October 30, 2013 - Emily Enders Odom
'Jesus would want us to do it all'
Bellevue church's outreach to at-risk youth transforms hearts, lives, schools, church, community.
Picking up a basketball changed Brent Christie’s life.
Twelve years ago, the former hospitality industry executive walked away from his dream job at an iconic hotel company with no idea as to what he would do next.
“I was going to start another business when I was introduced during worship to the witness of a student at Eastside Academy, a last-chance, alternative high school for at-risk youth housed at our church,” said Christie, a member of First Presbyterian Church, Bellevue, Wash., known as BelPres. “I sat in the pew and thought, ‘That’s something I can do. I can fix those kids.’”
Christie — who at the time considered himself to be a “more intellectual Christian, who wasn’t experiencing the risen Christ” — said that on that particular Sunday, rather than “sitting at church, consuming ministry, and then typically going home,” he instead went into a room after the service to learn about becoming a mentor at the school.