At age 16, Matthew Barnett dreamed of a church that would be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year serving the inner-city’s physical and spiritual needs and bringing a message of hope to the hopeless. In 1994 at the age of 20, he moved from Phoenix to Los Angeles to pastor a small church of 18 people.
One night, God woke him from his sleep and told him to walk to Echo Park. There, he was surrounded by crime, gangs, prostitutes, and the many homeless who made the park their home. It was then he heard God say, "I did not bring you here to build a great church but to build people-these people. You build the people. I’ll build the church. I don’t ever want you to think about success again. Think about being a blessing. Success is obedience to your calling. I have called you to bless people. Love them. Heal them. Help them. Serve them."
He started an outreach ministry to the people in the neighborhood and started to change lives. Seven years later an old 400,000 sq. ft. hospital with 9 buildings, only a few blocks from Echo Park, was put on the market for $10 million. He bought it for $3.5 million. Today, it’s a 24-hour hospital and sanctuary, providing free help, counseling, food, clothing and medical services to those in need. Thousands of people who were addicted, abused, prostituted, abandoned, and disabled have been helped through their more than 200 need-based ministries, reaching 50,000 people each week in Los Angeles alone. The name of this ministry? The Dream Center.
But it didn’t stop there. Currently, there are over 85 dream centers established throughout the world based on Matthew Barnett’s dream.
And then he writes, "God birthed a cause in me that has not only transformed my life over these years but millions have been reached as a result. God has called us all for a great cause that he wants us to embrace...to make a positive impact on others. If you live for a cause greater than yourself, you will live a life of peace, joy, passion, and lasting meaning."
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