SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Every Saturday morning, a group of men gathers at a church in the MLK neighborhood — they gather in faith, hoping to change the lives of not only each other but people in the community.
Every Saturday for 25 years, Pastor Benjamin Blake has been using his faith to change the lives of people in his community.
The men's ministry meets every Saturday at Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church at 8 a.m.
Blake is over 90 years old and will be at his church no matter what.
"This program is my heart," said Pastor Blake.
Saturday mornings, he hosts men from across Shreveport at his church. He fellowships with them and teaches them about how they can inspire change in their communities reaching out to those who wouldn't come into his church on their own.
"They're not going to come here - but every man out there that comes out here Saturday morning, he's been somewhere. You've got drug addicts out there - used to be. They've been to jail, there are some men that shot some people out there. They gave their lives to Christ that now, the teaching of the Word, they can translate that back to those people they associate with," said Pastor Blake.
"I came by because she said it was men getting together trying to make a difference in basically most of our young black males lives," said Bobby Cooper.
Bobby Cooper has been coming almost every Saturday morning for 3 to 4 months with his son, Robert. He says he's seen a noticeable difference in his son.
"He's up before I am sometimes wanting to come to this because he says he can relate to it," Cooper said.
James Reed is another man who's been touched by Pastor Blake's message.
"I came here after I left Texas prison, doing 32 flat years. This whole program has helped me change my life," said Reed. He continued, "I was a bad guy most of my life in my younger days. And, I killed a guy."
Reed has been coming Saturday mornings since 2011 and says if it wasn't for Pastor Blake or this program, he doesn't know where he'd be.
"Since I've been here, I've been coming and coming and coming and doing everything that I can to stay focused," said Reed.
Pastor Blake says he is also doing more outreach this Christmas by giving out toys to children in need in the area around the church. They're asking for donations to be brought to the church.