Life at Lookout

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Chris Rose, Juvenile Justice Ministry Chaplain

Life here at Lookout has been busy as of late. I’ve been working hard to maintain relationships with not only the kids, but with local churches and volunteers as well. Additionally, Lookout Mountain Youth Services has made the news a few times and has been experiencing a shortage of staff and both the staff and kids have felt this. We are currently working on creating a structure program for our religious services and things have been moving slowly. But I have used this time to reflect on what matters.

Relationships take time. Resources take time. We only have so much time and energy to give individually. Yet, when we as a team care deeply for these kids, operating not out of our own gifting, but out of an overflow of the love God has for them, great things happen both for them and for us.

It is easy to believe we are islands to ourselves when serving the kids inside this fence. Yet, I cannot do everything that needs to be done for these kids on my own. The beautiful truth is that I don’t have to. Because of support from you all, my volunteers, and great churches around me, I have found a community who all love the kids who many have deemed “unlovable.” We can only manage this together.

My list of youth who want to meet with me has only continued to grow over these past few months. And though I cannot see them as often as I would like, I have found joy in being able to rely on wonderful volunteers to also be a part of their lives. Because of this community’s support, I am able to fully devote my energy to many core young men. I currently have two boys who have been struggling after making mistakes that have set them back months from the option of parole. After many meetings and wrestling with how they handle failure, one admitted that he has had to rely on his support when he feels like fighting. I praised him, knowing that this mindset was not something he was quick to go to, and asked him what he thought was different about where he is at now.

     “I know it’s different. I was just wild when I was younger. It’s just part of growing up.”

          “Hear me, man. I am so proud of you, though. You have recognized that you need to talk to your support when you are struggling so you don’t have to fight so hard alone.”

     “Yeah, I know. Yeah, all the ones I can talk to have had my back. I never use to think there was a point before. But I know they can calm me down now.”

Thank you for being a part of the ongoing conversation with youth in our city and helping us share God’s story.  It's our honor to be the storytellers on your behalf who meet kids right where they are and give life to their story.

Providing young people in our community with the opportunity to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ and become part of a local church.

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