As we mark our 25th anniversary, we’re excited to share 25 inspiring stories of the positive impact Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) has had on individuals, including current and former students, parents, coaches, volunteers, donors, and community partners. One of the stories that we are eager to share is Julius James, former MAM coach and current Local Missions Director at Harvest Church. Julius’s trajectory from the soccer fields of Northeastern State University to his current role reflects the redemptive power of faith, resilience, and a passion for community service.
Julius’s early years in Moore, Oklahoma, laid the foundation for a path marked by a few challenges but, ultimately, redemption. His college years, initially marred by anxiety, depression, and a loss of direction, took a transformative turn during his sophomore year. Faced with academic setbacks and expulsion from the soccer team, Julius encountered the depth of his sin and surrendered his life to Christ on the side of a highway. This pivotal moment set the stage for his remarkable journey of spiritual growth and purpose.
Through God’s grace, Julius returned to Northeastern State University, completing his degree in General Studies. His faith journey intersected with a newfound passion for missions, ignited by his experiences playing soccer and sharing the Gospel with international students. This passion led him to Memphis, where he immersed himself in the Emerging Leaders program through Downline Ministries and interned at Harvest Church in the missions department.
Also during this time, Julius served as an Associate Youth Coordinator (AYC) at MAM. This unique part-time role allowed participants to experience weekly gospel-focused training sessions. Guided by mentors like Robby Flack and Steve Winstead, he navigated the complexities of urban ministry, recognizing the profound impact sports can have on addressing trauma in the lives of youth. Through MAM, Julius learned that the youth yearned for stability, guidance, and trust. Sports provided a unique platform to reinforce biblical principles and foster an environment where faith thrived.
Transitioning to Harvest Church, Julius embraced his role as the Local Missions Director. His responsibilities include working with over 20 ministry partners, focusing on immigrants, healthcare, youth, and community development. Through this role, Julius witnesses the transformative impact of Gospel-driven ministries. MAM, with its focus on sports, deeply connects with Memphis’s culture and provides a unique avenue for the Gospel to be shared with children and families. Harvest Church encourages its members to actively engage with the community, using their unique gifts – be it sports, arts, teaching, or job training – to make a lasting impact on the youth.
Looking forward, Julius envisions a continued partnership between MAM and Harvest Church – one that emphasizes the transformative potential of the Gospel to break down barriers, change lives, and foster a community where the love and power of Christ abounds.Join us in celebrating the 25th anniversary of Memphis Athletic Ministries by becoming a monthly donor, or a MAM MVP. For just $25 a month, you can help us continue to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth to experience Gospel-centered sports and afterschool programming. Your monthly donation will make a significant impact on our ministry, allowing us to provide even more opportunities to coach, grow, and lead the youth of Memphis. Click the image above to give $25 for 25.