3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hope Spotlight: Dan Gilchrist

Name: Pastor Dan Gilchrist

Time with Hope: 4 years. Dan has been at Hope since before it was Hope!

Bio: Dan is the pastor of Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church in Flintstone, Georgia. Married to Mako, his wife of 16 years, Dan is also the father of 3 beautiful children. Dan also serves as Stated Clerk of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery. 

Currently Reading: Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt by Christine Leigh Heyrman

Interesting Fact: Dan speaks Japanese and is locally known as the "Ken Tanaka of Flintstone."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jobs for Life at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian

Join us at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church for Jobs for Life this January!
If you or someone you know is underemployed or unemployed,
call us at 706-820-2833 to register.

Classes will start on January 9th and will go until March 26th
6 to 8 pm
Child care and Dinner provided 

Friday, December 2, 2011


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Loving someone is hard. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to realize that being patient, kind (not boasting, not dishonoring, etc.) is really, really hard. Because this doesn't happen in a bubble. In day to day life, this means washing the dishes. Again. It means being faithful to a husband or wife, even when they have broken certain promises, denied trust, or simply been unkind. Love means protecting a friend, even if it hurts, or puts you on the line. Love means choosing to hope for the best, pray for best, and seek the best of another, even when the world tells you that is crazy.

But are we capable of this? No. Of course not! To think so is just silly. If we believed ourselves to be good, kind, generous, and humble all on our own... well that would be a mistake. A big one. When we fail at doing these things -we pick a fight because we are in a bad mood, we avoid a difficult situation with a friend, or we simply shut ourselves off from those who need us- we are simply being our fallen, sinful selves. We have forgotten that the story starts and ends with Jesus. Jesus is the one who lives in our hearts and makes it a happy home. Jesus is the only one who can soften our prideful heart and make us to weep with those who mourn, even when we just don't feel like it. Jesus gives us compassion, hope, and courage to do that which is right. Jesus gives us wisdom, strength, and the ability to die to ourselves.

Jesus is the reason we can love the poor. He is also the reason we can love the somewhat frustrating person on the church committee, the emotionally needy lady who sits next to us in church, and the man who won't quit asking for money every time he sees you on the corner of 4th and broad. You are not a good person. You are not even an alright person. But Jesus is patient (with you) and he is kind (with you). And guess what? We can celebrate our massive failures because Christ lives in you (and me) and equips you... to be just like Him!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Care about Your County

The Georgia Family Connection Partnership has recently released data regarding child well-being in your area. Look up statistics for your state, county, and community by clicking here. Whether you currently work with children in Georgia or just want to be a good neighbor, this is a great resource!

Here are just a few facts about Walker County that I found helpful:

Out of 45,912 adults living in Walker County, 5,307 have a bachelors degree or higher.

About 74% of adults in Walker County have their high school diploma or some form of higher education.

In 2005, 2990 children lived in a home where neither of their parents was employed. That number rose to 4028 in 2009.

In the last 5 years, the number of children eligible for reduced price lunch at their school has risen by over 1000 (to 6827)

The rate of child abuse has doubled in the past five years (38 to 75)

…And yet…

Over 72% of Walker County residents own their homes.

High school graduation rates (graduating on time) are up 10% in the past five years, at roughly 76%.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mercy Ministry Conference in Chattanooga!

Enriching the Kingdom: the next step... going deeper. Taking mercy ministry to another level.

When: March 15-17 2012

Where: New City Fellowship. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Who: speakers include Amy Sherman, Steve Corbett, Randy Nabors, and many more!

Cost: $175 to register before March 1.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Free Training!

ADDC is co-sponsoring a training event with the United Way & Consumer Credit Counseling services to help nonprofit & church staff be more comfortable with financial literacy principles both for their own benefit and for knowing how to counsel clients.

When: Monday, November 7, 2011 – 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Where: New Covenant Fellowship Church, 1326 N. Moore Rd

Lunch is provided!

This event is appropriate for ministers and church leaders, church staff and laypeople, deacons and benevolence committee members – anyone involved with directly assisting those with financial difficulties.

To register or find out more information, click here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

CCDA Indianapolis 2011

Last week, Hope for NWGA was privileged to participate in the annual Christian Community Development Association conference in Indianapolis, IN. What a time we had! CCDA hosted workshops, networking and plenary sessions, and countless other activities. It was a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with and learn from fellow development workers.

