In 2008 I felt called to resign from the church and start my own 501c3 nonprofit. God gave me the name One7 for this ministry, which came from a conversation between God and Jeremiah where Jeremiah found his purpose, vision, and direction while learning how to face his fears and doubts. He took the challenge to be God’s voice to the world. We believe that all of us need to be reminded that God knew us before we were born and set us apart to be His voice to the world.
Our ministry battled in the streets of the east side for several years, facing severe persecution. Gangs robbed us multiple times, set our apartments on fire, busted out our windows while kids were inside, slashed our van tires, and shot at me on two occasions. Yet the kids’ lives we ministered to were being changed, and we saw families being healed and restored. God was moving in a powerful way, and miracles continued to happen every day. We knew that all we could do is press on and watch God take back these lives from the enemy.
Between the years of 2011 and 2013, God expanded the vision of One7, and we were able to buy an 18 unit apartment complex, where we now serve and disciple hundreds of youth and families each week. It’s a radically fruitful model: God equips One7 to train and disciple leaders coming out of a very dangerous area with the message of Christ rooted in their hearts, and they take the message of Christ with them everywhere they go.
God is expanding the vision and reach of One7. Through a partnership with Elevation Church in November of 2015, which has since expanded into a core group of families believing with us, we have witnessed God provide for an Outreach Center that was completed in 2016. Just as He has throughout our history, we know God is going to continue to use this Center to raise up more young leaders, and the reach of the Gospel will increase.
Over the years God built a small but effective core team of volunteers, families, and churches who have helped us in this battle to change our city. Living out audacious faith to all of those around us, we open our arms to the people God connects us with. I value and love the friends that God has called to join us on this journey. God is powerfully using the “One7 family” to fulfill this huge mission. If you have been a part of Thursday nights, the Outreach Center, serving meals, tutoring, Christmas giving, apartment sponsorships, our soccer ministry, or any other part of our work, then you know what it feels like to be caught up in this movement. Together we are changing our city, and ultimately our world, through this radical model of discipleship.
Simply put, One7 is unique, beautiful, organic, and a pure reflection of the Gospel, and of what we believe Heaven will look like.