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In 2017, our City Ministries team became burdened about how we could step in and help to provide a place where anyone in the community could learn life skills and job skills in a fun and engaging format.

We wanted to expose children and adults to things they hadn’t experienced before, giving them the opportunity to dream, to develop skills, and to cultivate life goals. Some team members quickly thought of a makerspace, unfamiliar to many of the rest of us.

By using both low- and high-tech equipment, we would be able to teach geared toward job training and hobbies. We knew that we could only teach what our congregation could teach.

As the idea was unveiled to the church family, individuals immediately began offering ideas of classes or skills they could teach, and, in time, God brought the reality of a makerspace (The Maker’s Center) to life.

Not only did the Maker’s Center provide an opportunity to help our community practically, but it also provided unbelievable opportunities for incredible personal relationships among our teachers and volunteers and students who have taken classes.

Even though times are uncertain and unpredictable, our desire is to offer hope and healing through the gospel of Jesus. We know that God created everything, but when sin entered the world, it broke everything. Suffering, hardship and damaged relationships are results of that brokenness, and none of us are exempt from it. But Jesus died on the cross in our place, rose from the dead and offers forgiveness of sins when we place our faith in Him. He transforms us and makes us new.

With this in mind, we want our actions to show people that God loves them and that we love them, too. We want to serve our city, the hurting, and the marginalized by building relationships and by providing opportunities for friendship and community and for learning and imagining brighter futures.

Whether it’s through food distribution, The Foster Closet, “Church on the Lawn” or yoga at Recovery Point, meals at Union Mission and Sojourner’s, or technology, floral design, driver’s education, and computer classes at the Maker’s Center, local residents can be inspired to thrive in a corner of the world that so often seems misunderstood and hopeless.

West Virginia is full of people who are warm and kind and who want to see their neighbors succeed and flourish. Through developing personal connections, networking, and partnering with individuals and organizations that have the same goals, we can build bridges to a future of hope, understanding and unity.

Bible Center Church is so proud to call Charleston, West Virginia, home. For over 75 years, we have lived, worked, played and worshipped here in this valley. Our church is guided by our ongoing vision of being “for the gospel, and for the city.” Jesus was for the flourishing of people — spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially — and His words and actions shape how we engage in the life of our city today.

Individual tours of the Maker’s Center are available by calling 681-265-3745, or visit BibleCenterChurch.com/ makerscenter to learn more.

Jessica VonCrist is the Director of Communications for Bible Center Church in Charleston.