Check out a few of the photos below:

Downtown Indianapolis

JW Marriott, where the conference was held

3000 in attendance!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saving Mary... Saving Nancy

There is a great article in The Chattanooga Times Free Press from September 18 entitled "Saving Mary". You should read it here before reading my comments on it!

I propose that the real title should be "Saving Mary... Saving Nancy," because the real story is not just about one woman who needed saving. It is a story about two women, both created in the image of God. Both women had the power to change one another. Both had value. But one woman had the power to change the circumstances of the other, while the later remained powerless if left on her own.

Nancy, the woman who sought to change the life of Mary, had her own struggles. She had a disease that many would say left them powerless, and yet she chose to stand up for a stranger, and fight for a woman no one would fight for. She didn't hand her $5 and wish her well. She didn't buy her a meal and go home feeling slightly better about herself. Instead, she chose to struggle daily to walk with a broken woman... until she had "fixed" what was broken. And she found that it wasn't just Mary who was broken. It was the system itself, the world, the people in it. At every turn, Nancy was met with frustrations and failures -and yet she didn't give up. She didn't say "this is asking too much of me" or "someone else could do this better." She made it her business to love recklessly.

And with that reckless love, she gained the trust of a broken woman who had completely lost her ability to trust. She gained the joy of giving without expecting anything in return, and the wonderful surprise of gaining a friend in the process. But she too was also "saved". The moment she chose to live for other than the all important self, she saved herself from... herself. Of course, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I would argue that true saving can only come through Him. (If we think we can save ourselves through saving others, we are in trouble!) Although it isn't clear in the article whether Nancy loved Jesus, it is clear that she grasped something rare that unfortunately, many of us Christians don't.

Nancy knew that 10% effort just would not cut it. She allowed Mary to become a part of her life... and did so not simply by compartmentalizing her life, but by inviting Mary into every facet of life. Yes, she gave financially, but she also gave of her time. She shared her gifts of management. She stood as a connector and advocate. She introduced Mary to her friends. She went forward, knowing that this would be a long-term relationship, and a taxing one at that. And lastly, she allowed Mary to have a place in her heart.

So let us applaud Nancy. But let us learn from her too. Could you do it? Could you open yourself to a Mary? To be honest with you, I'd have to say NO! Thanks be to God He has not left me to do this by my own power. (Philippians 4:13, Zechariah 4:6)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let Mercy Limit Mercy

"Let mercy limit mercy. ...Sometimes we may have to say: 'Friend we are not withdrawing our mercy, just changing its form. We will continue to pray for you and visit you, and the minute you are willing to cooperate with us and make the changes that we believe are needed, we will resume our aid. Please realize that it is only out of love that we are doing this!' Let mercy limit mercy"
Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Get Active!

Looking for a creative way to get more involved in your community? Check out this inspiring article from the September 15 Washington Post!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Reads

Check out these poverty-related articles of note! I couldn't decide which to post, so read them all!

Big banks offer payday loans by another name
By CANDICE CHOI, AP Personal Finance Writer Aug 23, 2011

Payday loans may be coming to a bank near you.

Trusting Families to Help Themselves
By DAVID BORNSTEIN in the New York Times, July 19 2011

Modern Poverty Includes A.C. and an Xbox
By Ken McIntyre in the National Review July 18, 2011

What is poverty? Americans might well be surprised to learn from other government data that the overwhelming majority of those defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau were well-housed and adequately fed even in the recession year 2009. About 4 percent of them did temporarily become homeless.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Deacons Training at Rock Creek Fellowship

In September, Hope for Northwest Georgia will be facilitating a Deacons training at Rock Creek Fellowship, one of our Hope Partner Churches! Join us in praying for this time, that it would be one of encouragement and growth for all.

If you are interested in Hope coming to your church, please contact Heather at the Hope offices.

Monday, August 22, 2011

St. Elmo Ave. Baptist Church

Hope for Northwest Georgia recently facilitated a congregational training at St. Elmo Ave. Baptist Church. Check out the pictures below!

