God designed his church to be a place where imperfect people can be fully known and fully loved.

“I realized if I kept living this way, I would die soon,” Jesse Hamilton recalls as he tells his story at its lowest point.

After months of spending what money he had on rent, drugs, and alcohol; Jesse had reached a point where he felt as if things couldn’t get any worse.

Jesse has now been a member of Graceway for several years and a member of our staff for a couple of months. He grew up in a Christian home and even attended a small Christian school for both his elementary and junior high years. It was when he began to attend Raytown High School that he was invited by a friend to attend Graceway.

Over time, Jesse developed close friends, was involved in the high school ministry at church, and eventually joined the high school worship band. “I had gained roots and real friendships,” he recalls. “Maybe this is the path I want for my life,” he remembers thinking.

After a close family friend took her own life, he describes the stability in his life being shaken up. “My heart began to harden. I didn’t know that I should be sharing with people what was actually happening to me.”

He began to live a double life. He would live one way at church while continuing to be on the worship team, but then felt as if there was a secret life he was living at home and school. Jesse stopped attending church and began trying things his own way. By the end of his senior year, he fell into a partying lifestyle and was hanging out with a different crowd. “I knew this wasn’t right, but at the time, that is what I wanted to do.”

After months of living a lifestyle of parties, drugs, and alcohol; Jesse remembers thinking one day at work, I want to live. I can’t continue to do what I’m doing.

He tried to make things better, but realized he was powerless, so he turned back to God. He began to get in the Word, started praying again, and began to reconnect with friends from Graceway.

“I had to learn how to trust people again.” Some lessons came from trial and error, and some of this came gaining healing after seeking counseling. Knowing that leaders in the church had taken steps to become healthier themselves was huge for Jesse.

Now, Jesse serves on our Graceway staff as the Worship Coordinator. “I’m doing what God told me I need to be doing,” he says. Jesse’s passion for music is evident when you see him on stage each week, he has a wonderful gift to lead people in worship and we are thankful he is a part of our Graceway team.

“My heart began to harden. I didn’t know that I should be sharing with people what was actually happening
with me.”

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