Category Archives: Nonprofit Spotlight

ChristianWorks for Children spells family business

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Editor’s note: From the Inside The Pew archives; run date July 20, 2009.

By Jennifer Paul
Inside The Pew

DALLAS – How important is the role of a Christ-centered family in the life of a child? One Dallas-based ministry believes it is essential.

“(Family) was the first institution created by God,” said Rob Pine, executive director of ChristianWorks for Children, a

These four children are from the village of Ateiku in the western region of Ghana. The two boys, who are brothers, were taken in by Ateiku’s preacher/missionary, Lawrence Orduru, after their parents were killed, saving their sons from a housefire. The older girl was taken in by Orduru after her mother was caught beating her daughter in public. The mother then abandoned the girl and told Orduru to take her. The youngest girl in the picture is Orduru’s daughter.

non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families in times of trouble. “The first relationship He created was marriage; the second relationship was the parent-child relationship. How can it not be important? It is the relationship upon which all other relationships have been built.”

Pine and his staff of licensed counselors and trained volunteers who regularly serve at ChristianWorks, passionately believe that a healthy, Christ-centered family is vital for the well being of all children, their parents, and the community as a whole.

ChristianWorks for Children has faithfully served Dallas and the surrounding area for 42 years. It began as a ministry of the churches of Christ in an attempt to provide pregnant women with maternity homes and adoption services. In the mid ‘90s, ChristianWorks expanded its program to include counseling services. This addition was “driven by a desire to help keep families together” and to “help parents help their children” by providing Christian guidance, Pine said. The ministry has grown significantly, and the counselors at ChristianWorks currently minister to families from all over the Metroplex.

In 2000, the need was noticed for a grief ministry for children.

“Everywhere we turned,” Pine said, “there was grief support for adults who were grieving the death of someone, but there wasn’t a children’s program anywhere in Dallas County.”

This prompted ChristianWorks to design Dallas GriefWorks for Kids. Beginning with only one child, GriefWorks currently serves 39 families.

The three ministries of ChristianWorks for Children (AdoptionWorks, CounselingWorks, and GriefWorks) were all established for the same purpose.

“We want children and families to know that God is there for them,” Pine said. “No matter what they are going through, no matter the circumstance, situation, or tragedy… and (we want them to know) that there are people who care.”

CounselingWorks offers professional counseling for individuals, couples, and families on a sliding scale based on family income. It also provides churches and organizations with the opportunity to join the church and corporation sponsorship program, which allows for members of those churches and organizations to receive counseling for $20 a session.

GriefWorks is a free program which offers help and support to children ages 5-18 who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Groups meet bi-weekly, and after enjoying a free meal provided by local volunteers, children split up into age groups to learn about and discuss a new aspect of grief each session.

Larry Barbar is director of CounselingWorks and GriefWorks.

The goal of AdoptionWorks is simple, Pine said.

“If there is a child who needs a family, our objective is to find that child a Christian family any way we can. That birth mom needs to know that God cares about her and cares about that baby,” Pine said. “That baby doesn’t have a voice, so somebody’s got to watch out for it and speak for it. And as a licensed adoption agency in the state of Texas, we are responsible for that child once the birth mother says, ‘yes.’”

But there is no doubt that the ministries of ChristianWorks are effective.

“What we do has long-reaching effects, into many generations, which change the face of eternity, change lives for eternity,” Pine said.

How to get involved: To take advantage of the services of ChristianWorks, join the church and corporation sponsorship program, call Kristina at (972) 960-9981 or visit

Nearly 10,000 gather to hear Will Graham speak at Texas celebrations

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Special to Inside The Pew

Approximately 9,475 Texans heard inspiring messages of forgiveness, hope and purpose from evangelist Will Graham as he held the Red River Will Graham Celebration in Gainesville, March 16-18, and the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration in Terrell, March 23-25. More than 400 came forward at the invitation to make a decision for Jesus at the two events.

“We live in a world that says it’s all about you. But that’s not what the Bible says,” said Graham. “The Bible says that if you

Will Graham

want to be satisfied, you need to make God a priority in your life and make it less about you. The only way you can fulfill your purpose is to surrender your life into God’s hand.”

Dena Risinger, who chaired the Celebration executive committee in Terrell, said, “When we began this process many months ago, we assumed that this weekend would be a destination. Now I realize that this is just the beginning, and God has even more in store for our area.”

