Pleasant Grove Association ministry center continues to thrive

Dan Wiggins had a lot of reasons he wanted to start Pleasant Grove Baptist Association’s Christian Ministries Center 10 years ago, and one of those reasons was intensely personal.

He knows what it’s like to have a hard time finding work.

Wiggins became director of missions for Pleasant Grove Association in 2004 while working a job in retail. Two years later, he lost that primary job.

“Overnight I became unemployed and found out I was unemployable,” Wiggins said. “I was too old. Nobody was hiring. And that was kind of a discouraging thing.”

In the process of working through that, God continued to lay on his heart the need for a place to help local people who have fallen on hard times. “It became more of something that the Lord kept after me about,” he said.

And in 2008, he decided he didn’t really need office space at the associational office — he could work from home and use that space as a ministry center instead.

Sharing the vision

Wiggins started traveling between the association’s churches on Sundays and talking to them about the vision for a ministry center. They started having informational meetings. And he began talking to Shelby and Tuscaloosa Baptist associations to find out how they ran their ministry centers.

“Slowly God took away all my concerns or objections,” Wiggins said. “Little did I know that the economy was going to go down the tubes soon after that and we were going to need the center even more. It was a God thing.”

Now 10 years later, the center is open every Monday and Thursday and provides food, clothing and other necessities to around 50 people per month.

Every day the center is open, Wiggins and others present the gospel, and chaplains are on hand to talk with clients. Over the past decade, 284 people have professed faith in Christ at the Christian Ministries Center.

“We’ve not only seen them come to know Jesus but seen them be active in our churches too,” Wiggins said.

Meeting needs

Some years have seen more physical needs than others, he said. The economy struggled in 2011, and it pushed more people through the doors of the center. And in 2016 when the local mine shut down, the center had a boom in clients. Thankfully the mine opened back up, but that doesn’t mean the Christian Ministries Center doesn’t still have needs to meet, he said.

“We are grateful and delighted to keep going as long as the Lord wants us to,” Wiggins said. (Grace Thornton)