A native of Memphis, James currently serves as an Associate Youth Coordinator (AYC) at MAM Leawood. He grew up playing basketball which molded his educational path. After graduating from Cordova High School, James went to Cincinnati State Technical Community College (Cincinnati, OH) and played basketball. He then transferred to Delta State University (Cleveland, MS) to finish out his collegiate basketball career and degree in Exercise Science.
James says, ” I would say I grew up in a Christian home, but it was more of like go to church every Sunday and get baptized. I wasn’t really living out a Christian lifestyle.” However, after graduating college, he found a desire to grow in his faith. He realized that worldly things weren’t as satisfying as he thought they were. James worked as a camp counselor at Kids Across America (Branson, MO) when he met Randy Odom, MAM President & CEO, at a job fair. Randy spoke to James about MAM’s mission and core values, and he quickly knew MAM was the perfect opportunity for him.
James started the AYC Program in August 2018. The AYC Program was designed to better equip MAM employees for full-time youth ministry. Associate Youth Coordinators attend classes and work on projects while working with a target age group at a MAM gym. James describes the program as “preparation for a leadership role in ministry.” He is learning best practices for communicating and sharing the gospel with youth. His biggest take-away is that it’s his job to “plant the seed,” and he has to rely on the Holy Spirit to “make the seed grow.”
James says his favorite part about working at MAM is “definitely the kids.” He is very passionate about pouring into the kids and showing them love. He spends a lot of time with his Youth Leadership Team (YLT), a discipleship group made up of four high school students. James also enjoys coaching a basketball team. He led his team to win the consolation bracket last fall. Although he wasn’t much of a basketball player, Peanut (a member of his YLT group) joined the basketball team. James loved seeing Peanut work hard throughout the season, and he even began showing incredible leadership qualities off the court as well.
James describes the MAM Leawood team as a family and credits them for helping him grow in his faith. He says working at MAM has definitely stretched him out of his comfort zone which has resulted in tremendous growth.