Johnny Leftwich, who chaired the Gainesville outreach, shared, “It’s been great to see the cooperation that we’ve had; hundreds of volunteers, people coming together not only in our community, but in our county. It’s been quite a joy watching people working together for one purpose and one purpose only: to see others begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Graham was joined on-stage throughout the two events by a variety of musical acts. The Red River Celebration featured The Afters, one of today’s top Christian rock bands, who have had songs featured on many television shows, including “The Biggest Loser” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” The audience also had the opportunity to hear from the Northern Ireland-based Rend Collective Experiment, and hip-hop artist Tedashii.

The Trinity Valley Celebration featured music from Grammy Award-nominated band Fireflight and singer-songwriter Brenton Brown, along with Rend Collective Experiment and Tedashii.

Both Celebrations dedicated a morning to children with KidzFest events, featuring bounce houses, balloon animals, games, and a program tailored just for them by children’s performer Tommy Toombs.

Just prior to leaving for Texas, Graham was featured in a two-page article in People magazine. “I’m not used to that kind of attention,” said Graham. “It was very kind of them to do that, and the folks at People were great to work with. I’m very appreciative and very humbled to have had that opportunity.”

Wright: Getting marriages ‘back to basics’

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By Todd Wright
Special to Inside The Pew

Books and articles on marriage enrichment are a dime a dozen and for the most part are “inspirational” in nature with little focus on the word of God.  Obviously secular works ignore the word of God, but those of the Christian variety often do not fare much better.

I was chatting with a new friend this week, and he made the point that believers need to get back to basics.  We have strayed

Fonny and Todd Wright

too far down the road of human viewpoint and need to make our way back to God’s perfect, divine viewpoint, the means by which we are to live the Christian life.  This is especially true in our marriages.

Let us first ask the most basic question: “Why are we here?”  As believers we know that God created us to bring glory to Himself (Proverbs 16:4, Isaiah 43:7,21, Psalms 86:9, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 10:31, Ephesians 1:11-12, etc.).  Suffice it to say the marriage of believers is a primary means by which to glorify our Father in Heaven.  The number one objective which must drive every discussion about the Christian marriage is that the marriage must glorify God.  For spiritually mature couples, this message frames every other discussion about every aspect of the marriage.  The husband should, above all else, glorify God.  The wife should, above all else, glorify God.  The marriage should, above all else, glorify God.

While spiritually mature couples are obedient to the passages above regarding bringing glory to God, spiritually immature couples, more often than not, seek happiness for themselves.  They seek self-gratification at the expense of bringing glory to God.  The solution for these believers is found in the word of God.  With knowledge of the word of God comes spiritual maturity.  The Bible speaks repeatedly of the importance of knowledge, wisdom, and an understanding of the scriptures.  As believers learn the principles of Bible doctrine, they begin to apply the teachings to their lives.  Bible doctrine is the solution to every problem.  It is the solution to every marriage problem a believer may encounter.  Without knowledge of Bible doctrine, spiritually immature believers are left to their own faulty, human viewpoint reasoning.  They spend their time grasping for happiness.  Many misguided, spiritually immature believers fail miserably in their pursuit of joy, but more importantly, they fail to bring glory to God.

When you are ready to get on the road to spiritual maturity, find a pastor-teacher who teaches the word of God in a systematic and methodical verse-by-verse method.  Ask the pastor- teacher to recommend Bible commentaries and other resources that take you through the doctrines in the scriptures.  The husband should study individually, the wife should study individually, and together the couple should study Bible doctrine.  While gaining in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the Bible these spiritually maturing believers are sure to bring glory to God.

Todd is the author of “Marriages That Glorify God.”  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Guidance from Texas A&M at Commerce.  He has worked in the field of community mental health for 20 years and has been a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas for 18 years. He serves as the executive director of a large company providing community mental health services and is the founder of D. Todd Wright Ministries. Todd has been married to his wife, Fonny, for seven years.

Single moms and the local church

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By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside The Pew staff.

BATON ROUGE, La. — As her body crumbles to the floor, she can hardly believe what she is hearing. Her husband wants a divorce. No, not me. Not us. I’ve done everything right. I’ve tried. I really have.A million thoughts rush through her mind as

Jennifer Maggio

the reality that her world will no longer be the same comes crashing against her. She lies there, crying and helpless, wondering how she will survive financially, what her friends will thing, and how her children will survive without their father in their daily lives.

