Lifted From the Mud, Serving On the ROCK

As Executive Director of Rochester Outreach Center, it is my privilege to experience a form of true leadership that often does not come from the front of the church, the podium of an auditorium, or the signature on a degree. True leadership often comes from the “back of the line.” The place where people have been promoted to service from the experience of “being there.” Often the best leaders in our outreach are those who have been downtrodden and displaced through incarceration, institutionalization, addiction, abuse and/or homelessness.

It is my privilege to introduce to you people who are servant leaders because God has lifted them from the mud and the mire and placed their feet on the Solid ROCK. I love these simple servants; often without title and yet always with testimony.

Today I’d like to introduce you to my friend, John.

My name is John. I am a 59 year old convicted felon. The past 15 months has seen many things happen in my life: My struggle with depression, a suicide attempt, my robbing a bank, a divorce and being shunned by some family and friends. All these things brought many other accompanying issues.

After serving six months in jail and being released this past spring I came to Rochester. Shortly after arriving I became aware of the ROC and some of its programs. One Saturday morning at a food distribution, I was introduced to Pastor Dale and some of the crew of the ROC. That morning Pastor Dale listened to my story and took time to have personal prayer with me. Through his understanding and compassion he gave me hope, along with reminding me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

In June I stood before the judge as she pronounced my sentence. I would face no further jail time but several years of probation. Along with the sentence came some Community Work Service (CWS) hours in lieu of a fine. I am proud to say that since I started a relationship with the ROC, I have been able to serve my hours of CWS at the ROC. Once my CWS hours have been completed I still plan on volunteering extra time to the ROC. Volunteering is not only for my well being, but for the well being of others.

Through the years I have had a personal relationship with the Lord, although not always a strong one. My relationship is now growing stronger and I feel closer to Him – more than I ever have before. My hope and prayer is that as I keep growing in Christ, through the ROC, I will be able to share the love of God and minister to others in countless ways.

I’d like to add that John has completed his Community Work Service and is now treasured as a ROC servant. We are able to focus on the potential God reveals in people like John. Please, pray that I will have the godly character to serve in my role in all this. Alongside me are people who are investing their lives in others, we refer to ourselves as mentors.

Since our start in October 2011 we have depended on partnerships and generosity. Perhaps you would become a monthly supporter of ROC. It is as simple as hitting the PayPal button on, or mailing a check to The ROC 410 13th Ave SE Rochester, MN 55904. Any amount helps us progress. We have a $50 challenge that we recommend and the challenge is to donate $50 a month. Please pray and act.

Thank you!