18 September, 2021

Putting Life Back in the Community

by | 21 March, 2016 | 0 comments

By Jennifer Johnson

For more than 125 years, the house at 516 N. Wall Ave. in Joplin, MO, has reached local residents for Christ””as a private home, as the first campus of Ozark Christian College, and later as the home of North Joplin Christian Church. Today, this historic building continues to facilitate ministry as the Neighborhood Life House, a nonprofit organization that builds relationships with community members and shares the love of Jesus through a variety of programs for children and families.

A leader speaks to a group at the Neighborhood Life House in Joplin, MO, which seeks to be a stable and supportive place for children living in what a local minister calls a

A leader speaks to a group at the Neighborhood Life House in Joplin, MO, which seeks to be a stable and supportive place for children living in what a local minister calls a “high-poverty, high-crisis area.”

“A group of us at College Heights Christian Church had been working with a ministry to an apartment complex on the south side of town,” says Katie Hargrove. “We”d always dreamed of having a building of our own with more space where we could have a long-term presence in an area.”

The outreach minister at College Heights discovered the North Joplin church had closed and placed the building for sale, and while he was praying on the steps of the building, a member of the former church drove by and asked if he was interested in the property.

“We thought, Maybe God is doing something!” says Hargrove. “The process moved quickly, and in 2009 we incorporated, set up a board, and moved into the building.” Today Hargrove serves as the director of Neighborhood Life House, coordinating a range of programs designed to “put life back into the community.”

“This is a high-poverty, high-crisis area,” she says. “We want to be a stable place that provides extra support to these families.” This support includes a karate club; an after-school program with lessons, games, art, and service activities; a weekly “Creative Kids” gathering that connects children with local artists and encourages their creativity; a reading club; and even a free play day when kids can simply enjoy themselves in a safe, fun environment. Every activity includes a very low ratio of students to adults so that each child can experience personal attention, enjoy conversations, and build relationships with volunteers.

“We also offer special events like trick-or-treating at Halloween, a Christmas candlelight service, father/son and mother/daughter events, and a parents” night out””we keep the kids so mom and dad can go on a date,” Hargrove says.

Although the programming meets practical needs, everything is done as a way to share God”s love.

“As we create our programs, we want people to know who Jesus is,” she says. “But Jesus also cared for physical and emotional needs. We want to create neighborhoods that thrive because people who love Jesus are there, pointing to him.” Some local residents have caught the vision themselves, volunteering at the Life House or opening their homes, and a few others have moved into the neighborhood as missionaries.

“There are so many stories from neighbors about growing up here next to Ozark or the church and finding a connection to Christ because of the ministry that happened in this building,” Hargrove says. “This is the next chapter in that story.”


<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Fellowship of Elders

A committee devoted to strengthening the elderships of our churches formed in 1942 and sponsored a series of columns in Christian Standard throughout 1943. As part of their introductory article, they shared an “Elder’s Achievement Chart” that most elders should find interesting.

Missouri Colleges Will Be ‘Better Together,’ SLCC President Says

Under a merger plan being discussed between Central Christian College of the Bible and St. Louis Christian College, the latter’s campus “will remain open and functioning as normal for this entire academic year,” SLCC president Terry Stine said.

Safe Parking Ministry Helps Segment of Homeless Population

Overlake Christian Church’s Safe Parking Ministry—for people who don’t have homes but do have cars—has been helping with the spiritual and material needs of this segment of the homeless population since 2015.

Three New Churches Launch (Plus News Briefs)

Three churches had their first official worship service on Sunday: Accelerate Church of Camden County, N.J., Beacon Christian Church of Derry, N.H., and Elevate Christian Church in Lexington, Ky.

Follow Us