DTM built and operated three “Jam Houses” in Greenville, Grove City and Sandy Lake. These were small coffeehouse type venues (without the specialty coffee expertise). They were safe havens where relational and peer ministry thrived, where kids were exposed to live Christian music and where many lives were changed.
With the goal of “doing what we do, bigger and better”, Downtown Ministries purchased the old JC Penney department store building in November 2006 and have been transforming it into a community ministry center. The work is partially complete as the ground floor has become a coffeehouse and a mezzanine/balcony area office space. The remaining areas, the basement and second floor, are ready to be developed.
Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse & Café, a miracle of God’s provision, has been billed as the town’s latest landmark. It has become a reality through the hard work of well over 100 volunteers who labored for over three and a half years. It is a tribute to Greenville’s talented labor force and to the community’s giving spirit. The building project has been funded by a support network of friends, local businesses and churches. The building that was once a JC Penney department store has been transformed into a venue that rivals chic metropolitan coffeehouses.
Fresh Grounds is not just a meeting place but more importantly, it is a ministry. The beauty of the building and the excellence of the coffees and pastries are reason enough to sound off about, however, a more important aspect of Fresh Grounds happens inside, day-to-day, with clientele and the new group of volunteers who serve as barista and counter personnel and those who clean and serve on the various committees. What is happening is not traditional church ministry. No preacher, no choir, no church service, etc. We are watching an amazing God do some amazing things. We are seeing relationships developing between Christians and non-Christians. We are watching volunteers exhibit selfless acts of Christian hospitality and evangelism is flourishing. Fresh Grounds is a place where Christ naturally enters into everyday dialog, which is not the norm these days. We get a sense that it is inviting to non-Christians as many have become regulars. It is an attractive, fun place; hip enough for youth and comfortable enough for seniors. A place where the main objective is to honor and glorify God.
Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse has been Phase I of our plans for the old JC Penney building.
We want to give the Greenville community a place where a diversity of cultural forms are exhibited and experienced, which was Phase II of our project. The basement and second floor area had ample room for what we want to create. The volunteer construction group that pieced together Phase I of our project remains intact. We have the completed blueprints and we have met the building code regulations.
Downtown Ministries, Inc. (DTM) is a non-profit organization, with headquarters in Greenville, PA., incorporated in June 1994 and certified by the IRS as 501(c)3 tax exempt in June 2002. The ministry’s initial focus was with high school/college students.
Downtown Ministries and the Mustard Seed Jam House was located at 190 Main Street for 10 years.
Through the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, prayerful and financial support of many.
Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse, the face of Downtown Ministries, offically opened it's doors to the public in April of 2010.
Downtown Ministries Mission Statement
“To reach hearts and impact lives within our community with the love of Christ by providing opportunities for salvation and Christian growth in a place where God’s presence is tangibly felt.”
Small town America…
Everyone knows everyone…
But how do we connect, socialize?
How do we as Christians, evangelize? Do you ever wonder if non-church-going people think about God or not? If you would ask them to come with you to church, would they come?
Downtown Ministries, Inc. has, by the grace and faithfulness of God, created an alternative. A go-between, a non-threatening entrance, a place where Christ is modeled not preached.
Fresh Grounds is a “great good place” or “a third place”...sociological terms for where it is that you seek social interaction (1st place - home, 2nd place - work, 3rd place - where you hang out). Amazing things are happening. Our town has new life; there are new things to do.
And, God is right in the middle. He is naturally discussed in conversations and He is not a slang word. He is being glorified. And He is drawing unto Himself, those who previously would not have paid any attention to Him.
But Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse is only the beginning. We want to engage our community to the next level. We want to involve them in other areas. Encourage them to be creative. We want to be influential to our youth, to teach, to serve and to love. And, we have the space and the know how to do it.
Martin Johnson (Founder/Director of DTM) - Marty is the founder and Director of Downtown Ministries, Inc. the parent ministry of Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse and Café. He has directed the coffeehouse construction project and is engaged in the development of the remaining unused areas of the building. He is married to Martha, and has four children and three (almost four) grandchildren. Aside from hangin' at the coffeehouse, Marty enjoys time with family, gatherings with friends, gardening, history and sports.
Martha Johnson (Coffeehouse Director) - Martha began officially working for Downtown Ministries September 1, 1997 as the Office Manager. Eventually she was charged with setting up and managing Fresh Grounds counter sales. She is a teacher to her two children who are homeschooled. She facilitates Truth Project sessions and volunteers with her church's youth group. Martha loves to garden, read, play games and spend time with Marty, family and friends.
Bonnie Prugh (DTM Office Manager) - Bonnie has been our Office Manager since January 3, 2006 and does the bookkeeping including payroll and taxes. She says serving in this ministry is the "perfect fit" for her lifestyle. She is married and also helps with youth ministry at her church. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and youth, camping, theater, music, jigsaw puzzles and reading.
Benjamin Beck (Sans MOCO Art Director) - A recent graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Art, Ben Beck has joined the Downtown Ministries team. Originally looking to leave the area, God placed a desire to stay within his community, open to whatever God has in store. Ben is enjoying all that God is doing at Downtown Ministries and is looking forward to what is developing in the ministry and for the ability to take on art ministry head on in the community.
Kyle Marini (Coffeehouse Assistant Evening Manager) - Kyle has volunteered over 2000 hours as a student and has now received the honorary title of Assistant Evening Manager. Kyle is a Senior at Greenville High School and has been such a great example of what it looks like to serve.
Bill Haller (DTM Director of Ministry) - Bill is a conversationalist in the sense that he likes talking with others and naturally his favorite topic is the Lord. As Director of Ministries he meets individually with staff, volunteers, group studies and personal discipleship studies with men. He loves to read the old puritans, drive air cooled bugs and ponder theological issues.
Allison Good (Coffeehouse Volunteer Instructor) - Allison has been volunteering at the coffeehouse since just before it opened. Since she has learned the skills of working behind the counter, she really enjoys instructing new volunteers. Her favorite places to be are, of course, the coffeehouse and Alaska, enjoying God's beautiful landscapes. She likes baking, hanging out with friends and family, going to concerts, photography, and meeting new people.
Downtown Ministries is supported in many ways by the people of Greenville. Through the community's generous donations of time, sweat, money and prayer, Downtown Ministries has grown to encompass a wide range of services and outreach. We feel God has put us in a wonderful location to witness His love to our community. As we look to what the future may hold, we want to be prepared. To that end, we have created the Downtown Ministries Endowment Fund.
An endowment fund is a financial tool that many organizations use to raise money for their future work. Donations to the fund are held for the long-term. As the fund grows, a percentage of the profits are used for supporting the work of the organization. The capital itself is left intact. That means donations made now would still be creating income in ten, twenty, or thirty years.
Up to now, Downtown Ministries has relied on short-term appeals. Buying the Downtown Ministries building, refinishing the main floor, rehabbing the basement, creating the Sans MOCO studio upstairs, putting in the elevator, work on the heating and ventilation system or the roof and, most recently, purchasing the adjoining building – all of this was made possible by people who thought the work of Downtown Ministries was important. God has provided in amazing ways. We appreciate and will continue to need your contributions to handle the day-to-day business of Downtown Ministries. Those of you who support our full-time staff of missionaries are vital to the work that happens here. That will not change in the foreseeable future. The Downtown Ministries Endowment Fund will give us the freedom to plan for that future while giving you another tool as you develop a financial strategy. With the Fund in place, you can include Downtown Ministries in your planned giving. For example, you could list the Endowment Fund in your will and specify which ministry you would like the donation to support.