Pas­tor looks to re­unite com­mu­nity

Mathis plan­ning fam­ily con­fer­ence

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Tyler Smith

Lis­ten­ing to Pas­tor Carl­ton Mathis speak, it is easy to tell he is very pas­sion­ate about ev­ery as­pect of his life and the lives of those around him.

From preacher to en­tre­pre­neur, from com­mu­nity ac­tivist to lov­ing fa­ther, only a man as fer­vent as Mathis could jug­gle so many re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at once.

Six years ago, Mathis heard the call­ing of God and the con­gre­ga­tion of Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church who were in need of a new pas­tor. Since ac­cept­ing the po­si­tion, Mathis has been a man on a mis­sion to or­ga­nize what he de­scribes as a tremen­dous con­gre­ga­tion.

Last Au­gust, Mathis or­ga­nized the “Crit­i­cal Hour Fam­ily Con­fer­ence” which ad­dressed the ris­ing rates of drug use, gangs and poor school per­for­mance in the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity in New­ton County. The con­fer­ence was such a suc­cess, Mathis is al­ready pre­par­ing for Crit­i­cal Hour Two in Au­gust.

“It is go­ing to fo­cus on the in­creas­ing num­ber of young men who are drop­ping out of school,” Mathis said. “In the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, only 35 per­cent of males grad­u­ate with a de­gree. We are go­ing to fo­cus on the dropouts and the in­creas­ing num­ber of gang ac­tiv­i­ties that are tak­ing place in the Cov­ing­ton area.”

Mathis hopes to send a clear mes­sage that peo­ple need to stand up and have a voice in the com­mu­nity.

“We want peo­ple to take on re­spon­si­bil­ity in their own com­mu­nity and to show an al­liance be­tween par­ents and kids,” he said. “We want to bring par­ents and young kids back to­gether again to where the par­ents are in­volved with their chil­dren’s lives.”

The con­fer­ence will also ad­dress the im­por­tance of fam­ily val­ues as it re­lates to a suc­cess­ful com­mu­nity. Of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance will be the fa­ther’s role in his chil­dren’s lives.

“If you don’t have a male par­ent in the home young black men are more sus­cep­ti­ble to com­mit­ting crimes and get­ting into gangs and get­ting into drugs,” Mathis said. “If you don’t have strong par­ents in the home you open the door for tragedies to take place. I be­lieve we need to re-look at the fam­ily es­pe­cially in the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity and see that we can­not al­low our young women to raise our men by them­selves. We have to put the male back into the pic­ture.”

Those in­ter­ested in be­com­ing in­volved be­fore the Au­gust con­fer­ence can also par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral meet­ings at Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary through­out the win­ter and spring. The church will host sep­a­rate men’s and women’s break­fasts in March with a goal of com­mu­nity dis­cus­sion on the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing young moth­ers and fa­thers. This in­cludes how best for a fa­ther to raise a young man and how moth­ers can keep their daugh­ters away from images and ideas they should not be ex­posed to at such young age.

In Fe­bru­ary, Mathis will lead a fi­nan­cial sem­i­nar aimed at ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity on the ba­sics of re­fi­nanc­ing while the mort­gage rate is go­ing down and learn­ing to plan for the fu­ture.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about this,” Mathis said. “For a long time in the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, we’ve had a men­tal­ity that ev­ery­thing we get com­ing in fi­nan­cially, we spend out with­out hav­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of sav­ing money and in­vest­ing money. When we don’t in­vest, we don’t pre­pare to leave an in­her­i­tance for our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and we have got to break that cy­cle. Un­til we change our men­tal­ity, we are never go­ing to come out of the poor­house so to speak.”

Mathis is a man who surely knows of fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. Three years ago, he be­gan his own busi­ness called Ad­vanced Oc­cu­pa­tional So­lu­tions. Pre­vi­ously, he man­aged one of the lead­ing or­tho­pe­dic oc­cu­pa­tional clin­ics in At­lanta where he so­licited busi­nesses for their ac­counts when an em­ployee was hurt on the job. While with the com­pany, Mathis landed ma­jor ac­counts in­clud­ing the City of At­lanta, At­lanta pub­lic schools, Delta, FedEx and AirTran.

One day I was tak­ing to At­lanta Mayor (Shirley) Franklin and she said, ‘If you can get busi­nesses for some­body else, why wouldn’t you get it for your­self?’” Mathis said. “It prompted me to think and to go back and strate­gize. I de­cided I wanted to be out­side of the box. I don’t want to just work for some­body. In­stead of punch­ing the clock, I wanted to own the clock.”

With the sup­port of his wife LaShanda, Mathis founded Ad­vanced Oc­cu­pa­tional So­lu­tions. Since start­ing the drug test­ing com­pany, Mathis has signed up sev­eral large ac­counts in the At­lanta area.

When he is not preach­ing or work­ing, Mathis spends his time with LaShanda and their three chil­dren, Ni­cholas, 8, Alia, 4, and Kaela, 6 months old.

“I’ve been mar­ried 13 years and I ab­so­lutely love it,” Mathis said. “I don’t hear enough men talk­ing it up. It is the best thing a man can do. It com­pletes you. My wife is awe­some.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Mathis and the Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church pro­grams, please call (770) 9222661.

Preacher: Carl­ton Mathis, who pas­tors the Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church, preaches a mes­sage of unity and com­pas­sion in the com­mu­nity.

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