The Well Community opens its doors every Thursday night for dinner, worship and fellowship. For members of The Well, who live daily with the challenges of severe mental illnesses, Thursday Night Life is the highlight of their week.
Various groups volunteer to help serve food and/or lead worship: families, individuals or churches. Members of Tyler Street Church, located on the corner of 10th and Tyler streets, volunteer several times a year for the Thursday night service. Lifetime member of Tyler Street Leigh Gettman-Allen and her husband, Billy Allen, run the college/young adult ministry, called The Branch. “[Serving at The Well] is our favorite outreach of the year and everyone loves to participate. The students and young adults in our group plan and look forward to it for weeks,” Leigh shares as coordinator of the activities. She says it is an all-day event for The Branch. “Some of the girls and I go buy food at Walmart and start cooking around 1 p.m. that day. Then the rest of the group shows up around 3 or 4 that day and we’ll load everything to set up at Cliff Temple Baptist.”
The worship service at Thursday Night Life is often led by area churches. The young people in The Branch teach a lesson, lead worship and have a ministry time at the end during which they get to speak and pray with the members of The Well. Occasionally someone will share their testimony on stage. “We had a guy in our group whose dad was actually a member of The Well, and after sharing his testimony to the congregation on a Thursday night, his dad came out of the crowd and spoke on stage as well. He shared of the redemption he had had with his son. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.”
Churches that volunteer also consider the practical needs of Well Community members. One fall, The Branch brought 75 beautifully colored scarves that had been crocheted by members of Tyler Street, a gift that would come in handy during the winter months to come.
Leigh and her husband make their home in an Oak Cliff neighborhood where they see the positive effects The Well has on their community. “Oak Cliff is such a melting pot of different cultures and people groups and The Well does a beautiful job of taking on this branch of ministry and homing in on the specific care of people who struggle with mental illnesses. [The Well staff] are true urban missionaries.”
Tyler Street Church has served at The Well for a few years now and continues to believe whole-heartedly in its mission to serve and love on people who struggle to manage not only mental illness, but also related concerns such as poverty, poor health and stigma. Leigh adds, “A lot of them love the hot meal, but most of them are starving spiritually, starving to be loved, starving to be connected to something. That’s totally something worth supporting in light of the gospel and Jesus’ ministry in the Bible. I would go as far to say it blesses us more than it blesses them to get to serve them. And you will not find a more grateful group of people.”
Thursday Night Life happens because church and community groups are willing to serve. Would you consider signing up your group for a Thursday night this summer? Don’t hesitate to call or email! We would love to answer your questions and find the best time for you to join us. Contact us.