Ministry Spotlight: Walk to Fight Infant Mortality on Sept. 24

Memphis and Shelby County have been consistently named as having one of the highest – if not the highest – infant mortality rate in the United States. In order to combat the infant mortality crisis, Christ Community Health Services, a local Christian-based not-for-profit that seeks to meet the medical and health needs of Memphis’ underserved population, offers the Centering Pregnancy program.

Centering Pregnancy takes a unique approach to prenatal care, which encompasses self-care techniques, group prenatal care and facilitated meetings, which industry studies have shown to contribute to reduced risk of preterm birth in participants. Mothers in the program attend regular facilitated meetings with Christ Community staff and other mothers with similar due dates, where they are able to learn not only from the medical professionals at Christ Community, but also bond with and learn from other expectant mothers. They feel more involved and in control of their care and empowered to ensure they deliver a healthy, full-term baby.

Sisters in Motion Memphis, a group of African-American women with a shared interest in fitness and fellowship, will host its Second Annual 5K to benefit Centering Pregnancy on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. at Overton Park. Your support as a walker, runner or sponsor will help the organization make a difference in infant mortality by assisting with education and prenatal care through Centering Pregnancy. For more information about SIMM or to register, visit For more information about Christ Community Health Services and/or Centering Pregnancy, visit

God’s People Working Together

The following article was submitted by Eleanor Jacobs from The Neighborhood School and is a part of our Ministry Spotlight Series.  If you would like to share an article in our series, please contact Hope.

God’s People Working Together in The Neighborhood School’s Residential Program

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph 4:16

Rogelio Duarte was recently praying with our dorm parent and his prayer was for his mother and that all those helping would be used by God to continue to work together to support his mom and his family.  Rogelio came to The Neighborhood School (TNS) almost two years ago by the way of Second Presbyterian Church Members.

As a church, Second Presbyterian was helping the Duarte family.  Their father had been deported to Mexico.  Their mother was not able to continue rent payments on their home and was evicted by the landlord.  She desperately  needed a place for her 3 sons to live and attend school.  2PC reached out to The Neighborhood School because of our Residential Program, and we welcomed Rogelio and his brothers Jonathan and David with open arms.  They began 8th, 7th, and 4th grade with us and their mother participated in residential program activities and came along side us in bible study. Their mother was very committed to her sons, but was going through a hard time.

We had no idea what blessings these boys would bring us. Nor did we know how many lives they would impact.  When the boys arrived at TNS they were very quiet and introverted.  They also were afraid and wanted to sleep together in the same room (in the photo you see their 3 beds pushed together).  Just after a month in school they began raising their hands in class, laughing with friends on the playground, standing taller with more confidence, and soon they decided their oldest brother could move into another room so they’d have more space.

About one year after the boys came to TNS, their mother, Martha, began feeling weak and was taken to a doctor.  She learned that she had stage 4 breast cancer.  Immediately, the TNS staff contacted people who had become involved with the boys, and efforts were begun to develop a plan of care for Martha and longer term plans for the boys.  As a result, arrangements have been made for a home and for hospice care for Martha.

Rogelio had just graduated 8th grade, but we made an exception to let him continue to live on campus and he is now a freshman at Kingsbury High School. Families from 2nd Presbyterian coordinate taking him to school and our dorm staff pick him up, as he lives in the dorm and participates in our Residential Program activities.   Rogelio is doing really well, he just  represented his high school in a robotics competition in Knoxville, and as an honors student, was  selected to go to Nashville for a week of class off-site. He placed in a swim meet last Saturday and will become a member at 2PC this Spring.

Jonathan (an 8th grader at TNS) is active in the youth choir at 2nd, participates in 3 degrees, and goes on missions trip. He’s doing very well in school, won 2nd prize in the Science Fair, recently came in 2nd for his age group in a 5k race, and placed as well in the swim meet. He will become a member at 2PC this Spring.

David’s 4th grade teacher recently said that David had improved so much since first arriving at The Neighborhood School. Having the support of a church community, the dorm parents, dorm staff, other dorm students, and still being close enough to his mom to be near her as she battles cancer has been a huge help for him. David is very involved with Boy Scouts, loves to play soccer and basketball, likes computer games, and is well-liked by his teacher and friends. He’s one of the first to volunteer whenever something needs to be taken care of.. He’s also a great listener. He has a great sense of character, and almost all of the new boys that come into the dorm ask to be his roommate.

