“Every man needs encouragement and accountability from other men. When they don’t receive it from each other, they will look to other things to affirm their worth,” shares Kenneth Townsell, the facilitator for a new men’s cohort through Sunshine’s Familyhood Programs.
Kenneth is the newest addition to the Sunshine Team, leading a group of 6 men of various generations in the “Kingdom Man,” curriculum developed by Pastor Tony Evans. Kingdom Man is a 6 week course geared to challenge and equip men to fully understand their position under God as well as their position over what God has given them. It provides concepts men can follow that will help them actively pursue ways to maximize and develop the character qualities of biblical manhood in their lives.
Familyhood Director, Sasha Simmons, has seen the need for a men’s cohort for some time. This is a population that she has always desired Familyhood to be able to reach as men have a critical role in the family. She has been longing and praying for God to open the door to ministry for men in the community. Sasha stated that this is just the beginning of Familyhood’s reach and work with men. She believes firmly that men need spaces where they can share their truth, build a brotherhood, and be encouraged through the Word of God. When searching for a facilitator for the group, she knew she needed someone who was knowledgeable in Scripture, but also relatable. Kenneth’s name was brought up by SGM coworker Lamar Simms, who knew him from church. After interviewing him, it was very clear he was the perfect fit to lead this first cohort of men!
Kenneth was born and raised on the southside of Chicago in the Marquette Park neighborhood. His family struggled off and on with homelessness, which eventually led to Kenneth getting a job to help support the family at age 14 and dropping out of high school at age 15. He’s always felt a responsibility to care for his family and took on an incredible amount of responsibility at a young age. At age 20, he was invited to church by his girlfriend (now wife) and the Lord started really stirring in his heart and he eventually committed his life to Christ. From that time on, Kenneth has had a strong desire to grow more in his knowledge of Scripture and his faith.
As he’s grown in his faith, he’s seen the importance of Christian men having vulnerability and accountability with one another. One of the friendships he formed at church was with Sunshine’s High School Programs Director, Lamar Simms, who ultimately referred him for this position.
Kenneth has already successfully led his first cohort of men and is planning for more the rest of the year. The cohorts are multi-generational, from various walks of life, but share a common desire to grow in their faith and be leaders in their community. Kenneth says he’s immediately felt a genuine sense of comradery and bond with these men. Along with going through the Kingdom Man curriculum, they also share about their struggles and oftentimes conversations lead to seeking further knowledge in other areas of their lives. He’s had them take personality tests, connected them to other community resources, and checked up on them throughout the week. “Accountability is not just a checklist of what NOT to do, it’s also encouraging positive choices.”
As this first cohort wraps up, we’re excited to see where God will lead these men and this new initiative. Sasha’s vision is to see men participate in additional men’s discipleship small groups, to attend a faith-based national conference called “The Crucible Project,” and participate in additional Familyhood programming that will allow the families of these men to spend high quality time together. It is our desire to see the men (fathers, brothers, uncles, sons and cousins) of other Familyhood participants get involved in the men’s programming so they can be transformed and entire families will be restored as a result.