FUNDation Strong: Forming Boys in Wisdom and Stature

Second Presbyterian Church birthed Presbyterian Day School in 1949. The founding of PDS was an important missional decision by our church in furthering God’s Kingdom. Since its inception, PDS’s mission has been to honor God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. PDS is deeply rooted in its founding belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and that Christian education is vital.

It is an integral part of the PDS mission to provide an academic and Christian foundation not just to those who can afford it, but also to boys who would otherwise not have access to a PDS education. Second Presbyterian Church and subsequently the Foundation have historically supported that mission with the Clay Scholarship Fund, which was established by a donor to support boys of members of Second seeking financial aid through PDS. Scholarships in the amount of $215,000 have been provided since 1985.

In an effort to reflect God’s Kingdom and the city of Memphis, PDS also has been taking intentional and strategic steps to become more ethnically and socioeconomically diverse.  PDS Headmaster Steve Hancock recently stated, “We need to make certain this world-class education is affordable and accessible for all qualified applicants. The possibilities are very exciting as we build a robust community that mirrors our city.”

The PDS Young Scholars Program was launched in 2010 to provide the opportunity for boys from any part of the Memphis area to attend PDS. The initial efforts have borne fruit in the lives of many young men, who are now well on their way to completing the secondary level of school. There are an additional twenty young scholars who are currently enrolled at PDS across the JK – 6th grade spectrum.

“The great news about this program is that PDS has, for many years, successfully recruited, welcomed, discipled, mentored and graduated boys from under resourced families,” says Don Batchelor, former PDS Board Chair and 2PC Foundation Board member. In fact, the first Young Scholar graduates were so well taught and mentored that they were all in the top half of their respective classes.

Based on this proven track record, PDS expanded the program in the fall of 2017.  The Foundation also established the Presbyterian Day School Young Scholars Fund at that time The PDSYSF will help support this goal with partial scholarship funding for tuition and related costs to attend PDS.

With Christian Leadership Development a key missional focus for the Foundation, in the fall of 2017 the Board approved partial support for one Young Scholar for eight years and also established the endowed Fund with seed money of $50,000. A goal of approximately $300,000 will net sufficient earnings to sponsor an additional student in perpetuity.  The Fund also has an expendable component, which allows donors to contribute resources that can be immediately deployed to support current students.

John Alexander is the Chairman of the PDS Board and also serves on the Foundation Board. He said, “The PDS Young Scholars Program is helping qualified boys who might not otherwise have the opportunity to gain access to world class Christian education. In supporting this program, the 2PC Foundation is participating in changing our school, our church, and our city for the glory of God.”

Learn more about the PDS Young Scholars Program.

FUNDation Strong: Forming Millennials and Gen Zs in Christ

Why would an early 20-something move to a city mostly unknown to him or her; live with complete strangers; be placed in their first job upon graduating from college with the guidance of people they only recently met; commit to hours of more study and volunteerism; dwell in community with a complete group of peer strangers; and pay an additional year of tuition to do all of this? 

The answer: To start well.   

Each academic year about 10 recent college graduates arrive in Memphis to participate in the Fellows program at Second for the next 8 ½ months.  The Memphis Fellows is part of a network of almost 30 Fellows programs across the country that are members of The Fellows Initiative, a national organization committed to the flourishing of Fellows programs. This growing movement is a proven model for forming millennials and now Gen Zs in Christ.

As part of a state-wide two day legislative trip to Nashville, the four Tennessee Fellows programs convene annually to attend legislative sessions; tour the Governor’s residence; meet with state legislators and other public officials; learn about civic involvement; and fellowship with other Fellows. The Memphis Fellows also met with recently inaugurated Governor Bill Lee and his wife, Maria, as well as Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

The Memphis program is now in its 14th year, having a total of 123 participants. The weekly elements of the Memphis program consist of a 32-hour internship in a chosen industry; instruction in both Christian world-view and Bible study; testimonies from speakers from various vocational disciplines on the integration of faith and work; round-table dinner discussions on relevant topics or for fellowship; and volunteerism with ministries in the community.

Other elements throughout the year include vocational discernment and preparation; counseling assessment; financial planning; domestic and world missions exposure; evangelism; a silent retreat; and a mentoring relationship. Addressing the cultural issues of the day through the Christian lens is a key component. 

