“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” || John 13:35
The mission of INITIATIVE is three-fold:
- Connecting Passions
- Exposing Needs
- Empowering Young Christians
INITIATIVE Director, Grant Skeldon, took some time to dissect the idea of connecting passions. As the Church, how do we connect? As the Church, what is our passion? According to John 13:35, both questions have the same answer: love.
Why does Initiative place such a heavy emphasis on connecting? Because you can’t love someone if you don’t even know them. With 4,800 churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, there is no excuse for us to not come together for the sake of the city and, ultimately, the Kingdom.
Duché Bradley was living an impressive life. As a bodyguard for J-Lo and P-Diddy, Duché traveled the world in luxury and class. Google a photo of one of his celebrity bosses and you’ll probably see him in the background.
Rewind a decade or so.
Duché became a dad at the age of 19. Having grown up without a father, Duché made a promise to his son that he meant with all his heart: “Son, I love you. Daddy’s never gonna leave you.” Despite good intentions, Duché’s day job made keeping that promise more complicated than expected. He was making bank as a cocaine dealer. He relished the rush that came with the danger of the job. At one point, he walked through security at John F. Kennedy
International Airport with cocaine wrapped around his ankles. He was daring to be caught.
And eventually, he was.
One day during his time behind bars, Duché was pulled aside by a fellow inmate. It was that inmate who said the eight words that forever changed his life: “You look burdened. Can I pray for you?”
“That was the first time someone cared for me regardless,” Duché said.
After serving only 2.5 years of his 9 year sentence, Duché re-entered society with the goal of being about his Father’s business. However, a painful reality quickly set in: God had forgiven him, but people hadn’t. Duché failed to find a full-time job. He struggled with the new dynamic civilian life presented for his relationship with his son. Perhaps most heartbreaking, he never found an accepting community of believers.
“I cried out to God saying ‘Who am I?’” he recalled, calling it the low-point of his life.
“But I stayed about my father’s business. He had better things in store.” Duché eventually got offered a job as a bodyguard for P-Diddy and J-Lo. He later left those positions to become an “I Am Second” ambassador and do prison outreach with the Bill Glass Foundation. He hopes his story will move the Church to act on what is a pressing issue in the Dallas area.
- 60% of individuals released from prison in a given year will have committed another crime within six months without community involvement
- 75% of individuals released from prison in a given year have returned to a life of crime within a four year period unless connected with a nurturing church
- 65% of formerly incarcerated persons have not returned to prison within a three year period if they have had consistent involvement with a mentor or a spiritual adviser.
- We want to pray for incarcerated people
- Dallas contains the 7th largest prison in America
- Pray that they would find freedom in Christ
- We want to pray for families
- Peace and comfort from God
- That they would love those in prison well and plead to God on their behalf
- We want to pray for mentors
- That God would raise up men and women to mentor those transitioning out of prison
- “Church, be about your father’s business, and love people enough to say eight words –‘You look burdened. Can I pray for you?’ – and it will change their lives forever.”
If God has used Duché’s story to ignite a passion in your heart for prison ministry, see the links below for our partner organizations.
PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES
Contact person: Dave Baer || Dave_bear@pfm.org || 972-935-2355
Contact person: Dr. Jeffrey Parker || Dr.email@example.com || 214-943-5010 || 469-487-5737