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Becoming a Lighthouse in Columbia

Becoming a Lighthouse in Columbia

Becoming a Lighthouse in Columbia

At the heart of Columbia, SC, Temple Zion Baptist Church actively engages with the community to address tangible practical and spiritual needs.

Under the leadership of Pastor Andre Melvin, the church has launched several initiatives aimed at meeting the practical and spiritual needs of its members and the broader community.

Temple Zion Baptist serves their community through meeting tangible needs.

Meeting Needs

In 2022, Temple Zion Baptist Church took a significant step towards addressing community needs by establishing the North Montecello Community Outreach (NMCO), a nonprofit organization. NMCO’s Community Resource Center provides essential services such as housing assistance, utility bill support, and emergency food supplies. The food pantry, operating on Thursdays and Saturdays, serves about 20 people a day, offering a lifeline to those experiencing food insecurity.

Living in an area designated as a food desert, the residents face significant challenges in accessing fresh and nutritious food. To combat this, the church has also created a community garden, supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. Social media and word of mouth have been instrumental in spreading awareness about these resources, ensuring that those who need help know where to find it.

Recognizing the need for mental health support, Melvin’s wife, Sheresa, a certified counselor, offers specialized anger management counseling. This program provides individuals with the tools and skills to manage and control their anger, and it can be connected to court or DSS referrals. “The whole goal is to provide practical resources and a holistic Gospel,” Melvin said. “We want to meet their needs, but at the same time use that as a means to build relationships and share the Gospel.”

A group from Temple Zion completes a yard clean-up project.

Partnerships and Community Involvement

Temple Zion Baptist Church’s commitment to the community extends beyond its immediate programs. The church collaborates with six other nonprofits to maximize its impact, sharing resources and expertise to better serve the community. “We wanted to establish a lighthouse in the community so that people can find resources they need,” Melvin said.

One of the church’s unique ministries is the Treating Our Public Servants (TOPS) ministry, which supports local law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders by offering coffee, donuts, and sweets as tokens of appreciation. These gestures have helped build strong relationships, with many first responders sharing prayer requests and attending the church’s annual veterans and first responders appreciation events. “As they protect us physically, we want to pray for them spiritually,” Melvin said.

Temple Zion also supports their community through school partnerships, a sewing ministry, and community clean-up programs like Adopt-a-Highway. Partnering with local schools, such as an elementary school and Eau Claire High School, volunteers read to students and support the teachers and staff. Additionally, the church has created a sewing ministry where members teach sewing and crocheting skills. This program aims to foster practical skills and spark entrepreneurial interests among the younger generation.

The sewing ministry at Temple Zion teaches practical skills through hands-on learning.

A Holistic Gospel Ministry

The church’s multifaceted approach ultimately aims to be a voice for Christ, demonstrating love and compassion through tangible actions and building relationships that pave the way for sharing the Gospel.

Through these diverse initiatives, Temple Zion exemplifies what it means to be proactive and compassionate neighbors, continually seeking ways to uplift and support those in need.


  • Anna Gardner

    Anna Gardner

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