Interested in finding out more about St. Elmo Ave. Baptist Church? Click here to visit their website!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hope Spotlight: Pastor Travis Hutchinson

Name: Travis Hutchinson

Time with Hope: Three and a half years, founding board member

Bio: Travis has been a Pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in LaFayette since 2000. Travis is married to Kimberly Hutchinson, his wife of 20 years this November. Travis and his wife live in St. Elmo Tennessee with their two sons. Travis is a graduate of Covenant College, as well as Beeson Divinity School, where he received his Masters of Divinity.

Fun Facts: Travis loves to surf, drink really good coffee, and read. One of his favorites is the Lord of the Rings.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hope Spotlight: Heather Jones

Name: Heather Jones

Time with Hope: first board meeting was today

Bio: Heather recently joined the Hope for Northwest Georgia advisory board. Heather is a Social Worker with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chattanooga and brings a great deal of professional experience in case management, volunteer
development/management and youth development to Hope for NWGA. She also brings with her experience in educating individuals about factors that influence impoverished communities, specifically in regard to the concept of the Culture of Poverty.

Currently Reading: Adam Bryant's Corner Office column in the NY Times and National Geographic

Interesting Fact: she learned to read/write in Japanese when she was in elementary school

Find out more by stopping by our Hope office! We'll be more than happy to give you a tour and a cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hope Spotlight: Heather Prettyman, Director

Over the next few months, we will be introducing our Hope staff and volunteers. If you don't already know us, here is your chance!

Name: Heather Prettyman

Time with Hope: three and a half years

Bio: Heather has been Director at Hope since its beginning. She joined Hope while finishing a degree in Community Development at Covenant College in 2008. Heather lives in Northwest Georgia with her husband Thomas and attends East Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Currently Reading: Beyond Charity, by John M. Perkins, and The Lord of the Rings

Find out more by stopping by our Hope office! We'll be more than happy to give you a tour and a cup of coffee.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Good Time for All

If you joined us at the CCDA regional conference in Chattanooga last weekend, then I am sure you will agree- what a great time!

Hope for NWGA joined lots of folks from our region to listen to top Development speakers and professionals, network, fellowship, and eat! The weekend was packed with information and encouragement.

Check out some photos from the event:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hope to see you this weekend!

Join Hope at the Christian Community Development Association Regional Conference this Friday and Saturday in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Come find our booth, eat a meal or two with our director, Heather Prettyman, or run into us in one of many of the workshops and plenary sessions. This promises to be a time of encouragement, fellowship, and blessing. Will we see you there?

Register at the door for $50. This includes meals for each day. To find out more, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Many of you have asked how we are doing after the storms that passed through our area. I have posted a few pictures above of storm damage. I am excited, however, to report that this difficult time has brought us together as a community in a way that never could have occurred otherwise.

Immediately following the storm, neighbors were checking on neighbors. People opened their homes, pantries, and families to those in the community who had once been strangers. We watched with joy as several churches in the Flintstone community teamed up to provide hot meals and a safe place to those without power. Day after day, we watched as teams of individuals poured into the neighborhoods, cutting down trees, removing debris, and providing much needed support.

One family from one of our Hope partnership churches lost everything. Their home was completely crushed, their possessions scattered. But in a joint service the following Sunday, they gave testimony to God for his protection, wisdom, and power.
As we clean up and set things right, pray with us that God would continue to minister through his people in our community. Pray too for those suffering from loss. Pray that God would not only provide for physical needs, but that He would surround the hurting with those who love Him.

If you are interested in helping in the Northwest Georgia area, please contact the Hope offices. We would be happy to connect you with one of our Hope Partner churches that is already working in their community.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One City

Please go to chattarati.com to read Dr. Brian Fikkert's Editorial, Form One City Out of Two, on poverty in our community.

Dr. Fikkert will also be speaking at the CCDA Regional conference in Chattanooga this May 20-21. For more information on this event, go to CCDA.org.

Friday, April 8, 2011

In the News

Check out the article in Chattanooga's new online new source, Nooga.com.

Church-based project seeks to alleviate poverty
By Mary Barnett
Published Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:47 pm EST ( Updated 1 week ago )

The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College will soon launch Asset-Driven Development of Chattanooga (ADDC), a pilot project developed to train and support church-based individual development accounts (IDA's) in the greater Chattanooga area.

IDA's are matched saving accounts for the working poor, similar to an employer-matched 401K account. Asset-driven development means the people who sign up for an IDA will be saving for a specific need or asset, such as a home, car, or home-based business equipment.

