A few weeks ago I wrote about one of my heroes in ministry. Here is a link to that post. Today, I want to tell you about another one of my heroes. His name is Pastor Mike.
Pastor Mike runs a drug/alcohol/homeless shelter in Columbia, TN called A Place of Hope. He started the facility 12 years ago and has never charged any money for his program. Pastor Mike is also a singer/songwriter. Here is his myspace page.
A couple of years ago Pastor Mike’s assistant called me to set up a time to meet with him over coffee. Until that phone call I had never heard of him, nor A Place of Hope. Pastor Mike and I met at Starbucks, and as soon as we started talking, I knew I had a new friend and a comrade in ministry. I very quickly learned to love Pastor Mike and his heart. Pastor Mike is a recovering alcoholic himself, with over 25 years sobriety. He is one of my heroes.
Here is how Pastor Mike’s ministry works:
Most every Friday night, Pastor Mike and some friends (most of whom are recovering drug and alcohol addicts) go to Downtown Nashville to pass out sack lunches and drinks to the homeless. They park an RV in a car lot and set up some chairs and sound equipment. They then take another van, full of sack lunches, and drive to known “homeless hangouts” to make sure those who do not come to the parking lot still have something to eat. The homeless they encounter on Friday evenings are invited to a church service held in a warehouse in Downtown Nashville every Sunday morning. At the church, they can get something to eat, some clothes and blankets, and other things they may need, no questions asked and no obligations. Through the Friday and Sunday outreaches they build relationships with the homeless and invite them to participate in their drug/alcohol program in Columbia. Those who want to get off the streets and get sober are then taking to the shelter in Columbia and invited to stay as long as they need and as long as they are in the program. Everything A Place of Hope and pastor Mike does is centered around Jesus, grace, and forgiveness. Again, Pastor Mike charges no money for all this. He operates his ministry solely on faith. They were given a 40,000 square feet nursing home to house their ministry, and recently they were given $500,000 to put a new geo thermo unit in their facility. In addition, the ministry also owns a few transitional housing units and a small apartment complex for people with disabilities who are on governmental assistance.
Every year, Pastor Mike hosts a tent-revival on their property in Columbia, TN. This year, I had the privilege of speaking at one of the services and our church’s praise team led in worship. It was an amazing time! God’s Spirit was present and people’s hearts were receptive. At the end of the evening, I prayed with Pastor Mike and told him that I envied him and would trade places with him in a heartbeat if I could. He and his staff are reaching the “untouchables” in my community. He is giving hope to those who have given up on hope. He is continuing the healing ministry of Jesus. Through the power of the gospel and Pastor Mike’s obedience, lives are being changed.
Pastor Mike, if you get to read this humble post, be encouraged. You are a faithful servant of God. What you are doing is making a difference is people’s lives now and in the life to come. God bless you. You are my hero.