The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local News

March 15, 2010

New Birth Worship Center the ‘miracle on 22nd Street’

Dixon offers practical ministry

ANDERSON, Ind. — On the morning of Feb. 5, 2005, eight people gathered for an informal worship service at a building at the corner of 22nd and Lincoln streets on Anderson’s near south side.

The church had no name at the time — it was known only as “the miracle on 22nd Street” — but New Birth Worship Center was born. Over the past five years, Pastor Earlie Dixon has grown the church’s membership to more than 100 members with a practical ministry.

“The people who walk in the door are real people with real problems,” Dixon said. “If they need employment, I need to be involved in employment. If they need housing, I need to be involved in housing. The ministry of a pastor has to stand outside of his church walls.”

On Monday, another small gathering occupied New Birth Worship Center as the church hosted the March installment of “Takin’ it to the Street Beat,” a radio collaboration between The Herald Bulletin and NewsTalk 1240 WHBU.

Dixon said he accommodated the needs of his congregation with shorter services, Sunday school on Saturday and delivering what he calls practical sermons.

“I don’t expect them to do what the prophets did,” Dixon said. “But I want to make the Bible real to them, so they can part the Red Seas in their own lives. I want to make the Bible fit them.”

Dixon also encourages his congregation to seek social justice by working for their own economic advantage. He and co-host James Burgess, president of the Madison County Branch NAACP, encouraged those in attendance to complete their 2010 census form to help federal programs reach the local level.

“Everything is based on that,” Burgess said. “Highway projects, employment. We don’t want it to be a low count.”

Carolyn Warner, activities director for the church, said she had already completed her census form and mailed it back in the postage-paid envelope.

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