The Duarte brothers go home on the weekends so they can visit with their mother. She has been in hospice care and battles a lot of pain. She needs a lot of prayer!! Her mother, Maria, who is a very godly woman, came from Oklahoma to care for her and does a phenomenal job of caring for her 24-7. However, they also spend a good portion of their weekends at church members’ homes, farms or at Boy Scouts campouts.

The leaders of the Scout troop in which the boys in the TNS residential program are members have become increasingly involved in the boys’ lives. Several people who have developed connections with the boys are helping the family with living expenses.  Two women from 2PC visit Mrs. Duarte several times each week to pray with her and minister to her needs.  Three families have become legal guardians of the boys.  The families know the boys from Boy Scouts, church at 2PC, and the school.  One family alone didn’t feel they were able to support all 3 boys, however they are all working together to support these wonderful kids

What makes the The Neighborhood School so special is the people behind it–the volunteers, staff and donors.  Strong connections are made between our students and their families and the people who support us.  It is not unheard of for volunteers and prayer partners to take in students after they graduate TNS and make them a part of their family while they attend high school.

At TNS, we are not only teaching academics and the love of Christ, but we are connecting these children to community members who will love and support them forever.  We are building trusting relationships between our students and our volunteers and staff to help guide these children to live productive and happy lives. None of this would be possible without our donors and supporters.

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Find Out More:
Eleanor Jacobs eleanorjacobs12[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ministry Spotlight: Visible School

The Visible School was recently featured in our Spring 2011 Hope Newsletter.

While touring worldwide as a performer with the Grammy-nominated Christian rock band Skillet, Ken Steorts observed a disturbing number of young musicians with great promise yet seemingly little guidance, instruction, or purpose. In response, Ken founded the only independent, accredited music and worship arts college in the world, Visible Music College, whose name was inspired by the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his challenge for Christians to be the “visible community” in Nazi Germany.

Beginning with 21 students in 2000, Visible Music College has carried out its mission to train and equip recording artists, technicians, music ministers, and music business professionals in skill and character development for effective service in the music industry and in the church. Visible Music College students can earn a Bachelor of Ministry degree or a one-year certificate in one of three concentrations: music, music production or music business. Enrollment, which is currently at 120 students, is limited to ensure a supportive, experiential education that fosters a seamless transition both from high school to college and from student to professional. Drawing from both traditional and vocational educational models, as well as Christian ministry training, this non-denominational Christian college has pioneered a holistic program that is equally academically challenging, vocationally practical, and spiritually empowering.

Visible Music College has already purchased the iconic glass-front building at 200 Madison and plans to renovate the facility to include a concert hall, library, recording studios, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and an atrium performance space. This 44,000-square foot “green” complex, which will be accessible by bus, car, or trolley, will support enrollment up to 180 full and part-time students. Visible Music College will also secure a nearby eco-friendly condo project at 670 Madison Avenue in The Edge district with a trolley stop literally at the front door. In addition to housing 72 students, this residence will also include rehearsal and recording facilities.

Visible Music College’s presence in the heart of downtown Memphis will provide accessibility to key partners including STAX Academy, Memphis Music Foundation, Neighborhood Christian Center, KIPP Academy, and many others. Their new urban campus will allow them to offer enhanced educational and community service programs for both children and adults including music worship workshops, summer youth programs, a public concert series, and Visible Community Music School, which will provide affordable lessons to 150 children per week. Visible Music College is more than a college campus–it is a community of artists, technicians, ministers, and business people serving the church and society with their collective energy and talents through worship and innovation in all artistic endeavors for the glory of God and for the benefit of all people.

Find out more at or call 901.381.3939. If you are a local ministry interested in being in the Hope Ministry Spotlight, please contact Hope.

Conference: Business As Missions at IPC April 29-30

Independent Presbyterian Church, Second Presbyterian Church and Mission to the World announced an opportunity in Memphis we feel will greatly benefit the Hope Family.

Have you wondered if there are more ways to contribute?
The value of working behind the scenes of a local church or ministry or making financial contributions cannot be underestimated, but perhaps there is another way businesspeople can fully use their business gifts and skills in ministry?

Ways God can use YOU…
– Teaching business principles to those in another country
– Helping start micro enterprises where there is a need
– Mentoring small/medium enterprise owners
– Opening a business yourself in another country
– Being a coordinator overseeing Business As Mission (BAM) inititives
– Contributing financially to missions locally and globally

Does this mean you have to leave your job, move overseas?
That is one way to serve, but it is not the only way.  There are many paths to ministry.  Any church can benefit from a healthy and active business community, especially when those companies operate on sound Christian principles.  Of course, having members involved in business means that a church is more likely to be self-sustaining.  In many countries, doors into the local business community are more open to business people than to a pastor.  A local businessman or woman may be freer to offer a Bible study to their employees.  Also, businesspeople may have more opportunities to witness to those outside the faith and disciple other believers than a pastor.

