Hardin Baptist Church has
changed its name to Venture and the resurgent congregation is seeking
facilities in nearby Dallas in which to host a variety of new ministries as a
venture in missions.
A 90-year-old church about
six miles from Dallas, Hardin’s facilities cannot accommodate the growth that
now requires three services: one traditional and two “rocked out.”
Rather than spend
millions of dollars on new facilities to accommodate the church family’s
activities, pastor Austin Rammell says the church prefers to invest funds in
ministry to others._ÑŒ_ÑŒ The church changed its name to reflect its vision and
passion to change the world, Rammell said.
He listed several mission outreaches
the church plans or is already doing.
Several Venture members have
trained with the school system to be mentors for at-risk students in North
Gaston High School.
“We have dared people to take on the awesome privilege of
helping a teenager grow as a person, not just for the purpose of graduation but
also for life as a whole,” said Rammell, a member of the Baptist State
Convention Board of Directors.
Because some poor children
don’t eat on weekends when they have no school meals, Venture partners with
Carr Elementary School to provide such children with backpacks stuffed with
food for a weekend of meals.
On Friday students pick up their backpack and
return it on Monday. The church currently provides weekend meals to 16 children
with a goal of 100.
Venture has adopted the
tough southeast Dallas district, which has a high incidence of arrests, drugs,
gang problems, teen pregnancy and a serious lack of home ownership.
Rammell said Venture members have decided no longer “to drive by this
neighborhood and act like it’s not there.”
Believing home ownership is
a key to revitalizing a neighborhood, they bought three building lots and
donated two to Habitat for Humanity. The church has built one house and started
a second in February.
Long term, Venture plans to
launch ministries in Dallas that “will have a massive impact on our efforts in
southeast Dallas as well as in the call of scripture to ‘make disciples of all
people,’” Rammell said.
“We believe God has called us to turn Dallas upside
down for Christ.”
So Venture intends to launch
a preschool and afterschool program for 200 children.
A current program in
their facilities is limited to 22 children and is distant from the population
that needs it most. So the church is asking God for a building downtown Dallas
in which to offer high quality, affordable childcare, tutoring and mentoring.
The site would provide both employment for some and a significant place for
Venture members to volunteer in significant ways.
Given the right facilities
in town, the church wants to establish both a Crisis Pregnancy Center and an
overall crisis center to help people with through issues such as hunger, job
placement, job training, adult education, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.
To follow the venture www.DareToVenture.org.