John Edmonds is involved in a battle as a warrior for winning the souls of men to a saving relationship with Christ and removing them from a life sentence of dependency.
It is therefore appropriate that Edmonds’ means to fight this battle is called Warrior Discipleship Ministry, or WDM.
There have been victories on this unique battlefield, but WDM faces many more battles, which Edmonds and those associated with the ministry welcome.
Warrior Discipleship Ministry consists of a home near Crenshaw that currently houses eight men who live there and each day are involved in a 13-month program to separate them from addiction and connect them to a life with Christ.
“Our target is men struggling with addiction, but we’re looking for men struggling with addiction that we can reach before incarceration,” Edmonds said. “We’re completely Christ-centered and we don’t even discuss addiction. We call it a sin problem and it’s an opportunity.”
With opportunity come challenges that each man must overcome to graduate from the program. The lengthy list includes a spiritual “boot camp” through the Gospels, Bible study, reading through the entire Bible and the memorization of 50 Scriptures they must recite at graduation, serve in 120 outreaches and work with churches and other ministries.
The men also complete the Financial Freedom course of well-known financial expert Dave Ramsey, take opportunities for study toward a GED and continuing education, if needed.
“We do not concentrate on the strongholds that bring our men here,” Edmonds states in the list of graduate requirements and opportunities. “We concentrate of growing daily in Jesus Christ and the strongholds that brought them here become a testimony of what Christ delivered them out of.”
Edmonds said, with the limitations of the home, an effort to expand it to house 12 men is being undertaken. Warrior Discipleship Ministry also plans to start new homes in Forest and in Simpson County to add to its present location near Crenshaw.
Edmonds, who left work as a pastor to concentrate solely on this 3-year-old ministry, said most of the residents are referred to him by churches.
But the application process is a stringent one to ensure that those who come live in the home want the program to succeed.
“Our application process is very thorough,” Edmonds said. “We want to know the commitment level is there. I have eight beds, so don’t waste my time if you’re coming to play, because somebody out there ain’t, and they need your bed.”
Over a 30-day period, applicants will be screened and interviewed for that commitment before they are accepted.
Edmonds is quick to point to the successes of Warrior Discipleship Ministry in men willing to “let go, and let God.”
“Brandon Mason is one who was 23-years old when he came to us,” Edmonds said. “He was an intravenous meth user for eight years and had never had one day of sobriety in eight years. God turned him around and now he has a wife with a son and he’s discipling his son. He has a full-time job and it’s a total restoration. It’s incredible to see.”
Every war and every battle needs its supplies and weaponry and Warrior Discipleship Ministry is no different. The program is funded completely by gifts and donations and Edmonds wants a $55,000 debt on the current home paid off before a new home can be started.
Donations may be mailed in care of P.O Box 706, Senatobia, MS 38668 or by going online to www.wdministry.org and click on the “Giving” link.
“God will provide,” Edmonds said assuredly, “But the right people need to know what we’re doing.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.