Eleven years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life. That was when I began teaching a weekly life skills class at His Way Recovery Center, a Christ-centered recovery program for men in Huntsville, AL. This decision has allowed me to offer help to several hundred men, and it has also allowed these several hundred men to help me.
No special skill is required to teach a life skills class. The only requirement is that you have lived life, learned lessons from parents or mentors or past mistakes, and have a desire to help others that may need to learn these same lessons. Every teacher has their own style. My style is very casual, conversational, and engaging. It is by no means lecturing. Anyone could do what I do.
My classes tend to revolve around work/career topics: effective job searches, resumes, applications, interviews, and negotiations. However, we spend equal time addressing what I feel are key life skills: attitude, perseverance, effort, confidence, and perspective. I value and practice these skills in my life. I have received some excellent and poignant feedback from the men over the years that has helped me to tailor my message to their situations.
Based on feedback from the men, these classes have proven beneficial. Despite more than half of the residents having felony convictions, prison time, and/or long gaps in employment, every man has secured a job (including during the pandemic). Many other people have served these men in finding work, but my class has helped. Offering authentic service to these men is deeply rewarding. Again, no special skills are necessary. Anyone could offer similar help and get the same reward – that includes you.
The greatest reward of all has not been a result of how I helped these men, but how these men have helped me. I grew up in a church-attending family and have led my family in the same manner. I was an elder at my church for nine years. It is important to note that I had a good relationship with God when I started teaching at His Way. These men, thankfully, have helped me to better understand God. My view of God is more extensive, with greater awe, and with deeper appreciation and love.
The men of His Way have taught me that God is not a God for the perfect, nor is He a God of only second chances. God is a God of innumerable chances. God does not give up on us. It is a great joy of mine to share this fact with men who often believe that God has turned away from them. To see the eyes of a man when he realizes God loves him unconditionally and is waiting on him has been my greatest joy. I will never forget that look in those eyes!
I have seen the men of His Way on their knees and/or crying out to God for forgiveness and for deliverance and for a new purpose in life. These men offer a great reminder not to take God for granted and to never give up pursuing Him and His mercies.
The men of His Way cannot hide the consequences of addiction. When the consequences are not hidden, the transformation also is obvious and celebrated. These men openly discuss the depths to which they fell and the love of God that raised them back up. God is central to their story, not relegated to a minor player or left out altogether. God is glorified. We rob God of His glory when we promote that any success or growth in our lives is of our own making. These men have taught me the value of honesty and vulnerability and have demonstrated the joy available to them when God is glorified.
Eleven years ago, I could not count a single felon or person in active addiction as a friend. Now, I count many as friends, and several as some of my closest friends. My life is richer. My relationship with God is more authentic and consistent. My appreciation for God’s power and the human spirit to overcome mistakes and setbacks has grown significantly. My daily journey with God is more joyful.
I encourage you to talk with a staff member to see how God can use your life to help His Way. I know God will use His Way to bless your life.
His Way Volunteer