The WiseGuys, Building Genuine Relationships


My wife's brother-in-law, Ron, in his mid-seventies, is a good Christian.  He and his wife Becky live in Liberty, Missouri, which is a suburb of Kansas City (go Chiefs!).  Ron's a friendly sort of fellow who will walk up to a stranger and begin chit-chatting.

One day while Ron was walking, he noticed a teenager shooting baskets.  Ron began talking with the teen, Cal, and found out Cal needed a ride to football practice.  Cal's parents were at work.  Ron offered to give Cal a ride, and then picked him up when practice was over.

Well, it turned out there was a group of teens in Liberty in the same situation.  Their parents were at work or off somewhere, and the teens had no transportation.  Ron has two large cars, a Lincoln Town Car and a Mercury Marquis.  Soon Ron was transporting a group of boys to their practices and picking them up afterwards.  He would even treat them to fast food.  Of course, Ron cleared all this with the boys' parents so that the parents knew what was going on.  Ron and his wife Becky even attended the boys' sporting events and Ron jotted down the good things the boys did and then went over those good points with the boys—something they appreciated.

Being a Christian, Ron would love the boys with Jesus' love, and tell them of his own experience with Christ.  Two of them eventually asked about Jesus.  Ron was elated.

Cal and Ron began talking about the possibility of the group getting together once a week on Saturday nights.  Cal was insistent that, “This can't be like church!”  Ron agreed.

At the meetings Ron talked to the boys about building relationships.  He asked them, “Who is your best friend?”  The boys hemmed and hawed.  Ron tapped himself on the chest.  They themselves are their best friend.  They needed to look inward.  Then they needed to look vertically, to their Creator, God or Jesus Christ.  Thirdly, there are horizontal relationships with teachers, parents, and friends.  So, they can use their relationship with themselves, and God to build better relationships with others.  Ron pointed out that wisdom is best developed in relationships.  They will become wise.  Hence they called themselves, The WiseGuys.

The WiseGuys' meetings on Saturday nights in Ron's home office became so popular that once, when Ron and Becky were out of town and had to cancel the meeting, Cal called and said, “The WiseGuys have to meet.”  Ron and Becky hurried back so that the meeting could be held.

Each week one of the boys is a facilitator of various topics such as premarital sex, substance abuse, and career goals.  Ron stays in the background and lets the boys interact amongst themselves.  The meeting may consist of about 1/3 topic and 2/3 girls and football.  There's a lot of roughhousing, cussing and four letter words.  But as Ron points out, the Disciple Peter, a fisherman, no doubt used course language. 

Speakers are sometimes invited in.  There has been a yoga instructor, guidance counselor, and college professor.  The meetings wind down with food and Xbox games on a huge television screen.  Zoom is available for boys who can't attend in person. 

Then the ultimate happened.  Two of the boys, Jordan and River, expressed a desire to be baptized.  On Sunday, Feb. 19th, at the 2nd Baptist Church in Liberty, MO, Jordan and River were fully immersed and surfaced as new young men.  Reverend Jason Edwards had actual water from the Jordan River in Israel where Jesus was baptized.  Rev. Edwards sprinkled a few drops of that water into the baptismal tank.  He noted that Jordan and River were being baptized in water from the Jordan River—an “Ah, Ha!” moment, like it was ordained.  The WiseGuys attended and observed closely.  Another teen expressed a desire to become baptized also.  Hallelujah, praise God!

Ron's overall approach to the guys is one of building a loving relationship with each one of them, letting God's Spirit do the rest of the work.  He continues to be blessed daily in this work.  His lay youth ministry is making an impact, a difference in a troubled world.

The WiseGuys' website is: www.wiseguys.group

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.


opinion, editorial, Curt Swarm, Empty Nest, Wiseguys, Pen City Current,


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