"Some people who are in poverty could get out of poverty with the right help. But they don't know that they can," Jerilyn Sanders, director of the program, said. "They don't know that they might be able to create their own wealth, and incrementally things could at least get better. If I am a person who is going to a title pawn when I have an emergency, will I ever consider investments or savings?"
Heather Harris, right, a volunteer with the ADDC, helps director Jerilyn Sanders, left, plan out their new offices at the St. Andrews Center.

This summer the ADDC program, one of the first launched by the Chalmers Center in the U.S., will train church leaders interested in a longer lasting impact to start an IDA program in their congregation or community.

Participants in the training program will be tasked to do extensive homework within their congregations to find their target audience, set the budget, determine the match rate, and adapt the program to the needs of people in their organization.

Heather Prettyman, with Hope for Northwest Georgia, is looking forward to the group training approach and learning with others. She will be part of the first 5 groups already enrolled in this summer's pilot program.

"It is going to be a big deal to partner with someone and help them look to the future beyond next week or next month. We will learn how to help them budget and manage their own money as they save," said Prettyman. "This program will allow us to do a match savings programs - so people who couldn't buy a car, or a house, or go for higher education, will now have that possibility by working with a church. I think people have been looking for this kind of answer for awhile."

The Chalmers Center, whose work has been primarily focused overseas in developing nations, is piloting the program in Chattanooga to learn from the model over the next three years before they introduce it to other communities around the United States.

"Ultimately, we'd like to see communities around the country working together to address poverty in this way," Sanders said.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Isaiah 58:6-8

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."

Sometimes it is just easier to fast. I have fasted only a few times in my life, but can recall each instance in vivid detail. I was hungry. I was easily annoyed. I sinned greatly. It was not an experience that left me feeling holy. On the contrary, it left me feeling very much in need of my Savior!

But that is the point. Fasting is not about being holy, in and of ourselves. It is about facing temptation and the ugliness that is our own sinful heart.

But even so, sometimes fasting is easier.

In Isaiah 58, it is not difficult to see God's frustration with His people. He did not want their empty rituals, their auto-pilot suffering. He wanted true, heartfelt love! And not just love for Him, but actions of love and devotion for others, out of love for Him. The examples in the passage ask, "but how can you say that you love me when you ignore the cries of those around you?"

If we truly love God, we will open our hearts to the people he has created -and with whom he has surrounded us.

I cannot go downtown without being asked by at least one person, if I have change. I must have a sign on my forehead, because I am that person. And when I say no, I am wracked with guilt. I think, "but I am supposed to love poor people! How can I say no?"

But is this what God really desires of me? To give my spare change, and in so doing, shake off any uncomfortable guilt? Does he desire that I then go on my way and leave this behind? Of course not.

The people of Israel did just this! They checked off the rituals -doing exactly what they were 'supposed' to do, and no more. And then they continued on their way, blind to the needs of those around them.

Sharing food with the hungry, providing shelter, and clothing the naked all require two things (well, 3 really): time, and seeing. It takes time to address true need. It takes seeing to even know there is a need! Our eyes must be open (okay, hearts) to see that we are constantly surrounded by individuals who cannot possibly provide what they need. It takes time to give enough to help them make this change.

And the third thing? That is the Holy Spirit. Don't forget the Holy Spirit. Because if we do, and love, and give... but without the Holy Spirit, without the love of God in our hearts and the understanding that we ourselves have received, it is all worthless.

So go out into Northwest Georgia, Southside Chattanooga, the North Shore... wherever you are, and let your light break forth! Pray that God would open your heart and schedule to reach out to those in need. Fear not. The glory of the Lord is your rear guard.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Join thousands of others in learning the best ways to serve their community for Jesus! The Christian Community Development Association National Conference will be in Indianapolis this October 12-16. Be there. Sign up this April.

Monday, February 21, 2011

If we look at poverty head on -face to face- it can be completely overwhelming. In fact, it should be overwhelming.

