A Resolution to Help Others

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It’s that time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions.  In a short amount of time, many of those resolutions will be broken.  Maybe if we had a more significant reason for our resolutions, we would have a lasting result.

Instead of thinking about what we can change in our own lives; what if we resolved to help someone else?

Over 300 people heard stories of the difference one person can make in the lives of others at the recent HomeWord Benefit at the Balboa Bay Club.

“When I was 16 years old, a man named John Watson tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I believe in you,’” explained Jim Burns, founder of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family.  “He showed me how to love God.  I was one of those kids who didn’t have the strongest family background.  He was inspiring and it was life changing.  He gave me a legacy.”

Jim Burns (left) and Doug Fields
Jim Burns (left) and Doug Fields

“After getting married and finishing graduate school, I worked at a church and John was my supervisor,” Jim continued.  “One day at that church I met a young eighth-grade boy named Doug Fields, and a relationship developed between us.  I tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘I believe in you,’ and I still do.” Jim continued.  “There is no one like him in the world of youth ministry today; he is the world leader.”

While Jim spoke about Doug, Doug walked up on the stage.

“When I went to youth group, Jim made Jesus fun,” Doug said.  “When I was in Junior High, Jim came to my games and took an interest me and wanted me to know God’s Word, and he made it come alive for me,” Doug said. “Jim asked me to help in junior high ministry.  Jim was my example.  I wanted to be a youth pastor and train other youth pastors.”

Doug shared about a young man who he tapped on the shoulder in due time, and that young man came up on stage.  The stories of inspiration and legacy continued until there was a line of six men, each echoing the difference it made in the trajectory of their lives to have a youth pastor tap them on the shoulder and believe in them. The last in line was a young man named Parker Genoway, who in addition to thanking his youth pastor standing in line before him, brought the line-up full- circle by saying this his father was in Jim’s youth group many years ago.   Parker then asked John Watson to stand.

“You had no idea back in 1970 when you tapped Jim on the shoulder and said, ‘I believe in you’ what you were passing on, ” Parker said.  “You were really making a difference, and you didn’t even know it.”

Jim asked John’s wife Barbara to stand as well and he presented ‘The John Watson HomeWord Legacy Award’ for 2012 to them.

“It’s a pretty incredible story when you think about it,” Jim said.

John’s belief in Jim decades ago ignited a lifelong dedication in Jim to find tangible and creative ways to meet the many needs of youth and parents.  In 1985 Jim founded HomeWord in the Newport Beach home of Bob and Cleva Howard.  The Howards have been involved in HomeWord ever since.

The HomeWord Center for Youth and Ministry is a non-profit Christian organization designed to provide assistance to adults worldwide as they help young people make wise decisions and lead positive, Christian lives.  HomeWord’s stated mission is to “advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches to build God-honoring families from generation to generation.”

In 2009 HomeWord partnered with Azusa Pacific University, combining two strong organizations with similar values, greatly increasing their impact and outreach.  The four values guiding HomeWord’s vast network of practical and relevant resources – which includes books, radio, seminars and conferences for children, teens, parents and church leaders – are: building strong marriage, confident parents, empowered kids, and healthy leaders.

HomeWord radio reaches over a million parents a day through a 30-minute radio program broadcast in most of the country’s largest cities.  Every month tens of thousands of parents visit HomeWord’s innovative website, and more than a million of HomeWord’s resources have been translated into 17 languages on six continents.

Both Jim and Doug spoke about the power of legacy and the potential positive ripple effect of investing in the lives of children.

“Its’ still about the kids and what’s the most effective way to reach young people,” Jim said.

“Get involved someplace that helps families succeed,” Doug said.

For further information, go to www.homeword.com


Cindy can be reached at [email protected]


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  1. I am blessed to be John’s son-in-law. And this story made me cry like a little boy when he shared it with us upon return home in South Texas. The way his legacy was revealed was awesome. So on behalf of John’s family… Thank you for letting him know.