- Eric Bruce | Gwinnett Citizen
While attending a graduation party recently, Dustin Mattox was called over by a mother of a grad who introduced him to a friend. “This is someone who helped raise my son,” she declared. Dustin, by spending enormous amounts of time with student-athletes in a local public high school, was there to provide support, guidance, and friendship.
Dustin is a team chaplain, mentor, and character coach at Grayson High School. He is also part of the organization called NG3, which stands for Next Generation referring to current youth who will be future leaders. The 3, stands for the three tenants of the organization; character, community, and change.
NG3 started in 2011 when Dustin met Matt Williams who was a chaplain at Brookwood High School. They hit it off from the start and learned that they both were like-minded and passionate about serving students. “We saw the need to minister to the athlete,” Dustin said. “Matt had the vision of duplicating what he does on other campuses in Gwinnett. I fell in love with that vision and now we are doing it at Grayson.”
Now the organization has five men who serve in local public high schools. One whose name might be recognized is Jon Stinchcomb, who played at UGA and the NFL. “He’s the community developer and has a big heart,” Dustin says of Jon. “He wants to give back.”
Mattox grew up in Colbert, Georgia and graduated from Shorter College with a degree in Communication Leadership. While growing up in his church in Athens, he was involved in SWAT Ministries (Students With A Testimony) where he got his start in serving and ministering. “God called me to do this, it’s something I’ve been passionate about since I was 16,” Dustin said.
Dustin’s youth pastor, Jon Messarra, started SWAT and is a huge reason why I’m doing what I’m doing’ Dustin said. “He taught me how to lead by giving me a place to lead even when I wasn’t ready. But he gave me the tools and I grew into it. We still stay in touch weekly and he remained a mentor and friend”.
After college, Mattox continued his work with SWAT and later became a teacher at Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula. He married Erin in 2003 and and they have three children 1, 4, and 6 years old. Dustin next served as youth minister at Graystone Church in Grayson for several years and he began getting to know the young people in the area. Mattox then met Matt Williams and NG3 was formed.
The impact of NG3 is being felt and the results are impressive. “We target the student-athlete,” says Dustin. “We want to be a shoulder, ear, and a voice during hard times and crisis. We get to be with the students all the time, when celebrating and when hurting.”
So far the community is behind NG3 and supports them. “We want to build long-lasting relationships,” said Dustin. He currently is the chaplain or ‘character coach’ for the football and track teams at Grayson High School. He attends every practice and event and is there building relationships and being supportive. “Half the job is just showing up,” he says. But Dustin does much more than show up, he is there to build character, instill discipline, and challenge the students. He feels that sometimes its better to go deeper with a few students than to be shallow with many.
Attendance at Dustin’s Bible studies, instruction, and one-on-one mentoring is voluntary. He often has an athlete come to him on the side and ask for prayer. The coaches are all for it and welcome the support. “We want the coaches to see us as an asset,” Dustin says.
With any ministry, there are challenges. Getting through to some students in a public high school can be a struggle as there are many preconceived notions. “I want them to see me as a valuable member of the community, not just a religious person,” Dustin insists.
As a ministry, Dustin and NG3 have no salary and rely on support from the community. The roller-coaster of donations are a major challenge and they are grateful for every dollar sent their way so they can spend the time they need in fulfilling their mission. A positive and productive organization, NG3 is making a difference in Gwinnett County. You can reach any of the staff at NG3 staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit htttp://www.ng3.co.
Donations can be made online at http://www.ng3.co or mailed to:
NG3, 1440 Dogwood Rd, Snellville GA 30078.