Gilland: Reaching out with hope and love

Man comforts teen while sitting on steps

One of the highlights in my work as a radio show and podcast producer is the fact that I get to meet and interview a wide range of movers and shakers in our communities. These people are busy investing in others, in works of service, and in great causes that benefit and affect us all. 

Not only are many of them on my own radio show (Afternoons With Mike), but I produce podcasts and radio shows for other hosts too.

One such program is “The Crossman Conversation” with host John Crossman. John is known nationally as a real estate leader through his work with major retailers such as Publix. He is the son of a preacher, a pastor who had a heart for the civil rights movement. His dad was a real bridge builder, and after he passed away, the city of Winter Park even named a bridge after him. 

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John has continued his father’s legacy of bridge-building through his podcast and funded scholarships (11 of them), benefiting both students in real estate and at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

We recorded John’s show this past Friday with another guest, Kenneth Clark, and true-to-form, this man took an idea and brought it to life – through a non-profit he founded called “Vibrant Families,” an outreach that mentors and helps boys who are fatherless, giving them hope and purpose.

In describing what motivated him to start this new work, Kenneth said that he came to see that it isn’t like the movie “Field of Dreams,” where “if you build it, they will come.” Kenneth realized that fatherless boys were not going to be helped by merely opening the doors of a building. He “had to go where they are.” 

That is exactly what this ministry is doing. They have gotten involved in outreaches within schools and within the community, meeting people where they are, looking for ways to make a difference in the lives of these elementary, middle and high school boys.

I was so moved by Kenneth’s metaphor from that Kevin Costner movie. That famous line—“build it, and they will come”—has crept into our mindset in many ways, some of which are unhelpful. 

Believers in Christ were not given the task of going to a church building and waiting for the lost to come through the doors. Jesus instructed us in Luke 14:23 to, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

If we are going to reach a hurting world, we have to step out of the doors of comfort, and into the streets of action. The good part is, He will go with us and empower us along the way.

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