The results of the program are impressive both at the national and local levels. The spiritual formation of over 2000 millennials nationwide and the encouragement and training of them to be engaged in the local church is the overarching accomplishment. In Memphis, an overwhelming number of graduates have chosen to remain in Memphis at least for a few years, investing in this city. Concurrently the new member rolls of Second have included many Fellows graduates.

Deborah Coleman is the current Fellows Director. She is responsible for overseeing, through the work of committees, the functions of recruitment; placement in homes, jobs and with mentors; instruction and programming; volunteerism; and alumni involvement; as well as being present in the lives of the Fellows during the program year and sometimes beyond.      

As with most educational programs, tuition does not cover the entire cost to administer the program.  Second provides valuable but limited support to the program. In 2012, the Foundation was asked to help manage the growth of the modest resources that the Fellows held. Subsequently, donations were directed to the newly established Fellows Fund and the Board later directed a portion of a bequest to it from an individual who had valued the purpose of the program.

The fund exists for scholarships for participants unable to pay or raise the total tuition and for programmatic support. The Memphis program annually hosts the Micah 6:8 regional conference for half of the national programs. Funding for the conference speakers has been a part of the grants made as well as for the silent retreats and registration fees for the female Fellows to attend the church’s annual Women’s Retreat and the male Fellows to attend a similar retreat. 

The goals and results of the Fellows program are far reaching at many individual and corporate levels; enhance the local church; impact many of its ministries; and impact the community in which we live. The Foundation is pleased to have the opportunity to support this intensive method of developing future generations of leaders for the church.

Seminarians at the HEART of the Mission

Price Morrison chats with Barr Overcast who recently received a Master of Divinity from RTS Charlotte. Price served as a mentor to Barr during his years in seminary.

Price Morrison chats with Barr Overcast who recently received a Master of Divinity from RTS Charlotte. Price served as a mentor to Barr during his years in seminary.

The history of Second’s commitment to funding seminarians who are members of our church goes back at least to the early 1960s. When researching those old and sometimes yellowed records, one has to smile at the quite literal “carbon copies” of documents; the formality and length of hand written letters of correspondence; the odd shaped forms of promissory notes for student loans to be forgiven if engaged in full time Christian work; and most notably the price of seminary in those days.

The Wills and Endowment Committee of the Session – the forerunner to the Foundation – facilitated support for about 65 seminarians until 1998 when its work came to a conclusion as it granted its pool of resources – almost $3,000,000 – to seed this then new organization, the Second Presbyterian Church Foundation.

So it is appropriate that support for seminarians is arguably a core mission and priority of the Foundation. As part of the transition, the Foundation assumed responsibility for six funds that were established either from bequests or memorials given.  The majority were given in the mid 1980s. 

For those who have been at Second for a while, the names on these funds will resonate – Earl Hooks, Dr. Jim Hazelwood, Blanch Pence, Martha Stewart, William Crosby and Sara Vanfossan. For most others the names will not ring a bell, but the ongoing impact of these funds is mighty. Together they established an early pattern of dedicated support for this form of intensive preparation for ministry.

Due to the nature of the funds established in another economic time, the current total of these funds is $185,000, which nets approximately $9,000 per year. In today’s economy, that covers expenses for less than one year for one student.  

However, because of the historical commitment to providing support for our members called to full time ministry and the long term proven results, the Foundation Board marries funds from its undesignated fund to make up the difference in what is needed from year to year. For instance this year the total commitment is $240,000 for 30 seminarians. 

Ideally the Foundation will one day have enough resources housed in a dedicated fund that will meet the expense needs for our seminarians, freeing up those undesignated dollars for missional work at home and abroad. 

The Foundation recently received a bequest of $85,000 from donors who prioritized the support of seminarians during their lifetimes. Appropriately, the Board directed that bequest to establish such a fund with the hope that it will accumulate adequate resources over time.

So what is the result of the $993,000 that has been spent in the first twenty years? Immeasurable Fruit. There have been 67 students supported with an even more number of degrees earned. Degrees such as Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. 

Students obtained those degrees from institutions such as Reformed Theological Seminary either in Orlando, Charlotte, Jackson or as part of the RTS Global Education program; Covenant Seminary in St. Louis; or Gordon Conwell Seminary near Boston and in Charlotte, among others. 