Business is a universal language, opening doors to the Gospel.
Business As Missions (BAM) is an important part of a strategy for creating church-planting movements around the world and producing stronger churches that recognizes that Jesus is Lord over all of life.

Conference Speakers:
Rev. Richie Sessions – Pastor Independent Presbyterian Church
Rev. Sandy  Willson – Pastor Second Presbyterian Church
Dr. Brian Fikkert – Founder, Executive Director  Chalmers Center for Economic Development
Peter Greer – President, Hope International
Mike Baer – President, The Jholdas Group
Alan Barnhart – President, Barnhart Crane & Rigging
Tom Phillips – President, Diversified Conveyers, Inc and IPC Ruling Elder
John Tubbesing – Director, Business As Mission Mission to the WOrld
David Gowdey – President, Barrington Gifts
Bill Goodman – Director, Field Operations Mission to the World

Make arrangements to attend:
This two-day Memphis conference, co-sponsored by Mission to the World, Second Presbyterian Church and Independent Presbyterian Church, will be held at Independent Presbyterian Church (PCA), 4738 Walnut Grove Road; Memphis, TN 38117 on Friday, April 29th, 8:30am – 8: 30pm and Saturday, April 30, 8:30am – 5:15pm.  $70 per person (before 4/1/2011) or $90 person (late registration).

Click HERE for online registration/payment
Click HERE to download a printable PDF of the brochure and registration form
General Information

Hope Tops List of Memphis Granting Agencies in 2010

The Commercial Appeal spotlight shined on Hope this morning with the following article from Toby Sells.

Hope Christian Community Foundation gave $30 million to 200 nonprofit organizations in 2010, and while it wasn’t an annual record for the foundation, the figure made Hope the largest granting agency in Memphis.

Mike Harris, Hope’s executive director, noted that the foundation’s giving in 2010 was down from the $32million mark set in 2009. But, he said, “Our donors were very generous and our giving held up.”

Still, the donor pool remained a “mixed bag,” he said, in a recovering economy.

“A couple of our larger donors are companies that are still feeling the impact of the recession,” Harris said. “But individuals — the doctors, lawyers and professional people — their business must have picked up over last year, which put them in a better position to give.”

Hope gave more in grants in 2010 than did the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, normally the largest donor-advised foundation in town. CFGM gave $26.3 million in grants in 2010.

Harris said Hope was not being “prideful” about being the largest grantor, and CFGM president Robert Fockler said there was no competition among Memphis foundations and was “thrilled” Hope did well last year.

He said CFGM gifts and grants are down nearly one-third from prerecession levels. That figure, he said, can almost be directly tied to the slumping stock market as gifts are typically from assets, not income.

“So, when (donors’) assets got hit — like they did in the stock market in 2008 — it takes awhile for that shock to wear off and takes awhile for their assets’ value to rebound,” Fockler said.

But Fockler and Harris agreed that things are looking up for 2011, both citing strong giving in December as a bellwether.

Individuals tend to delay giving until December, Harris said, as they begin to close the financial books on the year. He said giving in December 2010 was higher than the Decembers of 2009 or 2008.

Hope’s donors mainly direct their funds to Christian organizations working to serve the poor in Memphis or working to spread the Christian gospel in foreign countries.

Advance Memphis is one of those organizations. It provides job training and resources to the residents around the Cleaborn/Foote public housing development in Memphis’ 38126 ZIP code, once one of the nation’s poorest postal codes.

A Hope grant was directly responsible for a program that finds work and hires some of Advance’s toughest-to-place students, those with felonies, for example. But it’s not all about the money, said Advance’s executive director, Steve Nash.

“It’s also the network and introductions we get (from Hope) that are valuable as well,” Nash said. “We get introductions to business men and women and leaders in the city that become volunteers and connect us to resources that become jobs (for Advance students).”

— Toby Sells: 529-2742

Hope Christian Community Foundation
Founded: 1998
Total grants: $175 million
Current assets: More than $100 million
Current funds: 300, ranging from $1,000 to more than $10 million

Find out more about Advance Memphis at

Tom Phillips Generous Testimony

“His blessings were always greater than our sacrifice.”