This is reality for more than 15 million women who find themselves parenting alone today in the United States. It is estimated that 1,000 teenagers become pregnant every day, while one in every two marriages will fail. Whether it be a 15-year-old pregnant teen, a 35-year-old divorcee, or a grandmother parenting her grandchildren alone, these women are desperate for connection. The statistics that surround the single parent home are staggering:

  • 78 percent of the U.S. current prison population was raised in a single parent home.
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts came from single parent homes.
  • 1 in 3 single mothers live in poverty.
  • Children in single parent homes are five times more likely to commit suicide.
  • They are 32 times more likely to run away.
  • They are 10 more likely to use drugs or alcohol.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. By all accounts, today’s society is currently in the midst of a single parent crisis that affects our economy, abuse rates, crime, education, and our future generations. We know that we are under biblical mandate to serve the least of these, the forgotten, the broken, the marginalized. The questions is, “What are you, the church, doing about it?” For far too long, the church has ran from the single parent home. Recent studies suggest that 67 percent of single mothers in the United States do not actively attend church (“The Church and the Single Mom,” Carepoint). It is one of the fastest-growing sects of the population, and there are approximately 9 million unchurched single mothers in our communities across this nation.

The Life of a Single Mom Ministries was founded as a solution to this very concern. Less than 1 percent of the 300,000 evangelical Christian churches in the United States do nothing for single mothers, and the few that do struggle with how to run effective programs that go beyond a one-time-a-year Christmas or Thanksgiving event. TLSM is on a mission to change all that.  TLSM provides resource to equip pastors, leaders, and laypeople on how to launch effective single parent programs within their church. TLSM has helped more than 400 churches in the United States and served leadership in 19 countries. But the work is not done. Praise God for the cutting-edge churches across the country who has embraced this endeavor! Has yours?

Jennifer Maggio is critically acclaimed author and speaker who is also founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio’s own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows and writes articles for dozens of magazines. Her products are endorsed by LifeWay Christian Stores, Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, and many more. For more information, visit

Praise His Name home of Christian programming 24/7

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Keith Wilson and a group of believers in Wintersville, Ohio, decided six months ago to make a positive impact on the Internet. The end result of their collaboration – Praise His Name.

“The Internet is full of bad stuff, things we don’t want our children and grandchildren to hear,” said Wilson, who serves as chair of PHN. “This is a way to combat the bad stuff and place wholesome content that people can listen to anytime of the day.”

Founded in October 2011, PHN ( is a Christian based website featuring music, comedy, devotionals,

Keith Wilson

meditations, scripture lessons, and sermons. The site boasts visitors from 45 states in the union, nine countries.

“In the beginning, viewers were concentrated in Northern Ohio and Chicago, and then it started to go everywhere – including California and Texas,” he said.

The PHN “Links” page includes church, organization, and indie Christian musicians and singers listings.

To hear sermons, viewers must clink on the churches’ websites on the “Links” page.

Wilson said a benefit of listening to music on PHN is that since the site is stockpiled with MP3s, listeners can hear the song from beginning to end. The user is to click on the “Praise His Name Media Player” to gain access to music selections. Featured artists include Beth Champion Mason, MARK 209, and The Chrisagis Brothers.

In addition, Wilson said, PHN is a good avenue for indie artists to gain exposure. An added bonus of the site is the PHN Music Video of Week.

“All music selections are originally written and performed by the artists,” he said.

Christian comedians and troupes such as Ken Davis, the Sheep Laughs Comedy Show, and Brother Billy Bob Bohannon also have a place on the PHN. The individuals place their unique take on the spiritual walk. Wilson said each submission for a Christian comedic appearance on PHN is carefully screened.

Furthermore, Christian movie happenings are provided via Christian Film News ( and Christian news through Inside The Pew ( These links are displayed in the news ticker on the front page.

“We are trying to get to the people who were not churchgoers without throwing it (Christianity) into their face. The intent is to preach to reached and unreached,” Wilson said.

As of press time, Wilson estimates the site averages 500 visitors per month. In addition, he said he is working on obtaining PHN’s 501 (c) 3 status.

“The site was created by tons of friends who were faithful like I am,” Wilson said. “We wanted a broad range of people to give us input as to what we want to hear. We are pleased with the progress, but we have a long way to go. There are many things that we want to do. Start small and slow and build into bigger and better things.”

New find of Wi-Fi transmitters – the homeless

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By Jeremy Reynalds
ASSIST News Service

By Jonathan Matheny
Joy Junction special projects coordinator

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) – What would you do for at least $20 a day?

