About Neighborhood Ministries

How Did The Neighborhood Ministries Develop?

Neighborhood Ministries was born in the poorer sections of Marion, Oh when I was called to help a dying Presbyterian Church. Since no Methodist churches were available due to the merger between the Methodists and Evangelical United Brethren, I accepted the call. I was at odds with the older members from the beginning because they did not want a Methodist pastor in their church but no Presbyterian pastor wanted the church because it was in such bad shape. It took a great deal of persuasion to convince them that I was preaching from the Bible and my doctrine was neither solely Presbyterian or Methodist. They had very little doctrinal teaching and few of them knew what Presbyterians believed, let alone what Methodists believed. The church had a beautiful stone building but only about 27 members and its days were numbered since it could no longer support itself. The church was continuing to conduct services as they had done for many years and as the other churches around it did but it was dying as were the churches around it, because they were not ministering to their people. The church had contracted with the Community Action Commission (CAC) to establish a neighborhood center in the church to minister to those in the neighborhood and help the church pay the bills through the rent the CAC  paid, but they resented the presence of the CAC in the church because it required them to remove the religious displays from the areas it used. It was a difficult struggle to get the church to see that the area around it was a mission field of people needing to be ministered to, but once they did, they began to reach out and minister to those in the neighborhood. As a result, the church was able to begin attracting people from the neighborhood into the church. By the time I was in the church for nine months the church had grown enough to attract a Presbyterian pastor.

Since that time, I have been pastor of several churches and served as Assistant Pastor, Visitation Pastor, or Christian Education Director for several others from the liberal Methodist Church to the more Pentecostal Church of God, Cleveland, Tenn. I have been involved in helping a number of dying churches turn their churches around and begin to grow. I have seen the same lack of understanding of the Bible among the members of most of the churches I have served. The church catechism I developed was in response to a need for a simple study that could be used in churches of a wide variety of denominations. Many of those churches have also lacked any active ministry to their members or any active outreach to those outside the church.  As a result, I have developed a number of ministries to  help them reach out to those around the church. My work as a Social Worker brings me into contact with a lot of church people outside the church and has given me a great deal of opportunity to learn their needs and minister to them.

After  I left the church,  I had no clear direction, so my wife and I purchased a small trailer  and moved into a trailer park nearby.  When my wife and I first moved into a trailer park, several people heard that I was a pastor and asked if I would help them study the Bible. As I began visiting those in the trailer park, I found more people interested in studying the Bible. Churches had come around to invite them to their church but none of them seemed interested in ministering to them, so I began ministering to those in the park. Before long, I had developed three house churches within the trailer park but since my wife and I had to work to support ourselves, we did not have a lot of time to minister to them. Churches often complain about how no one outside the church is interested in the Bible and their church is dying, yet I have found many are interested in the Bible, but few are interested in church because of the way they have been treated when they attended.

I contacted all the churches in the area for help but none of them were interested in reaching out to those in the trailer parks and apartment buildings around us. I then contacted all the major denominations to find someone to help me organize the work, but none of them knew anyone doing neighborhood evangelism. I finally contacted the National Council of Churches but they didn’t know anyone either. It seemed like no one wanted to minister to those people. Some evangelical churches went door-to-door to invite them to church, but they didn’t want to minister to them. I have found that most churches don’t minister to their own people either. As a result, I have spent my life reaching out to those who the church has forgotten, both in the church and around it. I have supported my family and the ministry through my work as a Social Worker and regularly have contact with a multitude of un-churched people and have worked hard to help churches see the needs of their people and the people around them. I have been involved in developing a number of ministries besides the trailer park ministry including a ministry to single adults, a ministry to those who are divorced, and a crisis hotline where those in need of someone who cares can call 24 hour/ 7 day a week and talk to a live volunteer.

