If you were to pick two people out of a crowd to start a new ministry alongside hard living people, you might not pick Ron Deloney and Dan Talbert. But Christ had something beautiful in mind for them and rallied hundreds of other people to follow their lead. Some might call it a miracle, but they call it Opportunity House. The Narrow Gate out of prison, homelessness and addiction became a broad highway toward hope for hundreds of people. Since this video was produced in 2012, versions of Opportunity House and NarrowGate have developed in a half dozen other locations. Click on the video to hear their story.
Transcript of Video:
Ron Deloney: Opportunity House is a ministry that we started in 2007 and a branch of that is a ministry that we call Narrowgate, which was started in 2009. It has been in existence now for three years and it is still going strong. It is a meal, music and message sort of service that started with three people and now serves in the neighborhood of 200 people each Thursday night.
This ministry started as a vision of Mr. Dan Talbert as a part of our Disciple Bible Study in 2007.
Dan Talbert: We met each Saturday morning, we read Acts 2, prayed and began to put together the ministry that is now Narrowgate.
Our intention at Narrowgate is to help people move from homelessness, helplessness and joblessness to a fulfilling life as a member of this community: in the process of doing this, helping them to find their way to Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Our door is open to anyone, but our focus area would be the homeless, the addicted and the recently released from incarceration. My heavens, we get to see changes in people’s lives almost every day. God changes hearts as well as minds. People begin to focus on others. People begin to focus on the future. People begin to focus on hope.
Those are all things that represent change that comes on them from God, in my opinion.
We feed in ways other than with food. We feed in ministry as well and in that way Narrowgate is significantly different from a soup kitchen. It is a ministry to the heart and soul as well as a ministry to the physical needs of the community.
In a ministry of this sort, God can use everyone. One of the things we have discovered is that though the people that come to the Thursday night service may not have financial means, many of them have deep skills and they have a desire and a love for people and want to share their skills with the community.
In my situation, it took the accumulation of my life experience to be able to come into the ministry to work effectively. As a young man, if I had the heart for the ministry I didn’t have the equipment. I didn’t have the skill set that life has brought me. I firmly believe that God calls all sorts of people to the ministry: people with all sorts of abilities and disabilities, all ages and all different skill sets. When we work in compatible ways, it goes to build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
In today’s world there is a tremendous need for people who do have a relationship with Jesus Christ and are involved in their churches to reach out to the community, because the community we live in and all communities hold people who are starved for relationships and for love and for someone who cares, and specifically for the salvation that Jesus Christ brings.
I think within Narrowgate one of the things we have discovered is that we can use people from all stages in life. But we have found that retirees sometimes may have more time on their hands and have life skills that are very valuable in Christ’s ministry: especially those who have a love for Jesus Christ and for other people. We found that they are able to take those life skills and apply them in the ministry to great benefit to the community and to those in need.