Recently opened on Harkrider Street in the building that formerly housed Second Baptist Church is the Ministry Center, which will serve as a "home" for several ministries and eventually as a resource for people in many kinds of need.

Greg Pillow, chairman of the board of the Ministry Center, said, "There are three things we’re trying to accomplish. First, we want to share the love of Christ to those around us by meeting their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Second, we want to give Christians an opportunity to serve others. And third, we want to build unity in the body of Christ with multiple churches coming together to support this."

He said before Second Baptist Church moved out of the building to its new campus on Dave Ward Drive, members began to discuss the possibility of dedicating the building to hands-on ministry. The church put it to a vote in October 2012, and then a steering committee was formed to brainstorm ideas for the Ministry Center. The board was formed in the spring of 2013, and it began meeting in June, he said.

"We’re in the process of applying for our 501(c)(3)," he noted.

Soul Food Café, which has been housed at that physical location for some time, will be located in the Ministry Center, Pillow said. Choosing to Excel will have a summer program. The Arkansas Dream Center is involved. Also, Mosaic Church and Rock Church both meet for their services at the Ministry Center, he noted.

"We did help with disaster relief after the tornado. Churches came together and collected supplies, and we distributed them," he said.

Pillow continued, "In August we’re going to start case management and mentoring for adults and families. We definitely want to meet their physical needs, but we also want to come alongside them and build a relationship with those who want help in areas where they struggle.

"We don’t want to duplicate anything that’s already being done. If they’re a good candidate for transitional housing, we’ll get them connected with Bethlehem House. We don’t want to duplicate, but if we can assist them with long-term assistance, we do want to help them."

More aspects of ministry that will be coming to the Ministry Center are just over the horizon, he said.

"We see a need for an emergency shelter, and we’re trying to find a way to make that happen, but funding is the biggest obstacle. A lot of things we want to do are in the future."

He added, "We have a few groups of people coming in to get the campus looking better, and then in August we’re planning an event to kick things off formally."

Spring Hunter, interim director of the Ministry Center, said, "We’re just excited to see how all the little pieces of the puzzle come together. There are ministries that need a house that are all coming together under one roof. I’m excited to see where it’s going.

"It’s a work in progress. We’re talking to people almost daily that are interested in partnering."

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson may be reached at 501-505-1236 or