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Church members move to make difference

By Justin Greer Orange Mound

Would you sacrifice your current way of living in order to better the lives of others?
That is the question that Jason Payne, a member of Collierville’s Central Church and co-leader of the “Community Group” ministry, recently asked himself.
Payne, originally from Collierville, resigned from his career as a project manager at Raymond James to devote his time to spiritually rejuvenate the Orange Mound community in Memphis and help rid the area of its negative reputation associated with crime and gang violence.
Along with seven other Christian servants representing surrounding churches, Payne plans to move into purchased properties within the neighborhood to complete volunteer missionary work and have a more visible presence.
Payne and the Community Group have visited the Orange Mound Park neighborhood on several occasions within a span of two years to host cookouts and promote fellowshipping.
“I have fallen in love with the children, people and the community,” said Payne.
With his desire to serve unquenched, Payne, along with other group members, decided the best way to truly bring about change was to become a resident of the community.
“We feel honored to ‘take up our crosses’ and relocate into the center of Memphis,” Payne said. “Christ’s sacrificial interactions with the people of Galilee have practical implications for interacting with our own modern neighbors across the greater Memphis area.”
The group currently has secured two rental properties on Marechalneil Street and neighboring Hilton Street and used their own personal savings to renovate and prepare them for suitable living.
They plan on occupying the homes in late January and early February of 2013. The third home, also located on Marechalneil, is targeted to be occupied, but will require financial support to help restore the old property due to deterioration. The amount required is $15,000.
“If only 150 generous partners would donate $100 each, then our Community Group can complete the first phase of our project by relocating into Orange Mound and return to doing what we enjoy the most – equipping new servant leaders to sacrificially serve the city of Memphis, for Christ’s glory, and for their own satisfaction in him,” said Payne.
Those interested in donating or finding out more about the group and its mission can contact The Central Church’s Mission Department at 888-4673.

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