But our God commands us not to be overwhelmed, but to call upon His name. Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." If you see injustice, confront it. Uphold the orphan and the widow. Be the voice for the voiceless, the strength for those who are weak. (See Exodus 23:6, Psalm 140:12, Proverbs 29:7)

Still overwhelmed? Don't be. Philippians 4:13 tells us that through Christ, we can do all things -and not through our own strength, but through His. When we make it about us, we will always fall short. But when we make it about our perfect, powerful Savior, we cannot lose. We may feel broken and discouraged by our experience, but we will not have failed if we have truly put our faith in Him and allowed ourselves to be used as His vessel.

By the world's standards, we may look like fools when we give our time and our hearts to those in need. To God, this is a sign of our love for Him! 1 John 3:16 says that "this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

If you are ready to lay down your life on behalf of the hurting of this world, I assure you, there are unending opportunities to do so. Not sure where to start? Contact the Hope office. We are more than happy to serve along side you in your community.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hope Spotlight: Asset-Driven Development of Chattanooga

ADDC assists Christian ministries, churches, and community organizations in the North Georgia and Chattanooga region to create their own IDA programs. ADDC is a program of the Chalmers Center, created in order to encourage churches to use IDA programs that they might better serve the poor in their communities.

What are IDAs?

IDAs directly target the economically poor in a manner that is specifically designed to empower (and equip!) them for success. The savings of an individual participant is matched by a church or organization at a predetermined ratio. These funds are used to purchase an asset of the individuals choosing, including education, a home, or car. This process of saving is accompanied by financial literacy courses, counseling, and mentoring.

Click here to see an example of how one organization has utilized the IDA model.

The end goal for IDAs through ADDC is not just the attainment of the asset, but relationships, becoming a part of a church community, and knowing Jesus Christ!

If your church or organization would like to participate, contact Jerilyn Sanders at the Chalmers Center at jerilyn.sanders@chalmers.org

For more info, see the following links:

Chalmers Center Goes Local

Jerilyn Sanders at ADDC

Racial Reconciliation... and Jobs for Life

Sound too good to be true? ...but it is! Enjoy pancakes and fellowship as you listen to David Spickard, President of Jobs for Life, speak February 26 at Hope for the Inner City.

TICKETS: $15 per person, or $150 for table seating 10
REGISTER: Online with a credit card at www.Hope4theInnercity.org/breakfast
or by mail with a check to Hope for the Inner City, P.O. Box 11584, Chattanooga, TN 37401
QUESTIONS? (423) 698-3178, x104 or despey@hope4theinnercity.org

Saturday, February 26, 2011 ● 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Hope for the Inner City, 1800 Roanoke Ave.

Keynote Speaker David Spickard, CEO, Jobs for Life

Eat delicious food with family fellowship.
Celebrate unity in Jesus Christ across racial lines.
Pray for those seeking employment in troubled times.
Support Hope for the Inner City's job-readiness program for inner-city residents.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Doctor Is Always In.

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."


(Matthew 9:12-13)

Sometimes, in trying to help those who are financially poor, it is easy to lose sight of this little thing called our own sin. In the effort to help people effectively, salving wounds and rescuing bodies from the wreckage, it is all too easy to forget that we ourselves need rescuing. Our savor desires mercy from those who love Him- mercy that is full of compassion and empathy. This mercy should say 'hey, I have been there.' and not, 'Look at what you have done!' This mercy should be chock-full of abundant grace that says 'I gladly give to you, without plans for your IOU, even though you have done nothing to deserve this- and may never do anything. I give, because I myself have received.'

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice when he gave up his physical body... but this sacrifice came from a love we cannot comprehend! His love called out to us sinners, advertising 'free medicine for those who ask!' and promising a life full of chances to do the same for others.

There will be times when we will be completely frustrated with someone to whom we are trying to minister. We may think, 'Why is he not getting this?' ...but are we not really saying 'Why can't he be more like me!'?

Let's all make this our goal:

More like Jesus, less like myself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hope Welcomes...

Hope for Northwest Georgia is proud to welcome Rock Creek Fellowship as our newest Hope Partner Church!
Rock Creek is located in Rising Fawn, Georgia and is situated atop Lookout Mountain. The view from the church is quite beautiful. ...if you don't believe me, you should definitely check it out for yourself!

Monday, January 3, 2011

CCDA in Chattanooga

The Christian Community Development Association regional conference is being held in Chattanooga this May 20-21! The theme is Building Bridges...Fulfilling Your Call to Help Hungry, Hurting People. Interested in volunteering? Contact the Hope office. More information to come!