Higher Up Ministries

Our Story

The Founders of Higher Up Ministries, Rod and Jan McKenzie have been in the Boxwood Drive community since 1988. They worked with Youth for Christ, which ministered to Youth from the ages of 12 to 18 years old. The teens (boys and girls) participated in high energy activities, followed by a discussion time of issues they dealt with and positive choices they could make found in the Bible to help them deal with those issues.

It soon became apparent that many of the teens being referred to the YFC ministry lived in the same area, a neighborhood called Boxwood Drive. When they looked into the neighborhood there were 3 gangs fighting to control the neighborhood. There also was a strong drug business set up and the neighborhood had a large mix of ethnic groups living in close quarters.

Euclid Grade School, a neighborhood school, allowed them to use their gym to provide a place for Jr. High and High School age boys to hang out and have fun. The McKenzie's eventually bought a townhouse on Boxwood Drive and used their finished basement for a place to hold small groups meetings for boys and girls on separate nights. The purpose of the Boxwood ministry was to give at-risk teenagers a safe place to hang out and where they felt comfortable to talk openly about the issues they faced and how the teachings of the Bible can help them make positive decisions that would benefit their lives.

In 1991, they began a community festival known as the Boxwood Bash. A festival where Agencies, Churches and Village Representatives, such as the Police and Fire Departments, the Mayor and Local Businesses attend and set up simple game booths or provide food, all at no cost to the community. It is a great way to build a positive relationships between the Boxwood Residents and the Village. The festival continues still.

In 2001, we opened a Drop In Center for teens to have a regular place to hang out and know that they are safe. We have a pool table, foose ball, ping pong and video games. There are refreshments available and areas to relax and just be a teenager. We also have a Job Training program to teach teenagers how to present themselves in the business world in such a way as to set a good example and get a job. We also train them to be responsible employees with the plan for them to be responsible members of society.

The Job Training program also has an embroidery machine and a silkscreen machine. Teenagers learn four work skills, how to Silkscreen, how to Embroider, Marketing and Administrative skills. They can even earn minimum wage to help them deal with their low income households.

Since 2001, we have seen a greater need to go beyond just teenagers. The ministry has reached out to the younger children by working with area churches to host a 5 Day Bible Club, annually in the park right on Boxwood Drive. The Boxwood Ministry saw more and more adults wanting to be involved in the job training program to help them be successful in getting the job when they went on interviews. Adults even showed an interest in being a part of Small Group Bible Studies.

So, the McKenzie's saw a need to leave the confines of just a Jr. and Senior High School ministry to target a whole under-supported community. That's what brought us to begin

Higher Up Ministries. A ministry where we,

"Serve under-supported neighborhoods confronted with tough issues such as having a gang presence, increased criminal activity or other negative influences. We make connections with people in such neighborhoods and work with others to connect with them as well to help them Step Up to a higher place socially, intellectually, physically and spiritually."

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