Seminarians are still required to continue into full-time Christian ministry upon graduation and the overwhelming majority of those supported remain in Christian service today. They are ordained pastors; hold non-ordained positions of leadership in churches; serve as counselors in a Christian setting; are missionaries in foreign lands; serve in many and various types of para-church organizations; and work in Christian educational environments. 


The stories and the fruit are voluminous. Ten seminarians have been featured over the past year as we have learned in detail how they are sounding forth the gospel in various parts of the world. 

The success of this investment is rooted in the thorough examination and application processes that candidates are subject to – for the good of all. The Foundation works with the pastoral staff of the church and the Christian Psychological Center. Lay mentors are assigned for the length of seminary and two years beyond.   

More that just continuing and improving an effort begun many years ago, the Grants Committee of the Foundation constantly asks what is the prevailing purpose of an investment this large. For instance, with the inception of the LAUNCH pastoral residency program a few years ago, it was determined that support would be provided for their seminary studies as well. The basic answer however is the reminder that we provide partial support for our members while they are taking theological training to the end that they may be able to give themselves more fully to intensive study and preparation for serving our Lord Jesus Christ in full time Christian service. 

Praise the Lord that so many have been raised up out of Second Presbyterian Church for this intensive mission. 

Those who would like to make a donation to the Seminarian Support Fund can contact Vicki Simmons at 507-7898 or

Responding to a Significant Cultural Shift in European Nations’ Societies

In 2000 the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) of Rotterdam was started in a culturally diverse neighborhood. After several years inquiries came from other cities in the country to help them start new intercultural communities like the ICF. In 2006 the network of Intercultural Church Plants (ICP) started as an answer to the need in a Dutch, multicultural society. With the support and help of ICP more than 30 churches were planted. 

While this network began in The Netherlands, at the same time there are similar initiatives elsewhere in Europe. An early goal was to meet at the European level, to exchange perspectives, to learn from each other, and to see healthy movements of church planting develop all over the Netherlands and Europe. 

The mission of ICP is to advance the kingdom by equipping church planting efforts with intercultural communities. There are three main things done through ICP.  

  • Inspire churches, organizations and theological schools with the vision of Revelation 7:9-12. ICP searches for and recruits new pioneers and church planting teams.

  • Train newly formed church planting teams in a two-year span with four weekend sessions, monthly contact and personal coaching.

  • Support the network of intercultural church plants with what they need with training days, tools, and research.

It also has a long-term goal of sending out people to their homelands in order to plant churches there. ICP also encourages church plants to eventually plant other churches, because they see multiplication as essential to the growth of the church in Europe.

ICP has a strong missionary and intercultural focus. Grace is at the heart of the ICP work. They combine sound theology with a great openness for everything the Spirit of God is accomplishing in the worldwide church of Jesus.

In order to reach the increasing number of immigrants and see the church represent the multicultural society, they have developed a more cross-cultural approach to church planting. Realizing that God sent Jesus to give us connection with Him and with each other they see that an intercultural church focuses on bringing the variety of cultures along ethnic lines together in one church.

ICP Netherlands has a strong team, including Hans and Carolien Euser, who have been the network leaders since Theo left ICP NL to start ICP Europe in July 2017.  With a European network taking shape, it will support national networks such as ICP NL. 

Other ICP NL members of the leadership team are from Iran, Burundi, China and Hungary. The team has recently collaborated with the Protestant Church of the Netherlands, giving them access to an additional, larger network. They are now involved in the training of 20 of the churches within the PKN network.  

ICP NL helped form another network with a result of engagement with all of the theological universities in the country. They are thinking through issues related to reaching an increasingly multicultural society. 

The Foundation has supported ICP NL with grants totaling $80,000 and ICP Europe with a grant of $15,000 to date.

Our Youth Experience the Grace of Giving

Sixty-eight of our high school aged youth and their youth leaders made grant requests totaling $8,611 from their Youth Stewardship “Seed Money” Funds to be disbursed to 68 Session or Foundation approved agencies since the program began in 2015. 

Among the ministries chosen are: Advance Memphis, Binghampton Christian Academy, Boy Scouts, Christ’s Community Church, Esperanza, Innovation Church, Leadership Empowerment Center, Memphis Gridiron Ministries, Neighborhood Christian Centers, New City Fellowship, New Song, PDS, Paulus Movement, Refugee Empowerment Program, Streets Ministry, Su Casa, and Young Life Memphis.

