Ministry can be messy, and perhaps no one knows that better than Bryan Kelly.

Kelly founded Common Grounds nearly 20 years ago as an outreach program for inner-city youth in Montgomery.

On Wednesday, he joined 1819 News CEO Bryan Dawson on "1819 News: The Podcast" to discuss the inspiration behind Common Grounds and the trials and triumphs his ministry has experienced helping kids out of poverty, abuse and gang violence.

A son of a police officer, Kelly was charged as an adult at age 16 for drug trafficking. Though he got off comparatively light with house arrest and probation instead of the potential 10 years in prison, he said the experience helped him understand how some kids can get lost in the legal system.

"That was a pretty scandalous and embarrassing and difficult time on our family for me to make the choices I made with my parents being in the positions they were in," he said.

After high school, he signed on to play baseball at Troy University, where, through the witness of a fellow athlete, he accepted Christ at age 21. He was on track to play pro ball when an ACL injury sidelined him. Instead, he helped with Campus Outreach at Troy before going to seminary in Florida. From there, he returned to Alabama to start what would become Common Grounds. He and his family officially moved back into the western portion of Montgomery in 2008.

"I decide the west side of Montgomery was as good as any to try to see leadership build up among the boys," he said.

Common Grounds is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization that aims to revitalize impoverished communities by mentoring and educating youth to be successful leaders of tomorrow.

Since starting the ministry, he's seen children and teens he's helped and coached in sports fall victim to gang violence in the city and has even had his own home broken into and robbed twice. Still, despite the struggles, he said the ministry has had a positive impact on the community.

"We've got neighbors and friends that have really shown up for us over the years. I think it's that assumption that going in to help has become a mutual enrichment for all the people involved: me, donors, volunteers, kids of donors that have come. They've all kind of grown and gained a lot out of the perspective of being there together. It's humbled all of us in the process."

Kelly said he is currently working on expanding the ministry by renovating a large camp in Onawa, near Verbena, Alabama, to complement its First Class Pre-K program in Montgomery and other Common Grounds locations in Troy and Florence.

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