Home at Last
New facility allows inner-city ministry to expand services.After 29 years and five different locations, LifeBridge Inner City Ministry recently moved into its first permanent home on the south side of Savannah, Georgia.
It isn’t just having a stable headquarters that thrills Assemblies of God U.S. missionary Jonathan M. Brown. He is joyful about the Lord’s ongoing reassurance during their long search.
“God keeps confirming His call when your back is up against the wall and you don’t know how to keep going,” says Brown, 51, who serves with Intercultural Ministries. The church spent more than a decade seeking a facility of its own.
“God’s timing is always perfect,” Brown says. “We kept holding on, looking, praying, and remaining faithful. Now there’s a greater excitement and anticipation. We’re looking forward to what God has for us.”
Brown has had a heart for inner-city ministry for over a quarter century.
Kathy Hammond, an Ohio transplant who moved to Savannah in 2013 after falling in love with the city on visits to her sister, calls securing the building a miracle, even though it will require at least $100,000 of renovations. With her husband, Kenneth, the 67-year-old Hammond, who is part of Radiant Life Christian Fellowship, prayed for Brown to find the right facility.
“I told Jonathan he may not get what he wanted, but he’ll get what he needs,” Hammond says.
“It’s going to give us a home base where we can have everything we need under one umbrella,” says Brown, whose helpers include his wife, Sharon, plus daughters Rebecca, 22, and Hannah, 14. “We’ll still be able to do ministry downtown, but expand to other needs in Savannah.”
Most recently occupied by The Light, the building became available in late summer when that church merged with Southside Assembly of God (Southside launched LifeBridge in 1993.) The ministry’s new home includes a 6,000-square-foot sanctuary that seats up to 300 people and a 15,800-square-foot, two-story family life center with classrooms, gymnasium, kitchen, and other facilities.
Outreaches that will meet there include its Boys and Girls Ministries on Thursdays, Power Teen Club on Thursdays, food ministry, clothing closet, Saturday worship services, and Family First. The latter hosted its first funeral Oct. 5, just days after LifeBridge relocated.
Hammond, a onetime caterer who offered to fill in when the former cook left seven years ago and still has the job, expects LifeBridge Inner City Ministry to grow.
“Having this facility where I can cook is wonderful,” Hammond says. “Before, I did most of at it home and then transferred it to another location.”
Despite the move, LifeBridge will continue serving free meals to the homeless from a downtown location every Monday: the parking lot of the Savannah Baptist Center. Lately the dinners, which are followed by a worship service, Bible study, and prayer, have drawn upward of 100 people.
LifeBridge is also looking for help from area churches with such upgrades as plumbing, painting, new carpet, cleaning, and installing new security doors.
Renovations will allow the ministry to hold an open house and dedication, which Brown hopes will happen in early 2023. He says the move also will help LifeBridge recover from the effects of the pandemic, which restricted activities at community centers and other sites.