A youth hunting and fishing club building godly leaders and preserving our outdoor heritageBookmark this
If you have teenagers or will soon, these two words are cringeworthy. Many research studies link teen depression, relational difficulties and much more with too much screen time.
It’s become part of growing up. How to solve it is the real question.
Kevin Potts of Cross Trail Outfitters lives out the answer. More than half of Kevin’s days in 2018 were spent under the sun and stars. CTO’s goal is to “equip youth to passionately pursue a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ and fellowship with Him through the outdoors.”
Kevin, based in Bexar County, is CTO’s state director. Few opportunities make him happier than bringing kids to a lake to teach them how cast a fishing rod, or to a circle around a campfire where anyone can ask honest questions and find answers in the Bible. He’s seen plenty of evidence in 2018 that this ministry is providing joy in the lives of young people hunting for love, meaning and purpose. CTO volunteers, and youth ranging from ages seven to 20, have seen 155 game animals harvested, and hooked over 800 fish in 2018. Best of all, the groups’ loving interactions have proven them to be fishers of men. There were 45 decisions for Christ just last year.
Kevin credits these transformations to the Holy Spirit, whom he encountered 13 years ago, when CTO was formed by founder Mike Arnold. Kevin remembers his first night there: “Just sitting around the campfire and listening to these kids engage, and seeing how the Holy Spirit truly moved them was very uplifting to see. The questions of the day were, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Why are you here?’ The questions moved me.” But he could not answer the questions for himself.
“I tried. I just could not.”
CTO’s goal: to equip youth to passionately pursue a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ and fellowship with Him through the outdoors.
The “question of the day”– a staple in the CTO ministry – continued to trail after Kevin for three more years. “I knew I had a purpose in life. But I didn’t know what the purpose was.” And then, he says, “I discovered there was a purpose for me – that God does have a plan for me. And I never knew it was ministry!”
The CTO ministry has grown, now operating in nine states. Most of the members and visitors are boys, but there have been opportunities more recently for girls, too.
“We believe in giving back to our community. Especially to ministries like CTO that are building a solid foundation in Christ for the future leaders of our city and nation. The use of the outdoors, away from the noise of their phone, provides the perfect atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to go to work. Many boys, perhaps for the first time, will hear God’s voice and there is nothing that will compare to that.“
Spike Blevins Owner,
Christian Brothers Automotive - Helotes
Once or twice a month, each CTO chapter meets to teach a hunting skill. These skills nights bait the hook of curiosity for new kids and volunteers. “It can be any type of outdoor-related hunting or fishing skill. It can be trapping. Fishing. Archery. You name it,” says Kevin. “We tie the devotion to the skill. So, if we’re talking about duck calls, we might talk about the calling of God on your life.”
Those who love the skills nights often sign up for a day trip or weekend trip, and then eventually for a summer camp.
“Christian Brothers Automotive-Helotes is honored to partner with CTO in a variety of ways. One way is through our special promotions and our ability to give to CTO as a result of the community responding. I see real fruit from their unique outreach efforts. Understanding how a “real man” walks out his life and purpose as a result of his relationship with Christ is certainly one. Important future results include becoming a better husband and father. I personally invite you to join us in supporting the ministry of CTO that is raising up the next generation of men.“
Spike & Karen Blevins
The volunteers’ fatherly patience, conversational skill, and prayers bring transformation to lives. Wyatt Buckman, whose father was a contractor who never returned from Afghanistan, can tell you that now. But not at first.
“When Wyatt came on an outing with us, he was very reluctant to speak at all around the campfires,” says Kevin. “Meaning that we would ask a question – and if we got him to the point where he would speak, he would become very emotional, not knowing how to express himself. But as he kept coming, the Holy Spirit continued to grow him and sanctify him. I give credit to the Lord, going back to the first weekend he attended during a fishing trip, where he raised his hand to accept Jesus.” Fast forward to Wyatt at age 16. He’s now in a special CTO apprentice program. “He prays out loud when he’s asked to pray. We asked Wyatt to come to camp and be a discipleship coach.”
Nick Smith, 15, loves CTO also. He remembers his first trip. “I was 11. It was more of a hands-on kind of experience and the way these leaders were guiding us not only to hunt, but also guiding our way to Jesus. It just really spoke to me on a deeper level,” says Nick.
Nick’s been on three to five trips with CTO every year for the past three years and also plans to apply for the apprentice program.
We asked Nick if he’d ever trade more screen time for the experiences he’s had to grow in Christ, or hunt, or make friends through CTO. He said he’d choose the latter every time. “The experiences gained with CTO will form the man I grow up to be,” he says.
Be A Light.
Volunteer. Volunteers reap an eternity of reward by investing a couple of weekends a year. Best qualities for volunteers: a willingness to love God and kids. CTO also requires a background check. Volunteers are CTO’s greatest need. Call Kevin today if this is on your heart! Talk to your Pastor. Talk to your Pastor about Kevin introducing CTO to your Church. Pray. For safety, Spirit-led small group times, and landowner sharing. Give. Your financial support is appreciated. Kevin is happy to meet with you in person or you can make a donation at https://teamctotx.wildapricot.org/Donate
For over seven years, Spike and his team at Christian Brothers Automotive in Helotes have earned a reputation for honesty and professionalism – hard to do in the auto repair business. Of course, we serve our local community in Helotes, but people drive miles to bring their vehicle to us because of this reputation. Perhaps most importantly we give back to our community. Schedule a visit with us soon.
Mention the Beacon and get 10% off labor on all repairs up to $50. CTO will receive a $25 donation when you use this offer.
Automotive – Helotes
firstname.lastname@example.org | (210) 695.4528
12544 E. Bandera Road, Helotes, TX 78023