Friday, August 8, 2014

‘A heart for people’ inspires the Servant’s Circle

       “I have a heart for people and I’ve always been a servant of the community. I just want to see people have the best in life,” said Minister Telisa Franklin, senior servant of The Servant’s Circle, a newly formed ministry that Franklin started Aug. 2.
      The Servant’s Circle is a non-traditional, non-denominational church that holds service on Saturdays in a building that Franklin has used as her place of business along a business strip at 2988 Old Austin Peay Hwy. Service starts at 6 p.m. each Saturday.
Minister Telisa Franklin
      “The ministry is a fellowship of people who want to serve,” said Franklin, the executive director of the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival before the name was changed this year to the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival.
      The mission of the ministry, she said, is to “serve our God, serve our family and serve our community.” 1 Samuel 25-41 (NIV) is the foundational scripture: “She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, ‘I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my Lord’s servants.’”
      “The bible says what you do for the least one of you, you do it to me. I took it upon myself seven years ago to serve the community,” said Franklin, who hosted a ministerial boot camp, a Community Shoebox for Seniors Brunch, an STD forum for young men and women, an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the hungry and homeless, and other community projects throughout the years.
      Forty people attended the inaugural service. “We serve on Saturdays as an alternative to Sunday worship,” said Franklin, a license minister with the Full Gospel Church Fellowship. She also is an ordained evangelist, which was bestowed upon her by a pastor in the Baptist church.
“We worship for 60-90 minutes,” she said, “and get in all the traditional worship that people are accustomed to and then get right to the heart of worship – praising God.”
      “I really enjoyed the service. I felt those words were especially for me,” Charlette Pipkin, a native Memphian currently serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, texted Franklin later that day.
      Following service, parishioners were treated to refreshments as a goodwill gesture and token of love and appreciation from the ministry’s staff. Many of them wore casual clothing, which she encourages during worship.
      “I’m not a traditional pastor. I’m just the senior servant,” said Franklin, who conceived the idea for the ministry three years ago, but sat on it until she was compelled “by the Holy Spirit” to bring the idea to fruition.
      “I was disobedient and didn’t want to lead people, so I presented the idea to a male pastor. But he didn’t think that was what he wanted to do at the time.”
Now that the ministry is up and running, Franklin said there will be a service project each month for parishioners who want to perform community service.
Later this month, college students will be the recipients of their goodwill.
For more information about the Servant’s Circle, contact Minister Telisa Franklin at (901) 281-6337.

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