Tom Phillips recently shared how God moved his family and Diversified Conveyors to give sacrificially and cheerfully. Tom was kind enough to allow HOPE to spotlight his testimony of generosity at the 2010 Hope Celebrate Generosity in Memphis lunch on November 2, 2010 at the University Holiday Inn.

In 2000, Tom Phillips started Diversified Conveyors (DCI), after being employed for 17 years by another company.  From the start, Tom envisioned DCI as a vehicle to give back to the community.  Over the past ten years, the Lord has richly blessed DCI far beyond their expectations.  DCI is one of the leading U.S. designers and manufacturers of conveyors for clients such as UPS and FedEx.  More importantly, it is giving back both in Memphis and around the world.

Celebrate Generosity In Memphis 2010

Is generosity in Memphis contagious?  From where we are sitting, we know it is.

The Hope Foundation is excited to announce our annual luncheon with a focus on Generosity in Memphis.  On Tuesday, November 2nd we say “thanks” for the giving in Memphis.  Bryan Lorrits from Fellowship Memphis Church will be our keynote speaker on the topic of generosity.  We are also proud to highlight giving testimonies from Hope donors.

What:  Celebration of Generosity in Memphis
When:  November 2, 2010; 11:30 – 1:00 PM
Where:  Holiday Inn, University of Memphis Campus, 3700 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN‎ 38111
Keynote:  Bryan Loritts speaking from Matthew 25:31-46, “Engaging the Less Fortunate”
Cost:  $25 Per Person or $250 Per Table


If you would like to use your Hope donor advised fund to sponsor a table, please contact Hope at 901.682.6201 or please purchase a ticket using this page and print your reciept to bring to the event.

This will be a great event to celebrate how God is moving through generosity. We would like to encourage you to invite your pastor and financial advisor to join us.  Memphis is unique in national giving statistics and Hope is proud to highlight all that is happening around us.

Memphis Teaching Residency

The Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) was founded in 2009 to positively impact student achievement in Memphis’ urban schools by recruiting, training and supporting outstanding teachers, all within a Christian context.

MTR recruits both elementary and secondary teachers from both education and non-education majors.  The 09-10 initial class has 23 residents (13 secondary and 10 elementary). MTR anticipates a class of 32 residents (out of 159 applicants) for the June 2010 – May 2011 residency year.  One mid-term goal is to grow to staffing 20% of all Memphis City Schools’ 700 annual teacher openings with MTR graduates.

The MTR believes urban education is the single greatest social justice issue in America today.  It also believes that great teachers can absolutely make the difference in a child’s life.  So, it is their vision to call the most capable young leaders of this generation into urban education.  Christ, as the example, willingly left comfort and security for the sake of those (us) in need and as His followers, we are called to do the same. And they are asking the next wave of leaders to consider the places of greatest need for their vocation, and not to simply consider the places of greatest opportunity.  Or, as they like to say around MTR, need is the new opportunity.

As a window into this vocation, Director David Montague received a recent email from a MTR Resident:

I have a student named Andrea (name changed).  I’m cleaning out her seat sack today when I come across a few notes written about her.  At first I assume that an older cousin or bully could have written them…  One said, ‘Andrea House is ugly.  She is so domb.’  It broke my heart so I placed it on my mentor’s table….  My mentor later came back with a sampling of handwriting from the mother’s previous notes to the school.  It was a dead on match.  My heart was broken for this little girl.  Her own mother doesn’t believe in her or encourage her.   I was overwhelmed with grace for this child… we’ve had so many behavior issues with this girl…. kicking at teachers, running out of the room, hollering and screaming on a daily basis…. She has improved… but it’s been a daily battle. Today I finally saw past all her behavior outbursts… and saw this beautiful child of God.  It would be so easy to lower my expectations of her- knowing what she probably hears on a day- to-day basis.  However, I need to be professional and effective in the classroom.  I cannot lower my standards because I feel sorry for Andrea’s situation.  If I do that – I will ultimately fail her.

