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For Ahmad Washington, being the male role model that his father wasn’t in his life, motivates his work with students both at the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco and with his MovementUp ministry, as well as being a father and husband.
Washington grew up in southwest Houston in a single-parent home with his mother, Ida Faye Washington, and an older sister. His father was abusive to his mother, who ultimately pushed him out of their lives.
“I continue to thank my mother for the way she helped me become the best man I could be,” he said. “I wanted to be everything that my Daddy was not. I wanted to be super-intentional about cultivating and nurturing my role as a husband and a parent.”
At Methodist Children’s Home, where he serves as spiritual development minister, he is often in that father figure role with students from troubled homes.
He has a similar role with MovementUp (www.movementup.net), a youth motivation service he founded that uses rap and hip hop music, which has long been a passion.
“Music is like the appetizer that engages them for the message, which is the meal,” Washington explained.
Through MovementUp and a friendship with Chilton ISD Superintendent Brandon Hubbard, Washington weekly visits the school district to give motivational talks to groups like the volleyball and football teams as well as one-on-one mentoring.
“It can be informal, like visiting with a student over lunch, and talking about things in a setting where they don’t have to be embarrassed,” he said. “It’s all about impact. That’s where my heart is at.”
Washington came to Baylor as a football player, and he graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work, which serves him well in his work. Music remains a key part of his life.
Since October he has added the role of worship director with Life Church Waco under pastor Gabriel Dominguez.
The church, which is in the Robinson Drive United Methodist Church building, is now considered the South Campus of First Methodist Church of Waco after some organizational restructuring in July.
“It’s such a diverse group,” he said of those who attend the 6:30 p.m. Saturday hip hop service. “Even though it’s hip hop music, we have a DJ, and we have a couple of regulars who are in their 70s. I see people there who are double- and triple-degreed to those who come wearing an ankle monitor.”
He originally attended the service just to be a worshiper, not a leader. But by his fourth Saturday of attending, he was approached by Dominguez — who knew of his music background — about taking the reins of the service.
“God convicted me,” he said. “The Lord told me to do it. I believe that God puts me where I need to be.”
He also enjoys spending time in the studio at MCH “just creating something. God is the only one hearing it.”
Washington said he is proud of the work he does at Methodist Children’s Home with a strong staff and great leadership by president/CEO Trey Oakley.
“We all work together and it’s great to see God continuing to advance what you’re doing,” he said. “It’s sowing into good soil.”