Cornerstone Church ministers to incarcerated youth

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—Every month Bill Cox leads several members of his congregation, the Cornerstone Church in Helena, to the Shelby County Regional Juvenile Detention Center to minister to the incarcerated youth.

“I talk to them about their problems and about the Lord,” Cox said about the monthly routine.

Cox was inspired to join the congregation’s Juvenile Detention Ministry by his own life experiences. Now the leader of the ministry, Cox said he wants to share with the “younger generation” what he wishes he had been told as a youth.

“(I was inspired by) my own lifestyle and the way I as before I got saved. I was sitting in church…and God put something in my heart,” Cox said. “I want to let them know the Lord is out there for them, there are different roads for them.”

Cox and his fellow parishioners met with a group of 19 youth at the Juvenile Detention Center on May 4, the largest group yet, Cox said. They discussed the Bible and teachings, and the youth had the opportunity to ask questions.

“They were inquisitive, they all had questions. It was very enlightening and inspirational,” Cox said. “When the kids start asking questions and want one-on-one prayer, that does me good inside, just knowing they care.”

Cox said he wants the youth to walk away with the message that God does care for them and their lives can change. He also hopes to inspire them to “pick up their Bibles and read.”

“God wants joy, peace, everything for them,” Cox said. “God is knocking on the door, they just need to open in and let God in.”

Although the ministry only visits the Juvenile Detention Center once each month, Cox’s support and mentorship continues beyond the monthly meetings and the walls of the center. Cox said he is always there to support and speak with the youth if they need to talk, even after their release.

“I’m not doing this for me,” Cox said of the ministry, “I’m doing this for the glory of God.”