As an ordained pastor and licensed Social Worker, I frequently move between the church and those who for the most part have no church connection.  As a result, I have often been asked to speak on how to apply faith in everyday life. Because of my work in Social Work, I am often asked by people to help them find where they can serve the Lord. I also serve as advisor and consultant to pastors and church leaders who are seeking to develop ministries within their church and ministries to those outside the church. I have  also conducted seminars for various churches and organizations to help train Social Workers, pastors, and church workers and have written extensively about my work and the programs I have developed along the way. I am also available to fill in for pulpits that are vacant and conduct seminars for churches and organizations about poverty, homelessness, and programs to minister to the elderly.

Why Write Pamphlets?

As I speak to groups, I am often asked by Christians how they can live a life pleasing to God. Often, I am asked the same questions and so I began writing pamphlets to make the information more accessible. Eventually, as the number of pamphlets multiplied, I felt led to organize them into a systematic study that would help interested Christians gain an understanding of how to live in the world and minister to it without being corrupted by it. The books follow in sequence designed to help Christians grow spiritually and find areas to serve God, beginning with the first level that sets down the basic Biblical principles that God laid out. The second level consists of two books that detail the world, its nature and how we as Christians can relate to it in a way that God desires us to. The third level is for those who have learned to apply the Biblical principles in their lives and feel led by God to reach out and minister to those around them. In it, I have tried to lay out the needs of those around us and how we can minister to those needs through personal, church-based, and community based ministries. The level consists of two books. Finally, I have developed a series for pastors and church leaders who are tired of the same old failing programs. The series is designed to help them deal with the problems faced by the church and help them reorganize their churches to minister to their people more effectively and to begin reaching out to those around their church who have never heard the Gospel. I have also developed a variety of resources for churches and individuals which go beyond the series of books. These books are not meant to be the final word and in fact have repeatedly been revised and updated as I continue to work with churches and individuals.  I have gone into them more in detail in the sections on books and pamphlets and hope that they will help others grow spiritually and find areas of ministry

Why On The Web?

My wife and I have moved constantly following where the Lord leads and I often hear churches complaining about how no one wants to serve the Lord anymore.  Yet, as I speak at conferences, I am constantly confronted by people from as far away as California who want to serve the Lord but don’t know how. They don’t feel called to be a preacher or a Sunday School teacher, but their church offers them little else. I understand the feeling. I have often offered my services to churches I have attended but few have any real ministries to those outside the church. Churches have abandoned many of the ministries that they formerly carried on. Without support from the churches, the ministries have sought to support themselves by reaching out to individual Christians for support. As a result, there is a growing number of religious organizations that are growing up to reach particular groups but the average church member is not aware of them because their local church does not support them. As a result, few church members have any understanding of what opportunities are available for them to serve God or what types of ministry they could do.  Therefore,, I have been active helping church members find areas to serve God. I hope that this website will enable me to reach those who may not be aware of the books or  who cannot get to one of my seminars and will provide me with greater access to others that are working in various areas so that we can all continue to learn and grow spiritually as well.

Why Use The Christian Calendar?

Many evangelicals question why I continue to use the Christian calendar since most evangelical churches associate it with the old temple worship and such ritualistic churches as the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the Orthodox Church, and some Lutheran Churches who go through the motions but for whom it has little meaning to members. Unfortunately, they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  Without it, the evangelical churches have tended to lose the teaching of the major doctrines of the church resulting in the great spiritual poverty which most evangelical churches are experiencing today.

We celebrate that which we feel is of value. The calendar provides a way of celebrating and therefore remembering the major doctrines of the church as God intended. God would not have  commanded the Jews to observe it forever if it was only a snare that would trap the weak or a temporary practice to be abandoned when Christ came. Christ commanded the disciples to celebrate the Passover, which we call Communion, in remembrance of Him. Are the birth of the church or His Second Coming of no value?

How People Can Use This Site

This site provides information about various ministries and links to related ministries that can provide the reader with additional information. It also provides links to other available resources. I have also provided links to enable readers to contact me for more information.