Serving from God’s Supply: Birmingham Ministers Prove Faithful and Fruitful
By Jeff Hayes
Central Park Church of God of Birmingham, Alabama, was planted in the 1940s and, through the years, many faithful saints have sacrificed to keep the ministry alive. Over time, an attractive and spacious facility was built to meet the needs of the growing mid-size congregation. Like many other churches, however, Central Park Church is experiencing an inflection point which began well before the pandemic. The church building needs major repair, and only a remnant of worshipers continues to gather. How will the church survive? What is its purpose? What is God trying to do? Here is a story of faith, hope and trust.
As a bivocational pastor and store manager from Birmingham, the first three years of ministry at Central Park Church of God were especially lean ones for Pastor Frederick Molden. “Between 2015 and 2018, there were times I would unlock the church doors, but nobody would show up,” remembers Pastor Molden.
Then in 2018, just a few months after his quadruple bypass surgery, Frederick married GayAnn. Together, they prayed and committed to being servants of God’s faithfulness. “It was GayAnn who had the brainstorm,” recalls Molden. “Let’s go buy some bread and go visit our neighbors offering them a loaf of bread; a prayer, if desired; and a hand of friendship.” The idea was simple, but it met a real need. “Most of the neighbors within a half-mile radius live at or below the poverty line,” Molden said.
The door-to-door ministry was well-received, and soon they were purchasing and sharing 60 to 70 loaves a week. After a few months, the church was blessed to become a community partner with the local Publix grocery chain. Twice a week, the Moldens now arrive at the store by 5:30 in the morning to pick up donated day-old bakery items.
Because the need was real, Frederick’s and GayAnn’s door-to-door bread ministry quickly multiplied into what is now called “Bags of Blessings.” As word-of-mouth increased, so, too, did the supply of community and corporate donors. Now, twice a week, the church opens the Fellowship Hall doors to distribute bags of blessings to the approximately 70 to 100 families each week who come to fill a bag and receive a blessing.
Pastor and Minister Molden continue to listen and watch as God uses them to meet real needs. “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home” (Matthew 25:35 NLT). Even as the pandemic rages on, Jesus is being fed in Birmingham. This little Central Park Church family of just over twelve members is making a difference for the kingdom of God as they “feed the sheep.”
Pastor Molden covets the prayers of the wider church as the people of Central Park Birmingham continue to seek God’s direction and blessing. The church still has a great need to replace a leaking roof, and prays for resources to upgrade the kitchen and food storage areas so that the ministry might continue to grow. Someday, they hope to be able to access resources from Central Food Bank. “We dream of starting a meal for the homeless, one day, if we can improve the facilities to get approved,” prays Molden.
As you listen to the heart of Pastor Frederick Molden today, you will not hear a beat of discouragement nor despair; only a rhythm of hope, trust, and faithfulness. God is faithful. God is trustworthy. God will give us the resources we need to feed his sheep. This is the ministry of Central Park Church of God, Birmingham, Alabama today. This is the call of Pastor Frederick and Minister GayAnn Molden.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hayes has served on ministry leadership teams in Kentucky, Western Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He recently completed eighteen years of service on the ministry faculty at Warner University and provides leadership to a new ministry, the Way of Compassion. He resides in Winter Haven, Florida, with his wife Karen.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.