XENIA TOWNSHIP — When Patrick McKee of Christian Life Center (CLC) first visited the Emerge campus where the Greene County Career Center once was, he said he was overwhelmed by how big the place was and how much potential it had.
“We are excited about what God is doing through Emerge and believe it’s going to bring so much service and healing to the world and help so many people in need,” McKee said. “What drew us to this place was the training and the job opportunities. We are involved in a lot of recovery ministries, and one of the biggest challenges we see — finding employers who offer second chances. Jobs are hard to find for a lot of people in recovery.”
McKee, the Outreach Team leader at CLC, was impressed by how there will be men and women living on site in separate areas with training, learning, and working opportunities specific to the needs of both with such a potential for gainful employment and discipleship.
Because of the belief he and others at Christian Life Center have in the potential of Emerge, the church recently awarded Emerge a $175,000 grant from CLC’s God-Sized Vision Fund.
“Our God-Sized Vision is based on Acts 1:8,” McKee said. “Where Jesus tells us to go and be His witnesses. When people tithe to our church, we take 25 percent and put it towards our God-sized vision fund. Last year, we were able to invest almost $2.5 million dollars in projects both locally and around the world. People who faithfully tithe to our church are a part of what God is doing.”
CLC is one of the largest churches in the Greater Dayton area. McKee said CLC looks for organizations and churches that are making a “God-sized” impact, which includes the expansion of established ministries as well as new opportunities to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Prior to the grant, CLC was already involved in supporting Emerge’s work on the 48-acre campus.
“I became aware of Emerge in early 2022,” McKee said. “We immediately wanted to get involved and began monthly support right away because we believed in this vision.”
Then, in June, Emerge was one of 18 locations served during the LoveDayton serve day that CLC organizes every year. CLC sent volunteers to remove and save ceiling tiles to prepare the campus for the upcoming renovations. They also tore down an old, dilapidated greenhouse that was not being used.
“Emerge is going to have such a big impact on so many men’s and women’s lives,” McKee said. “All the volunteers were so impressed by everyone at Emerge. We always want to give opportunities for people to serve alongside the volunteers and staff of the organizations we support. We love building relationships and serving together to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.”
McKee said the grant money is going to fund recreational space outside the building.
“One of the biggest things that’s important to us is to make sure we give men and women opportunities to stay busy doing positive things and let them get outside in nature where they can enjoy God’s beautiful creation,” he said. “We know that being in nature has a positive effect on mental health.”
McKee said the money will help provide a pavilion, basketball courts, pickleball, and hiking trails as well as with the purchase of kayaking and fishing equipment on the Emerge campus.
Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy at Emerge, announced the grant earlier this month at Emerge’s signature fundraising event at the Dayton Country Club. The event raised twice as much as hoped for, with more than $100,000 being donated.
“We believe we are blessed to be a blessing,” McKee said. “We believe in carrying that out. We just love what Emerge is doing. If you think about how many second chances God gives us each day, why not be proponents of giving other people chances. We want to walk alongside them as disciples and believers of Christ and not fall into the stigma of looking down on people in recovery. What I have learned from my discussions with people in recovery — they are often plagued by guilt and shame. We want to remind them that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. We want to walk with those struggling with addiction. We just want to love them and share compassion the way that Jesus did when He walked this earth.”
For more information visit https://www.emergerecoverytrade.com/