Change that ONE thing

Mitch Mitchell challenges young people to have a transition, influence others

A team captain in football, Mitch Mitchell held a secret so explosive no one else could know. Some people who knew weren't going to tell - Mitch was their marijuana supplier.

"I went from using marijuana every day to selling marijuana to my teammates. I looked at my father on his death bed and realized, 'He doesn't know me at all,'" Mitchell said this morning as the day four speaker of the 38th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast, held for the first time at Clinton High School. Mitchell joined the Duke athletic department in Jan. 2009, after serving 6 years as team chaplain for the football, men's basketball and women's basketball programs at the University of Tennessee.

"My oldest child struggled, because of me. She was 3rd in the nation in gymnastics. She had problems with relationships, at one point she was beaten up," Mitchell said. "I never had one at your age, but you young people need a transition early in life, so you can influence the person on this side, and that side of you. Life is about making a transition so you can influence someone else."

Now, Mitchell's oldest daughter has her master's degree, is married with one child and another on the way. His middle daughter has a college degree, and his youngest daughter graduates in May. He said he calls his wife, The African Queen.

"The one thing that changed me is Jesus Christ," Mitchell said. "The toughest sin is a sexual sin. I struggled at a young age, and one of my daughters suffered from (his struggle). The sins of the father do not affect them any more."

Mitchell surveyed the crowd of about 500 Clinton High/Clinton Middle School students seated in the CHS gym, and made an unusual request - come to the gym floor. "Think about your one thing you're ready to get rid of," he said, and give it to Christ. He prayed with the large group that came forward, knelt and held hands.

Mitchell said he gave up "that one thing," his drug use, working through Christ, and has gone on to a successful coaching and pastoring career. 

The community prayer breakfast concludes Friday. Breakfast is available in the CHS cafeteria at 7:15 am, and the program starts in the gym at 8. Friday's speaker will be Chris 'Shep' Shepherd, founder and CEO of Keep the Change Inc. A prayer breakfast flyer says about Shepherd: "Shep now desires to 'make plays' off the field by making a difference in others' lives. As a nationally recognized chaplain, and character/life coach, Shep conveys this message to all people regardless of race, gender, denomination, class or age demographic, igniting them to live a life of purpose, and to make every day count. His vision is to see the world of sports dominated by selfless leaders who walk much louder than they talk."


With its final session Friday morning, the 38th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by the Clinton Family YMCA and the Clinton High/Clinton Middle chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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