The Bible teaches the church is a called-out assembly of believers in Jesus Christ who use the gifts imparted to them by the Holy Spirit to encourage one another, worship God and spread the good news of salvation through belief in Christ to the world.
In the black community over the years, the church has not only been a place to worship Christ, but also a focal point for social and political catalyst for change.
Church buildings also have served as kind of an incubator to allow members to begin and grow their businesses.
One such church is located on Youngstown’s East Side.
It is called Sword of the Lord Global Ministries at 474 Early Road, just past the East Side public library branch, in the building once used by Everlife Worship Center.
Apostle John Terry Allen, the pastor, his wife, Pixie, and the church leadership are preparing for the first Founder’s Day event with two services at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 22 at the church to mark 12 years of its existence and to honor the sacrifices made by its co-founders.
Pastor Allen is an author, former ombudsman for Youngstown City School District, served as a Youngstown Police Department chaplain, and worked several years in The Vindicator’s mailroom.
The church’s mission statement is that it exists “to edify, equip, empower and help unify members of the body of Christ with the word of God and spiritual warfare in order to advance the kingdom of God.”
Sword of the Lord wants to be a blessing to the Youngstown community and provide opportunities outside the church walls, Pastor Allen says.
It is providing one such practical opportunity to member Andrea Mahone, CEO and president of Just in Time Employment/Consulting Agency.
Mahone will work out of the church’s outreach center at 907 Catalina Ave., on the North Side.
Just in Time teaches resume writing, interviewing skills, soft-skills training and then helps those who fully participate in that process find a job.
“The church has stepped up, and the [church] leaders are here to help decrease poverty,” Mahone said.
In return for the church’s effort to help grow her business, Mahone offers free job and life coaching to anyone who comes to the church’s open-door inspirational service from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
Mahone points out Just Time Employment is not a temporary service or a temporary fix. It is an opportunity for job seekers and employers to make a quality match.
She says on her LinkedIn page, “I developed jobs for eight years and placed more than 600 people in employment. The doors of endless opportunities are open again.”
Sword of the Lord had its first service of about 10 people for prayer and Bible study in February 2006 in a chapel room of the Salvation Army on Glenwood Avenue on the city’s South Side.
The ministry outgrew that small chapel and moved to a large converted school building located at 2734 Mount Vernon Ave. near Struthers, with a church called Word of Grace. The first service was a joint Sunday service with Word of Grace on May 2009, according to its church history.
The church then moved to the “North Annex” of New Vision, New Day Church at 1970 Everett Ave. in the Brownlee Woods area and was there for about 10 months in 2011.
Sword of the Lord moved to the North Side building on Catalina Avenue and had its first service there in November 2011. In 2015, the church was able to purchase the East Side building, while still maintaining what is now its outreach center on Catalina.
Pastor Allen wrote in his notes on the church’s history: “There is an “Apostolic Draw” taking place that has brought mature experienced believers that can help truly bring to pass an ‘Antioch Model’ of church ministry as well as the vision of an Apostolic Training Center. We are endeavoring to keep the unity that is crucial for a work and vision of this magnitude. We are excited to see what God does as we started the year 2018 with prayer, fasting and consecration.”
The Founder’s Day celebration services are open to the public.
For information about Sword of the Lord Global Ministries, go to its website at www.facebook.com/SwordoftheLordGM/, or call 330-747-3131.
To find out if you can benefit from services Mahone provides at Just in Time Employment, call her at 330-717-3924.
Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly minority-affairs column. Contact him at email@example.com