By Stephanie Heading
Finding Hope Center, a ministry of Living Hope Church Columbus and a recipient of Ray Roberts Offering funds, recently became the first Send Relief affiliate site in Ohio. Finding Hope came to the attention of Send Relief, the compassion arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, through conversations between Church Planter Aaron Taylor and leaders at the North American Mission Board.
However, the Finding Hope Center is about more than just the ministry center. It is about a church plant that is willing to do “crazy things” to reach people for Christ. Living Hope Church Columbus and the Finding Hope Center are the story of “Jesus did more,” according to Pastor Aaron Taylor
In 2018, Taylor planted Living Hope Church Columbus, and the new church plant quickly began community outreach. “We first started working with local non-profits One Dublin and Dublin Bridges, delivering beds once or twice a month to people in need in northwest Columbus.”
After seeing the reactions of furniture recipients who were grateful for the gift, but disappointed because they did not like the color or style, Taylor began praying about how Living Hope could begin its own outreach ministry in which people could choose their own furniture and mattresses, as well as other needed items for their families. In early August 2020, he shared his vision of the Finding Hope Center with the Living Hope Church family, and they were “all in” to open a store where people could come and choose the items they needed and wanted.
“Jesus did more.”
Taylor had a vision for Finding Hope, but he needed a place to house the center. “Jesus did more” and he learned that the building directly behind the Living Hope facility was available for lease. He spoke with the owner, hoping she would allow the church to use the facility for free, but she did not accept that deal. However, “Jesus did more” and the owner allowed Living Hope to rent the facility for twelve months for the price of only nine months.
The cost to open the Finding Hope Center facility was $25,000 so Taylor challenged the church to raise the money for the first year’s lease and remodeling costs. “Jesus did more” and in less than four weeks, the two-year-old church plant raised over $30,000.
Remodeling and set up of the new facility began in September 2020, and The Finding Hope Center opened in November 2020 located only a ten-second walk from the Living Hope facility.
“Jesus did more” as the Finding Hope Center has also impacted Living Hope Church, bringing new people and culture into the church plant’s fellowship. “Last May, a group of twenty-five to thirty Hispanics caught this wave of grace and now they are part of the Living Hope family,” said Taylor.
Living Hope has adapted to having Spanish speakers in their fellowship. During worship service, the congregation sings songs in Spanish and the words are closed-captioned on the screens in Spanish as well. English speakers in the church are also taking classes to learn Spanish so they can communicate with their new Hispanic family.
“They want to learn English and build a productive life,” said Taylor. “Living Hope has become a safe place for them.”
After less than two years, Finding Hope Center has changed lives in northwest Columbus and the culture of Living Hope Church. “Finding Hope Center is not just what we do now. It is what Living Hope is.”
The Finding Hope Center grew out of the ministry of Living Hope Church Columbus in 2020.
At the Finding Hope Center, clients choose the items they need and want.
After visiting the center, some clients choose to join the church fellowship as well.
Volunteers bring supplies into the facility.
A wide variety of items are available.
Bicycles provide recreation and transportation for many.