The Ministry was initially a joint effort of the Baptist Metrolina Ministries and Jackson Park Baptist Church located at 5415 Airport Drive, in the Jackson Park Community of Charlotte’s west side. The church had about 50 members.
At the time of its founding, a young graduate of Gardner-Webb University, Kelvin Smith, became the pastor of the church and coordinated its community ministry activities. He was assisted by Dale and Kris Shields, Bill and Naomi Reid as well as by other volunteers from area churches. These churches also provided some financial assistance to the Ministry.
In the early years, Jackson Park Baptist Church and its Community Ministry began to feed neighborhood children on Wednesday nights, incorporating mentoring, Bible study and recreation along with serving meal’s. As the children grew in numbers, neighborhood adults began to come to the Church for assistance with food, rent, utilities, transportation and other material needs. The church and its ministries responded with material help and spiritual guidance.
From its very beginning, and continuing to the present, Jackson Park Ministries hallmark is teaching biblical responsibility and accountably to all who come to it for assistance. While we help people with their material need, we point them to Christ who is the lasting answer to all of their needs.
In 1993, a gymnasium was built to provide a safe haven and a wholesome place for learning where children and youth could be taught Christian values and behavior.
In 1996, sixteen apartments were acquired and eight of them beautifully remodeled and furnished to serve as transformational housing for two parent and single mom families while they were learning the life skills to ultimately live independently. The apartments house residents in a twelve to fifteen month “real love” program which heals their lives spiritually while teaching them how to become good employees, effective parents, and wise stewards of their finances.
In 1998, Jackson Park Baptist Church outgrew the Airport Drive facilities, relocated and became Steele Creek Church of Charlotte.
Concurrent with these changes, Jackson Park Ministries officially became an independent, 501(c)(3) charitable organization with its own governing body of a board of directors and supported by local area churches, businesses, and individuals.
In 1999, a third apartment building was renovated to be occupied by Transformational Housing participants.
In 2004, the Ministry, with funding by a benefactor, purchased seven more two story apartment buildings along with the gymnasium which has been completely renovated.
In 2006, a fourth apartment building was renovated for use by families in the Transformational Housing program followed by the completion of the renovation of a fifth apartment building in 2007.
Elevation Church and Jackson Park Ministries partnered to complete a sixth apartment building in 2010. The remaining four buildings will be completed as funds permit.
In 2010, Jackson Park Ministries entered into a partnership with Sylvan Learning in its school mentoring program for students in Elementary School. 2010 will be the fifteenth year of operation for this program.
Also in 2010, the Ministry completed a new athletic field in order to expand its children and youth ministries, and added another ministry to assist single moms in partnership with Safe Journey and Communities In Schools.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future.”