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The Atlanta Dream Center: Adopt Atlanta

Dory Nissen


Share This article Ask anyone who attends the Atlanta Dream Center, and they’ll tell you church is not about Sunday. It’s about service. And serving the neighbors nearby their downtown Atlanta location is what the program “Adopt a Block” is all about. Every Saturday groups head to inner city neighborhoods bringing food and a word of encouragement.

Senior Pastor Paul Palmer says, “My vision for Adopt a Block was to make ourselves visible in our neighborhood. To meet the residents and become part of their lives. A church that walks into their homes and right into the midst of their lives.”

Logan Marks is a volunteer. He says, “You get to actual get into touch with the people. You get to see their heart when they open up. It’s not a church where you talk to them for 30 minutes.”

Adopt a Block director Dan Palmer says their consistent presence is dramatically changing the environment in some neighborhoods -- bringing people together who had never even spoken before.

“We pick up every time and so we come in and the place is a lot cleaner which makes them feel a lot better about themselves and the environment in which they live,” he says. “In return makes their homes nicer on the outside and the inside. People are being more friends with neighbors. It used to be a lot of individuals protecting themselves. But now they are a community where they enjoy one another as well, not just us, but one another.”

Marsha was a single mom, with no job, living with a boyfriend when Adopt a Block members knocked on her door.

“When Adopt a first started coming around, I was skeptical to tell them my story and let them into my life. But with their consistency coming every Saturday, relationships started to be built and I opened my self up.”

It wasn’t long before Marsha accepted Jesus Christ and seriously considered what Pastor Paul was trying to teach her.

“He forced me to look inside myself and look within myself and see what I was going through I did not have to go through.”

Marsha moved into her own apartment and is now fulfilling a life-long dream and go to nursing school. The church helped her apply for financial aid and arranged for childcare.

Marsha graduates from nursing school soon and is looking forward to getting a job and getting off welfare. Hopes for the future sparked by strangers who invested in her.

“We believe that Jesus would walk into the street. That’s why we do it,” says Pastor Paul. “We believe He meets us right where we are at, in the midst of trials and tribulations. We believe that Christ would do the same that we are doing today.”

For their compassion towards the city of Atlanta, The 700 Club salutes The Atlanta Dream Center as America’s Church of the Week.

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About The Author

Dory Nissen

Dory Nissen has been story telling for CBN since 1993. She joined CBN when her husband received orders to Norfolk, VA. She loves sharing stories of God’s grace. Her most recent focus has been on producing stories showcasing how CBN financially helps military families. As a Navy sailor’s wife, she understands the challenges military life brings.