The Power of Discipleship: A Life in Prison to a Life in Christ
My name is Morgan Padgett. I am 35 years old, originally from Dalton GA.
I was raised in church and come from a long lineage of believers. At the age of 12, I had my first spiritual breakthrough – everyone in the youth group was going to the altar and praising God. Something made me want to go and join them (the Holy Spirit!), so I did. It was the first time I ever truly worshipped God wholeheartedly. But after this happened to me, the enemy really started filling my head with the whisper of his lies.
“You’re alone.” “You’re different.” “You don’t fit in with these people.” Eventually, I started believing it all.
By the age of 13, I began using drugs heavily. I had been suffering from the pain of my parents’ divorce from a young age. That hurt, coupled with the lies that the enemy loves to whisper, are the reasons why I started using drugs so early. I was trying to escape and be accepted by a new group of peers through social drug use. I wanted to be one of the cool kids, and I’m telling you – I was. I thought I had found the group that I belonged in, once again believing another one of the enemies lies. Eventually, the drug use turned into dealing. Which turned into a life of crime. And then prison. So much for being one of the cool kids.
I struggled with addiction for 20 years.
But they say that when a man comes to the end of himself, that’s where he meets Jesus. This applies to me.
The last time I went to prison, something changed. I was tired. I was broken. I finally wanted something different. I was sitting in my cell, and my bunkmate just started talking to me about God and how he believes in Jesus. All these old memories began flooding my mind, and I picked up a Bible, and I started reading about Jesus in the book of John. I read for the whole day. Sitting right there in that bunk in Jackson State Prison, I rededicated my life to Jesus. I finally felt like a new and happy life was attainable.
After a yearlong prison sentence, I began searching for a place to go where I wouldn’t be subjected to the things I had been involved in before. I decided to go to A Better Way Ministries, an 18-month men’s discipleship program for men with life-controlling issues. The perfect place for a man like me who was looking literally for “a better way”! ABW’s mission is to disciple men for the Kingdom of God, and they do an excellent job. The program is strictly based on the teachings of the Bible and the love of Jesus Christ.
Part of my journey through ABW included a men’s Restoring Your Heart group offered by WDA called ‘Processing Pain‘. The group helped me and the other men learn how to safely process a lot of the pain and trauma that we had experienced in our lifetime, and find the roots of our addictions. What I really liked about RYH was that everyone in our group had some sort of pain that they were trying to work through in a healthy way, and we were helping each other (whether we knew it or not) by honestly sharing our deepest hurts. It takes true courage to be vulnerable enough to let others in. But the way that the lessons progressed helped us unlock the trauma and be free. My old life is dead and gone, and I am a new creation in Christ!
Because of the freedom and joy I’ve experienced as I’ve learned how to think, feel, and act more like Jesus, it’s made me want to devote my life to discipling other men. Once imprisoned, now impassioned to set people free!
In January of 2022, I joined Worldwide Discipleship Association’s Disciple Builder Ministry Internship to continue maturing and become fully equipped as a disciple maker. Since coming on board with WDA, I have received a fresh wind of energy, confirming that I am on the path that God has for my life. I’ve also been under constant attack from the evil one, but now I am familiar with his tactics and I am up to the fight because I know the truth and whose side I’m on.
I am excited to become trained in WDA’s Life Coaching so that I can mentor men one on one and help them grow. I am currently in my second RYH men’s group, called ‘Understanding Emotions’ and I am excited to see even more layers of transformation in me and my brothers as we obediently walk this journey together. And eventually I will be trained by WDA to facilitate RYH groups as well. I am part of a one-year Developing New Leaders cohort group so I can become a healthy and effective leader and disciple maker.
It fills me with joy to know that I will be able to take what I learn at WDA back to the men in the A Better Way program and help them grow and transform in Jesus Christ, just as I have.
I’m praying that the Lord will use me to help build disciples for the Kingdom of God through everything that I will be learning from Sean and Buddy here at WDA. I not only want to go and make disciples but also teach them to obey the commands that He has given us (Matthew 28:19-20). I want the men whose lives I impact to do the same, as well, so that we can all fulfill Christ’s mission: the Great Commission!
WDA’s New Disciple Builder Internship
If you are interested in becoming trained like Morgan to impact your church or community through discipleship, contact WDA to inquire about the 2-year Disciple Builder Ministry Internship or other training opportunities.