When Shepherd’s HOPE moves into the Mays School we are purchasing from CPS, 12 Ministry Partners will be coming alongside to be fully housed in the building and/or to expand the programs and benefit from the services. This article describes the work of each of these partners.
The Lord started putting together “The Way” about 5 years ago and gradually built it to 13 ministries today (including Shepherd’s HOPE).
- God’s End Time Church was one of the first ministries the LORD introduced to Shepherd’s HOPE. Pastor Nathaniel Hill is the founder and the leader of this ministry. Nate was once where a lot of people in this community are or were at one time. He was a drug addict, addicted to heroin – but by GOD’s grace he was saved and now he is livinging the word of GOD and sharing his testimony. God’s End Time Church meets Sunday mornings at 11 am (in a rented space). Nate also does Wednesday evening bible studies at 7:00 pm. For the past 2 years the church has also been doing Saturday morning breakfasts and discipleship through community outreaches. Pastor Nate and his team will be coming with us to the Mays School facility.
- Kingdom Lifeline Ministry is a drug and alcohol abuse ministry whose focus is discipleship through outreach and helping others. Pastor Kurt Williams is the founder and executive director, one of the true men of GOD. I’ve had the privilege of knowing him personally and watching him grow and mentor men who were struggling with substance abuse. I can’t wait for all of us to be working together under one roof, so I can have a ringside seat to see the affect that these men of GOD are going to have on this community.
- IMPACT Family Center is a teen and family ministry founded and operated by CEO Marsha Eaglin. Talk about a ministry that is having a profound effect on the people the LORD has surrounded her with! She knows and loves JESUS; you can feel that love by the fruit she bears through the relationship and trust that pours out of this ministry. Marsha also does GED classes, computer and web design classes, and community outreach activities besides mentoring these teens in life. See complete list of services on their website here. What a blessing it will be for this ministry to join us at Mays School!
- Pass-it-on-Academy is a daycare ministry that was co-founded by the first community volunteer to serve at Shepherd’s HOPE. Darryl Coleman and his wife Theresa started this ministry to help single mothers that need daycare and cannot afford to pay the going rate. The most important aspect of this ministry is not the discounted rate for the single mom, rather it is the way the staff shows the LOVE of JESUS to every child that enters the doors of this ministry. The LORD took Darryl home about 3 years ago, but because of HIS leadership, Theresa is still loving on these kids. In my heart of hearts ministries like Pass-it-on-Academy and IMPACT are the ministries most needed to change the heart of a community. I am so proud that they are a part of our team.
- Breath of Life Christian Center is a prison ministry as well as a (Daycare and After School Program) started by Jeff Pirtle and his wife (Nicole). Jeff has been working in the prison system teaching inmates about the love and saving grace of JESUS for the past 15 years. Jeff really has a heart for the prisoners because of his love for Christ and because he used to be one of them. Nicole’s love for kids and love for Christ makes her the perfect woman to guide the children of this community. Jeff and Nicole also do outreaches to bring the community together to show the LOVE of CHRIST in action. These are 2 special people with plenty of street experience and a dedicated love for people – because they live Christ-centered lives. They are a tremendous asset to the collaborative and add a quality of leadership that is scarce in the world we live in today.
- Xperience Church is a Christ-centered outreach ministry and house church led by 2 very talented and dedicated Christ followers that LOVE JESUS with all their heart and soul. From the time you first meet Dwayne and Linda Grant, you feel their LOVE for each other as well as the LOVE for JESUS they exhibit freely to everyone they surround themselves with. The first time I met them they were doing a Friday evening outreach in front of a liquor store at 67th and Halsted where loving on the least of these is a way of life. Dwayne’s real talents are in his ability to preach the word of GOD as well as his talent as a worship leader. As you are beginning to see, he LORD has had HIS hand in creating a diversified and talented team of men and women of GOD. Believe it or not, that liquor store where I met Dwayne and Linda is one block from Mays School. How ironic.
- Kody’s House is a ministry started by a young girl while going to nursing school. Idella (Washington) in the midst of preparing herself for a nursing career decided that on weekends she would prepare meals for the homeless and unreached. She came to the pantry about 3 years ago after talking to one of our volunteers. She asked if we had any food we could share with her for her ministry. From that point on we have supplied her food on a weekly basis to make it possible for her, her boyfriend Vince and another friend to be able to prepare and disburse meals every weekend on the street to the homeless or anyone they encounter in need. She is now a nurse and continues her ministry. I can’t wait for the day when we have a kitchen open 7 days a week so we can supply and prepare the food for Kody’s House and give Idella and her team a break to focus on distributing the meals and spending more time on building relationship and trust with the people they serve.
