SPEAKING MINISTRY: A BETTER WAY- GA SEPT 2022
What an incredible weekend it was ministering at A Better Way Ministries in Senoia, Georgia. I had connected with some of their leadership at the Pure Life Ministries Conference last year and they asked me to come down for a weekend to minister to the men in the program. So I headed down to Atlanta and landed on Friday afternoon. Rex and Bobby picked me up, and I got to hear the testimony of how Rex had led Bobby to the Lord in jail, and how Bobby had ended up going through A Better Way, and now serves as a chaplain as well as at a recovery center, pouring the life of Jesus into other men in need. What an amazing God we serve!
They gave me a tour of the ministry where I would spend the weekend. A Better Way is a Christian rehabilitation program for men, mostly dealing with drugs and addiction. They have over a hundred beds and men can enter the 18-month program either voluntarily or through a court order. The property was impressive. They believe in doing everything with excellence, and it showed in the architecture, landscaping and the interior of the buildings.
The ministry runs a large moving company, and many of the men will work on the moving trucks. They took me to their warehouse, and the huge thrift store that they also run. Men in the program have the opportunity to learn trades, including woodwork as well as some construction. And they receive Bible training through group and individual studies, chapel services and counseling. God is doing an amazing work in the lives of the men of A Better Way, giving them a chance to build a new life in Christ.
On Friday evening, I was invited to share my testimony at a recovery ministry called OneWay at Jonesboro Baptist Church. OneWay is doing a great work reaching out to people struggling with addictions and bondage. The leadership, Pastor Richie and his wife, warmly welcomed me. He felt in his heart that someone was going to give their life to Jesus that night. After I shared my testimony, I gave an altar call. A 16 year old girl came up with her grandmother, and she was broken. After sharing about some of the things she was struggling with, she admitted that she did not have a relationship with Jesus. I had the opportunity to pray with her to receive Christ and connect her with the leadership there for further discipleship. God is so good! We then broke into small groups and had a meal together. It was a great night.
The following day, I had a chance to spend time with Bobby as well as his wife Jessie, and the leader of a woman’s home a couple of hours away named Diane. It was a day of sweet fellowship with the family of God. The bond of the Spirit that joins believers together is a precious gift.
Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to witness to several people. The first one was a Jehovah’s Witness who had setup on the street corner to share tracts from his organization. We struck up a conversation with the man. We had a chance to ask some questions, share our testimony and try to communicate what the Bible teaches about the divinity of Christ. We ended up in a conversation that we quickly realized was not going anywhere due to the fact that we were quoting from two different versions of the Bible (which he tried to assure us was just a translation discrepancy), but we respectfully shared for about 20 minutes and then we blessed the man and offered to pray for him, which he politely turned down. We learned quite a bit from this man, and hopefully something we shared caused him to think as well.
The second person was our waitress at a Thai restaurant. When we prayed for our meal, we offered to pray with her and she gladly accepted. She said she was a believer and we prayed for her next step in life, as she was preparing to go to school for neuroscience. She was very appreciative that we took the time to pray with her.
We had some time to kill before the evening service and we ended up checking out a small craft fair in a neighboring town. The first tent had some very interesting and somewhat disturbing artwork for sale. The artist greeted us and I asked him about his painting of a demon. He shared a little bit about his inspiration and the conversation turned to Jesus. I shared some of my testimony and he mentioned that he was open spiritually, but still searching. He thought Jesus was a good man, and I responded that the question isn’t if He was a good man, but is He the son of God. I encouraged him to read the book of John and we exchanged contact info on the way out. I hope he reaches out and we can talk further.
I was reminded on this trip about the importance of simply stopping for people to show them the love of Christ. Sure, many of them will not be receptive. Others will want to debate, and some will not understand your intentions. But as we continue to step out, there will be some who are willing to talk. God will give us opportunities to share about Jesus and seeds will be planted in hearts that God can use in their lives to convince them of His love. Let us not be too busy or intimidated to stop for the one. You never know what interesting conversations you will have.
That evening, I preached a message on campus about surrendering all of our lives to the Lord. In a program like A Better Way, you have men at various stages in their spiritual lives. Some have truly given it all to the Lord and are on fire for Him. Others have not even been born again. I shared some of my testimony and then talked about the importance of being sure that we are walking in full surrender to God. Several responded to the altar call, and I believe the Lord ministered to them that night. I had a chance that evening to meet John Barrow, who is one of the founders of the ministry. He was a very humble man and God has used him mightily to build the Kingdom through the work of A Better Way. I was also able to connect with the director of the program, named Doug, who is a graduate of Pure Life Ministries. He shared with me how God had done a great work in his heart while he was at Pure Life. It was a blessing to see how God is using him to be an encouragement to the men in the program.
The following morning, I ministered in the chapel again. The message I preached was about obstacles to avoid when it comes to living in freedom. I used the Israelites of the Old Testament as an illustration of the mistakes we need to avoid in order to live free from sin. I also paralleled the Israelites story with my own testimony, as I had made the same mistakes and ended up back in slavery myself. I told the men that relapse was not inevitable. They could continue to walk out the freedom that the Lord is bringing them into if they keep their eyes focused on Jesus and refuse to allow those old temptations back into their lives.
I flew back Sunday after a great lunch with Bobby, Jessie and Rex. My heart was full of gratitude to the Lord as I landed back in Ohio that evening. Please pray for A Better Way and the incredible work they are doing for the Kingdom. For more information about A Better Way Ministries, please visit https://abetterwayministries.com/
Thank you for continuing to pray for our ministry as well. It is the prayers and financial support of people like you who allow us to do what we do. Please consider a one-time or monthly contribution by going to our Donate page. Lives are being impacted and changed by your giving!
DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.