In an effort to provide a tangible experience of expressing generosity, the Foundation opens a fund in the name of each student who joins our church with $250. Funds may be matched or contributed to by family, friends, or the student. 

The Student Ministries staff provides teaching, direction, and mentoring, as funds also have been established for them. The funds are designed to be granted out by the time a student graduates from high school and to those agencies with whom they have developed a relationship with. Students have an option to convert their youth fund into a normal Donor Advised Fund at the completion of their high school years


FUNDation Strong: Music To Our Ears

In 2011 an anonymous couple approached the Foundation about making a planned 10-year gift after observing the benefits that the Youth ministry gained by having youth interns. They had a vision and a passion for the effectual training of students in the areas of worship leadership through music, whether vocal or instrumental. The Music Ministry Internship Fund was established as a modest expendable fund, which allowed it to be used immediately but basically with a year-to-year funding source for one intern.

The terms of the fund allowed for big dreams however. The goal of the program is to use the ongoing work of Second’s music ministry as a training ground for primarily college and graduate students pursuing careers in church music or music education. 

This breadth of experience includes working with a multi-staff music ministry; receiving training in rehearsal technique and planning as well as liturgical and repertoire planning; participating in a leadership role in worship services, including with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; and working with the faculty of the Conservatory of Music.

Within that setting, opportunities for four or more interns could be provided within a single academic year. The areas of focus include serving as section leaders of the adult choir; working with the children’s or youth choirs; coordinating the hand bell choir; or working with other instrumentals, such as the organ.  Summer interns lead in areas such as VBS and the Patriotic Pops.

Since the fund was established and made known to the congregation, the funding for it has grown. There have been memorials designated for it; bequests directed to it; and earnings applied to it. As of June 30, 2018 the fund had $103,484.


Since 2011, eleven students have benefited from the program and continue to serve in music ministry capacities where they are planted. Among them are Hannah Good Crowley, Molly Johnson Pennington, Daniel Polloreno.

Hannah Crowley.JPG

Hannah is a volunteer children’s choir leader, a teacher in Second’s Conservatory of Music, and a periodic Sunday evening worship team leader.


Molly serves as the organist for River Oaks Presbyterian Church in Germantown.


Daniel serves is a music worship leader at Second’s church plant Esperanza and also as a periodic Sunday evening worship team leader at Second.


 There appears to be two take aways surrounding this fund.

  • That imagination of the original couple; their stepping forward to inquire how their dream might work; their offering of a gift spread out over ten years; and the willingness of the Foundation Board to assist them in their dream by facilitating the process in a new venture;
    - all were the ingredients for the success of the program.

  • The program has become valuable to the music ministry to the extent that the church, as it can, is beginning to support additional interns.


With the planned gift coming to a conclusion in 2020 and in order to not invade the principle, the earnings off of the fund will be enough for one intern annually.  In order to support additional interns at no cost to the church, the fund will need to grow.

Music Interns 2019.JPG

Currently, Daija McNeil and Donavan Hughes serve as interns sponsored by this fund. Also serving as interns and sponsored by the church are Haleigh Boykin and Samuel Johnson.

The presence of student-age interns provides vitality to the ministry and at the same time provides an excellent experience for them as they pursue their goals using their gifts and talents. As a church, we are privileged to assist them as they in turn minister among us.

FUNDation Strong: The Days of Your Youth

In 2002 an anonymous couple provided a gift to the Foundation which was used to seed support for youth internships. That was followed by faithful multi-year gifts from them for that purpose, as well as a gift from another couple who also recognized the need

The Foundation Board received a large undesignated bequest in 2005. While the majority of the gift was directed to the Undesignated Fund, the Board took intentional action by establishing and funding a Youth Internship Fund, the earnings of which would provide for two-year youth interns.

These young people, now referred to as residents, have the opportunity to experience all facets of youth ministry. This program is a vital part of our ministry here at Second and is contributing to the development of training up young men and women to minster around the world.

The Results

As of this past July, the program will have graduated 24 interns/residents. Of them, 19 have gone directly into full-time ministry and currently 12 of them are still involved in full-time ministry, both youth and pastoral.

