Graduate Spotlight: Jonathan Laine

 What attracted you to TPOM?

At first, I had no intention of coming here. But a relative sent me a copy of the newsletter and when I saw (family friend) Greg Hardeman was involved, I wanted to come. He has been my mentor.

 You have an unusual twist in your story. Tell us how you came to be preaching at 11th Street Church of Christ?

My grandfather was Dr. Robert Kerce who taught mathematics at Lipscomb University for many years and filled a number of roles there. He also preached at 11th St. for over 30 years. When my family came up to visit, we decided to visit the church. I met with the elders and offered to preach. Even though I didn’t know if I was ready, they gave me the chance to preach and encouraged me.

Tell us about your spiritual journey?

When I was a young boy, my grandfather would take me fishing with him twice a week and we would talk. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was really teaching me to preach. Even when I was having trouble, he kept saying to me, “When you start preaching, my sermon notes are in the drawer.”  I’m now using his notes to guide my preaching. My time in incarceration gave me an opportunity to get back on a good path. I read through my Bible 15 times in three years. The chaplain aides helped me with spiritual direction. The Bethel Church of Christ in Dunlap, TN was there every Sunday morning at 7:30 am to hold services. I started inviting everyone to church. I conducted Bible studies in the pods. I brought three to Christ during my time there.

How has the program helped you?

The program helped me learn more about myself and to figure out a direction for my life. If I had not come here, I’m not sure I would have done well. The classes are good and I’ve been able to help others with some things.

What advice do you have for others who might be thinking about reentry?

This is a great program. I found the world had changed drastically in the last three years. Reentry can be tough at times and almost overwhelming, but the program has helped a lot.


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