Community center transforms Midtown New Albany by connecting people to Jesus, serving one another
By Caden Wheat
It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Saturday. I walk in to the smell of freshly grounded coffee. The chairs and couches are empty now, but will soon be filled with energetic children, hopeful volunteers, and families of different kinds. I spot Preston Searcy, a 28-year-old Owensboro native, who moved to southern Indiana to run this ministry. This little building on the corner of 15th and Oak is called Midtown Commons.
“The mission here is to see the neighborhood transformed by the gospel, and by building friendships and relationships with neighbors,” Searcy said.
At Midtown it’s a whole different world. It’s not your typical cookie-cutter neighborhood, but this doesn’t mean that the relationships there aren’t real. The building welcomes all types of people with loving and open arms, and provides a warm atmosphere where people feel safe and relaxed. Midtown opens its doors bright and early Monday through Thursday for anyone who wants a cup of coffee. Running at 25 cents, the coffee is affordable and draws people in. Volunteers help serve the coffee and are always open to conversation.
“Saturday nights we open up our café at 6 o’clock and throughout the month we do something kind of different every Saturday night, anything from live music-Music for the soul which is every third Saturday of the month-and we have movie night and story night. We’re going to show some games during march madness,” Searcy said.
Saturdays at Midtown aren’t something to miss. The goal of the night is to provide the neighborhood with something positive to do with your family. Gathering together to spend time and have fun with your family is a goal that Midtown has.
“From five to six on Mondays we have homework help and we have some retired teachers and other volunteers come down and help elementary school-age and middle school-age students with their homework. At 6 o’clock we start Kidtown, which includes a small meal for the kids, a Bible lesson, worship, and a small group setting where kids can build relationships with caring adults,” Searcy said.
Monday nights provide a great environment for the children of the neighborhood. The kids can sit down in a quiet place and get help with their homework. After homework help another group of volunteers each week brings in a small meal for the kids. The volunteers serve the children the meal and then sit down with them to go over a bible lesson. The kids can also earn checkmarks if they have good behavior, the checkmarks can later get them the opportunity to go on a trip during spring break, credits to the Christmas shop in December, and other incentives.
The ministry down at Midtown is growing every week. The children are learning new things about life and the community is growing together in many ways. There is a place for everyone at Midtown. It’s a environment where anyone is welcome.