Recent graduates are serving in the following capacities:

  • MK Billings— elementary coordinator at Second Presbyterian Church

  • Kit Stallings—graduate school at University of Memphis for counseling and works in Second’s recreation ministry

  • Caroline Schaefer— Assistant Athletic Director for Operations at Hutchison School

  • Michael Bowen—Assistant Director of Construction and Training at Christian Service Mission in Birmingham, AL

  • Stephen Copeland – Assistant Youth Director, Greentree Community Church (Kirkwood, MO) and a student at Covenant Theological Seminary

There are currently 3 residents on staff and are funded in part with assistance from the 2PC budget. They include:

  • Carly Roberts—graduate of Arkansas State University

  • Jordan Young—graduate of South Eastern Missouri State

  • Reed Jostes—graduate of the University of Florida

The residents continue to be trained in the areas of reformed theology and Biblical youth ministry, as well as being heavily involved in the practical aspects of youth ministry and the larger church body.

Our residents are actively involved in all of our planning and programming aspects, given target groups of students (junior and senior high) to form relationships with, attend and help lead all of our programs, and attend training meetings.

This summer, our 2ndyear resident, Reed Jostes, led one of the summer missions trips for the junior high here in Memphis working with SOS. This was a great experience for him to grow greater in confidence, leadership and ministry. All reports from Reed, the students, and adults who participated in the trips have been positive and affirming for them in their giftedness and calling in ministry.

These trips and many other experiences with the residents over the past year have further served to confirm the great need for this program to continue – not only as it impacts our own church and city, but knowing the significant need around the country for committed, solid, and trained young men and women to serve in youth ministry.

The money spent on residents is an extremely important resource for youth ministry and is used to further the advancement of His Kingdom here in Memphis and around the world.

The residency has also served to further our impact locally, in seeing God use them to reach more students on more campuses that have resulted in a growth in our outreach meetings and small group ministry.

Additionally, the residents are regularly meeting 1-on-1 with various students weekly for more intentional and in depth discipleship as they do life on life ministry with them.

Along with impact in the city of Memphis, many of our residents have been able to take their learning to a new level with the opportunity to sit in seminary classes each year. Growing in spiritual wisdom and knowledge are a part of this residency program.

There is further impact of this program in Gospel ministry around the world.

Key professors in youth ministry at Columbia International University, Gordon College, Covenant College and Taylor University have met with the Youth staff to discuss our internship/residency program and get insight into youth ministry within the church context.

Since the Internship Program began in 2002, 18 other churches have contacted us to get information on starting their own internship program.

Our youth staff has had the opportunity to train youth ministry leaders in Uganda, Mexico, Argentina, and Hungary. There have also been recent explored partnership opportunities with both the St. Andrews Olivos Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as the Paulus Movement in Budapest, Hungary, to help them train their future youth leaders.

The Foundation has remained committed to this intensive mission these last 16 years. The Lord has truly blessed us all as we have seen Him use this program to further the ministry of the Gospel in our church, in our city and around the world.

FUNDation Strong: Providing a Learning Laboratory

Where does one go to learn to be a pastor? Seminary is the obvious answer and undoubtedly the main ingredient in the preparation of a pastor. In fact, our church and Foundation have supported 132 seminarians since the early 1960s.

However another key ingredient is immersion in the local church. The result is the production of a well-qualified and trained candidate for pastoral ministry.  

The Foundation, through the assistance of the Charlie Gillespie Fund, has trained ten such individuals.  Mr. Charlie, as he was referred to and for whom the fund is named, served our church as a long time elder beginning in 1924, as a teacher and an author, as well as a Moderator of the General Assembly. Prior to 1917 he organized the first Boy Scout Troup at Second and became its Scoutmaster. He died in the late 1970s. 

A Lily Foundation study done some time ago showed that one-third of all seminary graduates left the ministry within five years; one-third continued but were extremely unhappy; and one-third were happy in their calling. However, the majority of the participants of our church’s intensive program that allows ministry immersion on a daily basis have expressed satisfaction in their respective ministries and are making significant contributions to the Kingdom. The training and preparation for ministry they have received additionally enables them to serve as good mentors to the next generation.

Over $419,000 has been invested in the training of these individuals from a combination of the Gillespie Fund and the Undesignated Fund. 

