Each year, over 9,000 people in Louisville, KY find themselves without a place to call home. These are the homeless.
OUR VISION: Jefferson Street Baptist Center exists to extend gospel-centered mercy to the homeless and hurting of the greater Louisville area.
OUR MISSION: Community. Transformation. Christ.
Community: We have been designed by God for community. When creating the world, God called everything “good,” except when man was alone, which he called “not good.” He created us to have community with Him and community with other people. We seek to foster community that is transparent, enriching, honest, supportive, and that walks with God.
Transformation: God desires to do more than simply relieve someone’s discomfort and pain. God desires more than just better life skills for us. God desires to transform us, to make us new people. When someone arrives at JSBC, their life has usually become unmanageable. Often, God uses this place of brokenness to transform both the hearts and actions of the people that come through our doors.
Christ: Only Jesus Christ can bring eternal change. Christ is our source of hope – hope that He knows what is best for us, hope that things will get better, hope that our sins are forgiven, and hope that He has set us free and will bring us into a new life with Him. Christ is the sole source of all good things and all eternal hope.
A brief history of Jefferson Street Baptist Center
Jefferson Street Baptist Center has a unique history in the City of Louisville and begins with a man named Steve Holcombe.In the heart of Louisville’s gambling quarter, on Jefferson-street, between Fourth and Fifth, one man has been seen daily for years. He is plainly, almost shabbily, dressed. His face is palid and careworn always, and on it deep lines are graven, but not by the 50 Winters, whose passing has left him still in his prime. - Courier-Journal, March 22, 1885
The story of Steve Holcombe is one of a murderer, scoundrel and riverboat gambler who became a pastor ministering to the least of these in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1800s. After leading a fairly scandalous life for his first 40 years, he repented, became a Christian and began the Union Gospel Mission in 1888 as an outreach to the drunkards, the criminal, the down-and-out, the gamblers, the whores, the poorest of the poor… the “least of these.” His life story is a powerful witness of the redemptive power of God’s love.
First located at 114 Jefferson Street, Holcombe’s mission was a place where the “power of God was present to heal” and the Gospel was at the core of the ministry.
Along with having his work recognized by such men as D.L. Moody and John Broadus, Holcombe’s ministry to the homeless and hurting was most intimately known to those throughout the city. Old companions of his worldly life, along with godly men and women from local churches, came to hear the man who was once marked by wickedness speak with tenderness, love and compassion about the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through this work of God’s grace, both people of affluence and “poor drunkards too far gone for timidity or curiosity” had their lives transformed, demonstrating “unquestionable proofs of conversion.”
The mission itself became an “open home for any weary, foot-sore wanderer who was willing to come in.” When the amount of people who came looking for lodging and an opportunity to hear Holcombe became greater than the available space, the Mayor and Police Chief gave a building and the money to refurbish what would become “The Wayfarer’s Rest.”
After Holcombe’s death, his ministry became known as Union Gospel Mission and continued ministering to the “poor wayfaring strangers,” welcoming them with open arms, but not enabling them to remain idle. Churches came together underneath the banner of the Gospel to see that this ministry to the marginalized would continue. In 1964, Union Gospel Mission became Jefferson Street Baptist Chapel.
At Jefferson Street Baptist Center, God’s mercy in and through the Gospel continues to transform broken lives and provide real and lasting hope to those in need. Almost 125 years later the Gospel seed sown by Steve Holcombe’s Mission is still bearing fruit.
OUR WEBSITE: www.jeffersonstreet.org