- Nehemiah Construction was started by Ed Domagal and his partner. Their construction company takes young men off the street and teaches them work ethic and job skills. As they spend the time in instruction, they disciple them by introducing them to the saving grace of JESUS CHRIST. The goal once we get the Mays School facility will be to start their training in the classroom in the evenings and when the “students” are ready for hands-on experience, they will place them with a crew and then give them on the job training. They will teach them to be team players, how to complete a job and what a finished project looks like. Over and above job training, they will teach them how to live a CHRIST-honoring life as they disciple them, which is the most important part of their job training. Pastor Ed is the perfect man to disciple the young men. He has been mentoring young men for years through his street preaching ministry. Along with discipleship he will be teaching them good work ethic and skills. I am looking forward to Pastor Ed being a part of our team. He is a man of integrity and character, something very much lacking in today’s world.
- God’s Helping Hand is operated by Pete Harvey and has been around for at least a decade. Shepherd’s HOPE started partnering with them about 4 years ago. They came to us through a friend of mine. When I met Pete, the number of people needing a hot meal was a lot greater than the food they had available. After partnering with us they were able to feed 4 times the number of people they were feeding before Pete met us. Pete and his volunteers have to prepare the hot meals and as he has shared with me, the volunteers aren’t always available. By GOD’s grace sometime in the near future we will have a kitchen operating 7 days a week that will be able to prepare the meals for God’s Helping Hand, as well as all the other ministries in need of hot meals.
- Arrows Outreach is a unique ministry but with the same mission. Their mission is discipleship but how they accomplish that mission is unique. House churches are not common place in America but are very biblical. Michele and Ojo Patterson are a young couple who LOVE JESUS and LOVE to share who HE is and are not shy, but zealous about what HE has done for them and the people they have discipled. I met Michele and Ojo a little over 5 years ago as they were doing street outreach and bible studies, which they are now using to build house churches. I believe house churches are the future of the American Christian movement. We have lost the tight-knit community of families that worshipped, prayed and walked through life together and as a result have lost the transparency that existed when small groups of people did life together. That is what separated true followers of Christ from all other types of religiosity. I think Mays School is the perfect venue for building a house church network and is a perfect place for the leaders of the house churches to meet on a weekly basis to discuss how things are progressing and how they might work together on community projects. Michele and Ojo will be there to spearhead these meetings mentoring and guiding the leaders. If there is one ministry that I cannot wait to see blossom, it is this one because it could easily have the most explosive effect on this Englewood community.
- Heritage Church. Three years ago I walked into Heritage Church because my wife and I had moved to Grayslake, IL and were looking for a place to call our church home. The pastor that Sunday preached a message on discipleship that was straight from the Bible, telling everyone in the church what real discipleship means and what a genuine discipleship is. From that day forward, Heritage has been the church my wife and I attend.
Every year in November they showcase a ministry that they partner with for the coming year. In 2016, they chose Shepherd’s HOPE and it became the beginning of a great relationship. They made a commitment to support us financially. What a blessing! But what blew me away was how they got involved by volunteering on a regular basis. This allows the church that’s serving to grow as followers of Christ because the people get the opportunity to see JESUS come alive. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus says: “As you have done for one of the least of these, my brothers, you’ve done it to me.” I can’t wait to see how the purchase of Mays school will open more opportunities for more people to see JESUS come alive. Thank you LORD for bringing us together. ONLY GOD!
- Greater Chicago Food Depository is our largest provider of food (and one of the largest in the country). They have been with us since the beginning. Beside the food we have a great opportunity to partner with them on a much larger scale. We told the CFO that we were looking for a larger venue and they told us that when we get a place, they would like to help us turn our food pantry and family feeding center into state of the art facilities by supplying walk-in coolers and freezers, sinks, stoves, prep tables, tables and chairs and whatever else they could get donated. I can’t wait to see how the LORD is going to use this great organization to raise up this Englewood community from the depravity that exists into the hardworking, family-oriented neighborhood it was.
Thank you LORD for the Mays School and all the ministry partners that will be a part of your plans for this building.