The Impact of the Pastoral Residency Program


Chuck Jacob, former assistant pastor at Second, served as a pastoral intern for one year beginning in 1998. Based on the success of that internship, the Pastoral Internship Program (now Pastoral Residency Program – PRP) officially began in 1999, in order to prepare seminarians for pastoral ministry. Over the 18-month average of the program, students complete their practical training in partnership with Second Presbyterian after completing their theological studies at a seminary. They receive church-based mentoring and instruction in practical theology and ministry, taking credit courses such as pastoral counseling, worship, preaching, missions, evangelism, and spiritual life development. Students have come to the program from four seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) Jackson, RTS Orlando, Gordon-Conwell, and Covenant. 

The Lord has used each PRP graduate in His work throughout the country:

Chuck Jacob: Senior Pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd, Durham, North Carolina and former Senior Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Sean Brandt: Served for seven years as a pastor in Wichita, Kansas. Currently works for FedEx Ground, to better provide for his family’s needs

David Nelson: Former Assistant Pastor in Christian education and young couples ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Stanley, North Carolina

Peter Wang: Pastor of Grace Redeemer Church, Glen Rock, New Jersey which is a plant of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, New York

Chuck Colson: Senior Pastor of Christ Church (PCA), Mandarin, Florida and former church planter and Rector of Church of the Ascension in Arlington, Virginia

Ryan McVicar: Church planter and Pastor of New City Presbyterian (PCA), Detroit, Michigan 

David Stenberg: Counselor with Christian Psychological Center in Memphis and formerly Assistant Pastor at All Saints Presbyterian, Midtown Memphis, Tennessee 

Barton Kimbro: Assistant Pastor at Second Presbyterian, Memphis, Tennessee

Michael Davis: Pastor at Downtown Church, Memphis, Tennessee

Josh Preston:  Current resident working with Pastor George Robertson

chuck redo-crop-u14293.jpg

Chuck Colson remarked on his experience. “ I learned a great deal about my strengths and weakness as an individual, the dynamics and challenges of working on a staff team, and the challenge of communicating the Bible to people in winsome and loving ways. Most importantly, I was able to develop my own ideas about what kind of pastor I wanted to be when I grew up. This was invaluable. 

“The experience exposed me to the broad array of skills a pastor must possess. The congregation was patient in allowing me to develop in these different capacities, although I imagine some of it was rather painful for them! However, the greatest gifts Second gave me was the opportunity to learn about people – their struggles, hopes, failures, and dreams. In the work of a pastor, God and people are inseparable. The program allowed me to dip my toe into that great ocean of learning. It shaped me in profound ways, and subsequently bears fruit to God’s glory.”

With the combination of sound theology, practical ministry experience, and mentor relationships that PRP provides, residents have left the program prepared to serve in the pastoral roles to which they were called.

In recent years, our church has launched LAUNCH, which is also a pastoral residency program. The distinctive of LAUNCH is that participants typically take all or almost all of seminary classes online or through intensive one-week formats during the time that they reside for four years in the program. The Foundation participates by providing for their seminary expenses.  



Members of Second recently took advantage of a well-presented session on estate planning. Local attorney and Second member Josh Baker provided practical information on the topic. 

The session provided a basic understanding of legal terms and the purpose of legal documents so that attendees could become conversant with their professional advisor and make informed decisions in order to achieve their objectives. 

Topics covered included:

  • Wills

  • Trusts

  • Powers of Attorney

  • Basic Federal and Tennessee Estate Planning

  • Living Wills 

  • Lifetime Gifts and Transfers

In case you missed it or you want to hear it again, the session is available to be listened to along with viewing the powerpoint presentation. Listen here. View the powerpoint here. See Josh’s handout here.

 Contact or at (901) 507-7898 if the Foundation can answer any questions that you and/or your advisor may have.

Alcy Ball Development Corporation: Restoring, Equipping, and Facilitating

About ABDC

The Alcy Ball Development Corporation (ABDC) is a ministry minded organization that emerged as a result of long-term relationships between Mission Memphis; 2PC volunteers; Repairing the Breach, a ministry directed to children in the Alcy Ball community; and Pastor Tony Wade of Divine Life Church. Pastor Wade facilitated the initial success by making many introductions and helping those from Second and the local leaders form relationships. 