This is the big idea…  MTR is sending leaders into these places of high need equipped to be effective teachers and filled with high expectations for their students.  Their strategy is to send these teachers out en masse, in clusters, within strategic sets of feeder patterns (elementary, middle and high school networks) year after year after year. Over time, they hope to grow a majority number of MTR graduate-teachers within these schools and feeder patterns.  As they do, they hope to substantially impact not only classrooms but also entire school and feeder pattern cultures of learning.  Imagine the day when an “Andrea” might have a MTR graduate each year from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The article above was submitted by David Montague, director for Memphis Teaching Residency. For more information on the MTR, please visit

HOPE welcomes unique Christian initiatives that will change Memphis for the better.  If your non-profit is interested in being highlighted, please submit articles to

Downline Ministries: Recruiting a Better Memphis

DownLine (DL) is a local ministry committed to the training and equipping of church, ministry, and lay leadership to more effectively make disciples. Many have heard of the DownLine Institute, in which 120 of the Christian ministry and lay leaders in the city are presently being trained. However, less may be familiar with an incredibly redemptive facet of the ministry taking root in the community, the Emerging Leaders (EL) Program.

Continue reading →

Celebration of Generosity in Memphis

Hope Foundation Sees Significant Donation Boost

The largest Christian community foundation in the United States, it has assets of about $55 million, but its strategy is to share that wealth rather than build endowments. It is on track to break records in 2009. For the first nine months of this year, the foundation has received $24 million, an increase of 18 percent from the same period a year ago.

“The Hope Foundation is just a conduit for people to give their money through,” said Mike Harris, president of the foundation.

[pullquote_right]“This is what is remarkable about our donors. They have increased giving in 2008 and increased giving in 2009, in years that are obviously challenging. Most other nonprofits have seen a decrease in giving.”
– Mike Harris
President, Hope Christian Community Foundation[/pullquote_right]

The people who support the foundation – almost 400 of them – dined on turkey and dressing at the “Celebration of Generosity Luncheon” last week, but thanksgiving prayers occur throughout the year for those involved in the organization.

Wealth, Health and Wisdom

Alan Barnhart gives thanks because he and his brother, Eric, are able to share the profits from Barnhart Crane & Rigging. They have given $1 million a month to Christian charities in the past two years.

“I didn’t want financial success in business to be spiritual failure in life,” Barnhart told the attendees at the luncheon.

Another personal testimony came in the form of a videotape. David Montague, who once worked as an investment broker and now serves as director of Memphis Teacher Residency, told how taking a one-year sabbatical from excess spending changed his life.

In a follow-up interview Monday with The Daily News, he said people with affluent lifestyles become enslaved to their incomes.

“The sabbatical year trains you or reminds you that the whole point is not to live to the absolute highest degree that your income can afford you,” Montague said. “That’s a great lesson to learn, how to live beneath your means. This is gospel. By definition, Christ lived beneath his means. He was downwardly mobile for the sake of other people.”

Practicing What They Preach

Founded only 11 years ago, Hope Christian Community Foundation has experienced impressive growth in donations. It supports educational initiatives, youth programs, churches, families and international missions.

“We serve about 250 donors through managing what we call donor-advised funds, which is the functional equivalent of a personal foundation,” Harris said. “These are families, individuals and companies that have funds with us. Our founding Bible verse was ‘seeking the peace of the city,’ Jeremiah 29:7.

“We have broadened that to include the world, obviously. The idea is that our donors are investing in Christian ministries because they can transform lives, and that’s the bottom line to our foundation.”

Giving last year totaled $34 million, up from $19 million in 2007, he said, and donations this year are on track to surpass last year.

“This is what is remarkable about our donors,” Harris said. “They have increased giving in 2008 and increased giving in 2009, in years that are obviously challenging. Most other nonprofits have seen a decrease in giving.”

Barnhart Crane & Rigging is one of the biggest contributors. Alan Barnhart said he and his brother decided to enact safeguards when they bought the business from their parents to keep wealth from taking over their lives.

“The first year of our business we actually made a little money,” Barnhart said. “We were so excited to be able to give away up to $50,000.”

The business has grown at the rate of 25 percent a year for the past 23 years.

“We’re 100 times as big as we were when we started,” Barnhart said. “We’ve gone from being able to give away tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands, and a few years ago, we got to the point where we could give away $1 million a year.

“One of our guys said, ‘Why don’t we stretch the goal and give away $1 million a month?’ In 2008 and again in 2009, we were able to meet that goal.”

Giving has allowed the Barnhart family to live more simply than most successful businesspeople, but Alan Barnhart said they have enjoyed a greater degree of freedom and other blessings.

“It’s been much more fulfilling to be a giver than it would ever have been to be a consumer,” he said. “It has been much more freeing to be a steward than it would ever have been to be an owner.”

The above article was published in the Memphis Daily News by Tom Wilemon

Although Hope did not record Alan Barhart’s Generous Testimony, the following is a similar testimony he shared recently at a Generous Giving conference.