Three years ago Nashville business leaders rescued a program to help troubled young men succeed in life. They re-named it 4:13 Strong. It’s a title of empowerment, taken from the book of Philippians.  

It means a lot to Eric Evans. 

“I remember one time playing at McGavock, I was a sophomore,” said Evans.

He loves telling basketball stories from his playing days at McGavock High School. And he mentors troubled young men looking for a fresh start because you see, Eric used to be one of them. 

“God didn’t kill me. He didn’t kill me when I was selling drugs. He didn’t kill me when I was involved in stolen cars. And he didn’t kill me when I was involved in doing any kind of dirt and doing people wrong. He didn’t kill me.”

Eric says God’s Grace led him to 4:13 Strong, an organization that takes its name from the bible verse Philippians 4:13.

It doesn’t matter what your past is about, God’s gonna use you to do great things,” said Steve Norris. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

4:13 Strong is an intense 6-to-8 week program that requires physical and mental toughness. Young men looking for a fresh start leave behind the toxic environments that landed them in court, and move into dorm-style housing. They spend at least five hours in the classroom each day learning how to get a job, how to manage their money and how to gain spiritual strength.

“We have a hundred percent success rate in helping these men get employed in the construction industry, said Norris.” That’s when we start working towards paying off fees and fines, getting a driver license, and saving that money, purchasing a car and basically just living life the way you are supposed to.

Choosing a new path is not easy. But Norris says about half the guys who enter 4:13 Strong graduate and leave the program with a plan for a better life.