Broderick Brevard wants more youth to be a part of their community, learning early to break down racial barriers and cultural stereotypes while working together for something good.
"We know that Sunday is still the most segregated day," said Brevard, a youth worker at Greater Dimension Church in Cape Girardeau.
To combat that segregation, he wants more churches -- both black and white -- to share programs and activities when possible. "We want diversity. We all praise God. Some leap and throw up their hands, some close their eyes but we're all worshipping God."
Brevard tries to teach the youth to build lasting relationships instead of just superficial acquaintances for a week of camp or day-long activities.
He's organized an "Xtreme Xperience" activity today that should help with that effort. The boot-camp experience will help the youth bond since they have to work in teams.
Brevard would be happy at the end of the day if one or two of the teens exchanged phone numbers and started new friendships that move beyond meeting a few times for church.
Times used to be that people knew their neighbors and children from different parts of town played together, but today the teens seem more isolated.
"I hope that new ideas and new gifts and friendships would be born," from the boot-camp activities, he said.
Brevard spends much of his free time hanging out with youth and children, whether it's at school football and basketball games or just on the street talking.
He stresses the importance of building relationships. For 12 years he's been working with youth at the church.
"When they see me at the basketball games or football games, they call me 'Uncle B,'" he said. "I've got that respect."
And once that respect comes, it gives Brevard a chance to share the message of Christ with them.
"We have to learn to reach outside those doors" of the church, he said. "It's what you do outside those doors that counts."