Pastor and members serve low-income community

caines | 11/15/2012, 5 a.m.

Church should be a beacon of hope, pastor says

After a few knocks, the door opened and Rev. Dr. Ted Greer, Jr., 49, pastor of Ebenezer Community Church, handed the child who had answered a plate of food. The child didnt wait to go inside the house to eat, but instead just ate the food right then and there. Can I have another one? the child said. Every year around Thanksgiving, Greer and church members cook and hand out Thanksgiving dinners to families who live in high poverty neighborhoods in South Dade. Last year, the church made 1300 meals and on Nov. 17 they plan on handing out 1500 more. It is a very gratifying and moving experience, Greer said of the charitable event. In addition to helping his church and community grow spiritually, Greer is also very passionate about helping people with different poverty issues. I want to be a messenger of hope, he said. I feel that the role of pastors and leaders is to give people optimism that their lives can change. The church has to be that beacon of hope. He says the core of the churchs ministry is spiritual development. Greer works to make sure souls are saved and that people are serious about their salvation. But another top priority is the needs of the community and his congregation. In response to those in need, he created Fresh Start Family Services (FSFS) in March 2010. Since then, the organization has received 1.3 million in funding. I have a true, sincere passion for people, especially those who are struggling and less fortunate, including the homeless and disenfranchised, he said. I believe that God has called me to the low-income community. FSFS has numerous services and programs, such as its truancy prevention program and its career and future preparation program for foster kids. It also has a mental health and a health and wellness program. Greer said he is able to successfully manage his church and FSFS because he has good leadership at his church, noting the churchs associate pastor, four ministers, three deacons and ministry heads. For instance, he plans big events at specific times of the year so that they dont conflict with each other. Each year FSFS partners with Ebenezer Community Church for three major events: one is of course the Thanksgiving feeding. There is also the backpack giveaways at the beginning of each school year, and a toy drive around Christmas. By partnering with several organizations, they were able to give away 200 backpacks and toys to about 350 families, last year. Were a small church doing big things, Greer said. Our wallets may not be big, but our hearts and our passion is what drives us to do big things. Whos your pastor? Has he biblically led your church and mentored you as a spiritual father? Should he be The Miami Times next Pastor Of The Week? Tell us why. Contact Malika A. Wright, Faith and Family editor, at Mwright@miamitimesonline.com or 305-694-6216. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com