The story of Forerunner Mentoring is the story of redemption, love, and intentionality. It is the story of the Gospel, how one man came to love those who did nothing to earn it. He came to enter into relationship with them and show them a new way that leads to life. Forerunner Mentoring is the story of its founder, Zachary Garza. It is the story of how the Lord placed multiple older, Godly men in the life of an angry, rebellious, fatherless young man who was on the path to nowhere to show him the love of Jesus Christ.
Forerunner Mentoring Program was birthed in the summer of 2009 when Zachary Garza was participating in a life-changing discipleship leadership program in Nashville, Tennessee. This program confronted Zach and showed him that the anger and rebellion in his heart was ultimately a consequence of unforgiveness and deep, emotional hurt. The Lord began to clear Zach’s heart of the evil caused by the enemy’s lies and his parent’s divorce to free him up to start transforming him into a man of God. It was also in this program that Zach decided to fully devote his life to Christ and to helping out the fatherless of his community of Lake Highlands. Having been equipped in vision casting and leadership through this program, Zach felt called to start a 501c3 non-profit called Forerunner Fund.
"It is the story of how the Lord placed multiple older, Godly men in the life of an angry, rebellious, fatherless young man who was on the path to nowhere to show him the love of Jesus Christ."
Forerunner Fund began working towards its 501c3 certification in early 2010 as a scholarship program that would help successful fatherless Lake Highland seniors attend the college of their choice. Our main goal was to get these fatherless kids to college and to break the cycle of poverty. After doing extensive research in fatherless statistics and in the area of poverty, Zach realized that sending a kid to college without preparing him in other areas of his life is like putting a “bandaid over a bullet wound”; it might help a little bit, but eventually it probably won’t end well.
After Forerunner Fund hit a road block due to having a hard time finding supporters and board members for its organization, Zach began to reflect on his own life and what the Lord was really calling him to with this ministry in Lake Highlands. Zach felt the Spirit’s urge to have him abandon the scholarship fund idea and instead focus on one-on-one relational mentoring, which was what the Lord used to change Zach’s life. Back to the drawing board alone and somewhat frustrated, Zach continued to search the Lord for help and direction for his program.
Momentum shifted in January of 2011. Steve Hardin, Zach’s pastor at the time, introduced Zach to a gentleman by the name of Jonathan Hafemann, another member of his church. Steve knew Zach’s heart for the fatherless and also knew that Jonathan had a similar vision to help young men impacted by the generational cycle of fatherlessness. Although Jonathan grew up with a caring and loving father in his house, Jonathan’s father grew up without a father himself. Jonathan’s father being fatherless played a major role in his life as he lived with a father who never had the opportunity to live with and to learn from his own father. Jonathan’s father’s life was greatly impacted when a family called the Riso’s started to pour into him and mentor him into the highly successful and engaging man that he is today. It was obvious that mentoring played a huge part in Jonathan’s life and in the legacy of his family.
Zach and Jonathan quickly got to work brainstorming about how to use mentoring as the tool to transform the fatherless community of Lake Highlands. We received our 501c3 approval in May of 2011 and started looking for fatherless young men to mentor soon after. Greg Johnson, our first chairman of the board, was introduced through a friend of Zach’s. It was over a dinner at Gloria’s Cantina that Greg heard our vision and became our first board member. Jonathan was our first mentor with the newly renamed Forerunner Mentoring Program a few months after when he was introduced to a highly intelligent and hilarious 8th grader named Twquan. We’ve been mentoring fatherless males and doing our thing in the Lake Highlands community area ever since.