In a little red brick church near Moncks Corner, a group who sees the problems of the world first-hand, hefty ones of youth crime and drugs and life-derailing failures, gathers in a sanctuary to solve them.
The Rev. Lee Bines, organizer of this seventh annual Young Brothers to Men Summit, knows the problems far too personally.
His brother, James, was killed shortly after returning home from military service. Two years ago, a man from his congregation, Wesley United Methodist Church, was shot and killed.
All of the couple dozen police officers, an assistant solicitor, a juvenile justice worker and elected leaders see tragedies like these in their work. They see kids make decisions that upend their lives. They see parents fighting, dealing drugs and out partying as much as their teenagers.
They see too little community involvement, too little discipline and too few role models.
And they see criminals more than willing to take at-risk youth under their wings.
"They're learning what is right from wrong on the street," says Scott Deckard, deputy chief of investigations at the North Charleston Police Department. "That's the battle."
There was a day, perhaps romanticized in the rearview mirror of history, when the church was central to that battle.
But today, parents often don't bring their teens to the pews. And most churches aren't out on the streets.
So Pastor Bines poses a question: Is God calling people beyond the traditional ministry - the patrolmen, the school resource officers, the coroners, the jail workers - to reach today's at-risk youth?
"Maybe the emergent church is among us," Bines says, gesturing to pews of burly guys with weapons, badges and authority. "It cannot just be done on Sunday morning."
Who are these servants? They are men of faith and others who take oaths of honor trying to steer youth down the paths of good decisions. Meet a few of them.
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