mentoring is that people do not have time to add another thing to their plate. This was not going to stop the vision the Lord gave me. The bible says that “the workman is worth his wages,” and “those who preach the gospel may earn their living from the gospel.” To that end, we decided to set up a ministry that makes mentoring a profession. We hire, train and support our mentors financially, developmentally, and prayerfully. Much like the Church supports its youth pastors, foreign missionaries and lead pastors. In other mentoring programs I’ve been a part of, the mentor’s time commitment is less than an hour per week. Often, if a higher priority arises in a mentor's schedule, canceling for the week can occur. Having mentors who are paid can help negate this issue by adding a layer of accountability. A greater level of consistency from the mentor, should lead to a higher impact and value received from the relationship the student has with the mentor. And since a price tag cannot be placed on a heart turning to Jesus and being saved for eternity, supporting our mentors in these ways is an easy decision.
In all my experiences in life; coaching football at Unity Christian High School. pastoring a church, running a development company, NOTHING compares to the moments of seeing one’s life change and choosing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Having consistent, supportive, and godly adults in my life has had a significant and positive impact on me. I thank the Lord for what He has done in my life, and I believe MentorMe of West Michigan is going to have an eternal impact on our students and their families as well, both present and future!
The foundation of MentorMe of West Michigan is built on prayer! We covet your prayers as we seek to hire Mentors & Guides who are sold out to the cause of Jesus Christ and have a passion to see lives changed for the glory of God, to be a friend and advocate for a Student in need; for Sponsors who are committed to this life-changing mission and above all for Prayer Warriors to battle for the lives of our students.
All In for Christ,
Founder l President
MentorMe of West Michigan