Alcy Ball Development Corporation develops a common platform where local leaders can gather to empower their neighbors. ABDC increases access to resources that facilitate the transition of leadership to the next generation of residents. This local leadership creates opportunities for families to thrive in the neighborhood through volunteer opportunities, healthy financial practices, affordable housing, and holistic involvement with the local church.


In 2016, the organization hired a new Executive Director, Chris Oliver and a new Program Director, Seth Harkins. Both are devoted followers of Christ and experienced in building cross-cultural relationships. Their prior work equipped them for the long perspective and dependence upon The Lord needed for this type of grassroots economic and social development. Chris was a Second Presbyterian Fellow in the 2009-10 Class. 

Chris focuses on relationships with churches, organizations, and residents in the community, while Seth focuses on relationships with businesses, schools, and residents in the community.

The current Board consists of Apostle Tony Wade, Mr. A Thompson, Mr. Ethan Knight, and Mrs. Sharon Payne. The board members play an integral part in directing the organization; connecting with the Alcy Ball community; connecting with non-neighborhood resources; and realizing the vision of a renewed community.   

In addition, many members of Second lend their professional skills, financial support, prayer support, volunteer support, and networking abilities to the ministry. 



The mission of ABDC is to restore the prosperity and health of the Alcy Ball community through economic, social, and educational development. The vision for a healthy neighborhood realized through empowering local leaders depends upon relationships with the neighborhood’s established organizations and churches.  The goal is to reach the community alongside the local churches, connecting participants to churches and leading to holistic change and care. Relationships have been built with these groups and those leading the organization have learned the strengths and needs of the community from listening and from conversations with residents and stakeholders. 

The result is the identification of three strategic focus areas for programming: Financial Literacy and Education, Community Organizing and Advocacy, and Neighborhood Revitalization. As they work in these areas, they foster relationships with key individuals who can facilitate partnerships and multiply the leadership that will serve the neighborhood in years to come. 

Financial Literacy Education

Since 2016, ABDC has focused on helping families learn financial practices and steward their income. They serve the area by offering Faith & Financesand in-home budget counseling – having 18 participants since inception. The Financial Literacy program is offered in collaboration with either local churches or other neighborhood organizations. In addition, three savings accounts have been opened; four families have increased their credit score and are paying off debt; and one family was helped as they purchased a home. The consistency in relationships is paying off through credibility in the neighborhood.  

Community Organizing and Advocacy

Due to increased credibility in the neighborhood, stronger communication and trust has been gained with those living in Alcy Ball. Community organizing consists of supporting the community associations, as well as other grass roots organizations in the area. Additionally, ABDC organizes events in the community towards the development of the neighborhood such as meetings with the City of Memphis; meetings between business leaders; etc.  As they pursue the principles of Christian Community Development, one goal is to create strong relationships between neighborhood leaders and resources outside the neighborhood such as Clean Memphis, Serve 901, MAM, Barnhart Crane & Rigging, local churches, and other companies and organizations. Neighbors have joined in Police Joint Association meetings. Residents are assisting the staff by gathering complaints against negligent property owners and attend hearings about specific properties. These activities are engaging more residents in the process of self-advocacy.

Examples of members of Second engaging with Alcy Ball include Steve Shular, Special Assistant to the City Mayor, as he runs the Police Joint Association meetings; and Kevin Stout, as he serves as a liaison with Barnhart Crane; has hired a local resident; and volunteers for community cleanups. 

Neighborhood Revitalization

By starting small and involving neighborhood input, ABDC is developing a long term plan for neighborhood revitalization that will benefit residents without forcing them to relocate out of the neighborhood. This effort includes removing brush to make yards maintainable, boarding up abandoned houses, calling attention to major Code Enforcement infractions, moving endangered buildings toward demolition, and monitoring Environmental Court cases against delinquent owners. 

ABDC is efficient at this work when it partners with others for the benefit of residents. For example, the staff supported the process for two longtime Alcy Ball homeowners to apply for Habitat for Humanity’s “Aging in Place” program by helping them attend meetings, fill out paperwork, and gather documentation for the application to repair their damaged roofs. ABDC’s ability to support this process led to other engaged community members, who are now advocating on behalf of their own neighbors for more services in the Alcy Ball area. 

Connect with ABDC at