From the outside, Second Chance Baptist Church doesn’t look like much. The rented space where the church meets is unassuming, the space is small, but what’s happening inside is not small at all. For decades this little congregation of believers has helped transform thousands of lives.
Today many of those people are agents of transformation themselves with a common motivation: to live a life that was previously unimaginable.
The story began when the church and its first pastor, Randell Turner, began welcoming the homeless to warm meals and shelter on cold winter nights. Soon the church realized that feeding and sheltering weren’t enough. Many of their homeless guests had substance use problems they couldn't deal with alone. The church reached out to Homeward Bound, forming a stable partnership that has lasted more than 20 years.
“It’s one thing to pray and say encouraging things to people, but you also have to go get in your car, go pick them up and do the work and take them [for treatment],” says the Pastor Jonathan Myers, who now leads the church.
“It’s one thing to pray and say encouraging things to people, but you also have to go get in your car, go pick them up and do the work and take them [for treatment],”
Each week, as the church fills up with people in need for a safe haven, the pastor and other believers encourage them to access treatment and recovery at Homeward Bound.
Once at Homeward Bound, the clients enrolled in inpatient treatment get the opportunity to attend Second Chance on Recovery Night Tuesdays. Pastor Jonathan drives the clients to and from southern Dallas to Farmer’s Branch in a school bus, where they have a night of spirituality, reflection and socializing at Second Chance. Once they arrive in the softly lit rooms, they sing hymns and share testimonies over coffee and cake. Here, they also meet and learn from Homeward Bound alums. The welcoming environment and the comforting words spoken at Second Chance keep bringing clients back, even after they’ve graduated.
Like Homeward Bound, Second Chance ignites hope and doesn’t shame. The sermons talk about how to view hardship, relinquishing control to God and finding purpose in life. The pastor tells congregants that “things that seem like tragedies or bad decisions can be a springboard to an entirely new life...God has a purpose for your life and it’s not just to be clean and sober. God has a purpose for you to impact the world in a positive way.”
Their eyes are open and it’s like they’re seeing the world brand new.
On Sundays, the congregation includes those the church has picked up from the streets. A first order of business is to give them coffee and a breakfast feast that church members have been preparing since before daylight. Most of those coming off the streets are actively using, and seem dramatically unlike Homeward Bound clients. “There’s a hollowness, they’re just trying to survive. Oftentimes they come just to sleep,” says the pastor.
Those coming from Homeward Bound are quite different. “Their eyes are open and it’s like they’re seeing the world brand new. They’re coming out of a fog, they’re hungry for a new way to live.”
Whether through safety, spirituality or medicine, Homeward Bound and Second Chance have provided the stability that many need to build a better life. Reminiscing about the decades that the two groups have worked together, Pastor Jonathan smiles and calls Homeward Bound a comfort. “You know you’re not alone. You’re not the only person who cares about these people. These are the anchors in life… [Homeward Bound’s] been a constant for us.”
Homeward Bound Inc. is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization based in North and Far West Texas. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder or having a mental health crisis, please call Homeward Bound at 214-941-3500.