Would you introduce yourself, hand someone a business card, and offer your services as a Wi-Fi hotspot?

This is exactly what has been going on at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin.

PR Daily reported, “New York-based marketing firm BBH Labs equipped homeless people on the streets of Austin with devices that made them wireless hot spots. Internet seekers then paid what they wanted-in cash or via PayPal to access the Web. The homeless men and women kept all of the money.”

BBH Labs called “Homeless Hotspots” a modern version of the street newspapers homeless people often sell on the streets of big cities.

After scrolling through the BBH Labs website, we found a very well thought out program. The only amount of cash that exchanged hands was the $20 given to each “Hotspot Manager” per day. Everything beyond that, in collaboration with case managers from a local shelter, was returned to the hotspot manager as part of a program to help save for employment and housing needs.

When asking some Joy Junction residents about what they thought, we received a myriad of responses.

One individual’s eyes lit up. “You mean that I could keep as much as I make? I would do that, even if I didn’t get the cash right away.”

Another person said, “I would be afraid that it would sound like I am selling myself.”

Yet another commented, “Why would you WANT to do that? Could I get busted for panhandling? Could I do both?”

One person wanted to get involved immediately.

Though this program seems to have generated the wrath of some, we would be interested to see after further research, where BBH Labs take this idea.

We are both totally opposed to anything that would in any way exploit the homeless and add trials to their already difficult life and the multitude of problems they face. Our quick assessment of what this program was offering didn’t find any hint of exploitation.

Assuming that the reality of this human Wi-Fi vendor program is what we believe it to be, we’d even like to suggest that BBH Labs talks to us about joining with Joy Junction if they choose to do this venture again.

Community Christian School students rally to help family

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Special to Inside The Pew

Community Christian School’s Student Leadership Institute’s director, Judy Klein, saw a need in a former student of hers and CCS graduate, Ryan McLeod.

Ryan McLeod, now a Beaumont firefighter, has a 4-year-old son, Racer, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  Because of the

Ryan McLeod, left, and his family are blessed with donation for son, Racer, from Community Christian School in Orange.

severity of his illness, Racer is in need of a diabetic alert dog.

The students at Community Christian School recently went through Rachel’s Challenge and through the testimony of Rachel Scott, learned that “if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”

Based on Rachel’s Challenge, the students of CCS have started a Chain Reaction club and are implementing the challenge in their chapel and Student Leadership Institute program.  This week the entire school is having a “Chain Reaction” week where each day they are focusing on a different act of kindness.

Klein, as part of the Chain Reaction, wanted to show an act of kindness toward the McLeod family.  She presented the need of the McLeod family to the student body during their chapel and they rallied together to raise money throughout one week to help with the purchase of the diabetic alert dog.  The students were impacted by the need of the 4-year boy and raised $1, 500. Together with the money raised by Community Christian School in Orange and the money raised by the community and surrounding areas at the benefit at Precision Autobody in Nederland on Feb. 11, the McLeod family now has the money to receive a diabetic alert dog for Racer.

The CCS family is so blessed to be a small part of helping Racer McLeod.

Fort Worth Christian women to help MISSION 3:16

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Attendees of the Fort Worth Christian Women’s Connection luncheon will be treated to a feisty guest speaker, a good meal, and an opportunity to donate to a worthy cause.

During the organization’s February luncheon, women are invited to bring new teddy bears or other types of stuffed animals to the event for MISSION 3:16, a chaplaincy at Kimbo Juvenile Justice Center.

The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd in Fort Worth. The cost is $17.

The mission donates a stuffed animal – or Prayer Bear – to a patient at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth every time one of the Kimbo kids earns a certificate for being on Level 1 behavior for seven consecutive days.

The stuffed animals must have the store tags still attached.

Since November 2002, Kimbo Juvenile Justice Center has donated “Prayer Bears” to Cook Children’s Medical Center on behalf of detainees maintaining the highest level of behavior.

The scheduled guest speaker for the February luncheon is Qujette Cone, a fun-loving grandmother, who will take attendees on a journey of her heart’s travels in “Music From the Heart.” Jimmie Porterfield will accompany Cone on her musical journey.

In addition, Ryan Loehndorf will showcase the variety of pampering at Moda’s Aveda Salon on Seventh Street.

Childcare is provided. All reservations, and cancellations, including childcare, must be made by Feb. 10. Email Patsy at for reservations.