Beyond the work that takes place day to day with students at Harambee Christian School, one of the most important things we strive for as a ministry is leadership development. We know the Bible marks this as a clear priority for every person, church, and organization that seeks to expand God’s Kingdom on Earth. And as for our mission of helping Columbus’ inner city youth overcome challenges and thrive in the body of Christ, it is essential.
To this end, we created our Youth Ministry Internship, which ran its first successful course during the 2018-19 school year with Harambee alumnus Dominique Hawkins. As Dom received regular coaching from Youth Ministry Director, Brandon Grant, he served in the After School Program, helped develop and lead two anti-bullying workshops for middle school students, mentored youth one-on-one, and helped lead a middle school boys’ Bible study for Harambee youth. Since completing his internship, Dom has gone on to become the senior leader of his boys Bible study and even recently got engaged (Congrats, Dom!)
To Brandon, the choice was obvious who should follow in Dom’s footsteps to assume this year’s role as Youth Ministry Intern: Harambee’s very own Jordan Johnson. In Brandon’s words, “Jordan is a man who has continued to say yes to God’s plan for his life. He brings with him tons of joy and grit and has been a faithful servant in Harambee’s After School Program for the past five years.”
What did Jordan think of taking on this important undertaking? “I have been praying for this opportunity for the better part of 4½ years. I feel that God has equipped me over those four years, teaching me to embrace what He’s already given me with an attitude of thanksgiving and humility. That process has not stopped. I’m still growing in my understanding of just how truly good God is, but he had everything to do with me being in a position to impact people through this new responsibility.”
Reading Jordan’s story is best coming straight from the source.
Growing up, I lived in predominantly gang-involved communities with a single-mother working hard to pave a future for me. I lived in Windsor Terrace (12th Ave. and Brooks), Brentnell (Nell-block, as some call it) and Wellington Woods (The Woods) and nearly lost my life on multiple occasions due to the rampant gun and gang violence.
In 2006, at the age of 11, I was given an ultimatum: Join the Bloods or be labeled an enemy, which I knew would not only negatively affect me, but my mother as well. I was jumped into their gang and fearfully acclimated to the gang lifestyle.
My life was spiraling out of control, as I was exposed to dangerous situations often. My mother grew more and more worried for me and had expressed a desire for me to have better role models. She arranged for me to hang out and read Scripture with my Uncle TT, who was a pastor. Over the course of three weeks we met, where he gave me an outlet to vent, talk about my life and problems, all while helping me connect my experiences to verses in the Bible, which was compelling to me.
Eventually he asked me, “Jordan, do you have a relationship with Jesus?” I shrugged but wanted him to tell me more about this relationship. He opened his Bible and showed me Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, and John 3:16. It clicked for me.
I excitedly proclaimed through prayer that I wanted a relationship with Jesus and as soon as that prayer ended, I felt all the pressure, anxiety and weight that I carried from life leave.
After getting connected with a Xenos home church, it wasn’t long before Jordan’s friends suggested he check out the work taking place at Harambee. While pursuing his degree in Education, Jordan was hired to serve as a teacher in the After School Program, which lead to connecting with Brandon and now taking the reigns as our second ever Youth Ministry Intern. The Work Ahead
Together with Brandon, Jordan will be seeking to establish and grow a mentoring program that connects Harambee students with caring adults who are open to making a life long commitment to their well being. Jordan will also be working on building a much requested sports program for students.
On working together with Brandon, Jordan says, “He is a gifted coach who possesses a charisma and savvy equipping style that has made the process of picking up on these new responsibilities seamless . I can’t speak highly enough about his dedication to helping me understand and feel prepared to work independently.”
As for Brandon’s own aspirations for Jordan’s time as Youth Ministry Intern, he is eager to help him “grow in his ability to lead and make decisions, to take more ownership of the different programs we operate at the school, and to draw out his God given vision for things that we can do to better serve our students.” We’re grateful for Jordan’s testimony and for the privilege of working together towards a common goal, a goal he himself accomplished by overcoming challenges in order to thrive in the body of Christ.