“We have fallen in love with Mobile and want to partner with what is working. It’s not about the four walls or being here on Sunday. Church happens Monday through Saturday and Sunday when you aren’t here. Evangelism isn’t hard, it is just loving people. It is the simple, small acts of kindness with no strings attached. How can we fit in and be a mission in the heart of the city? Our city officials don’t have all of the answers, we all have to find ways to help.”
“We had been part of two other church plants. We felt the Lord was calling Neal to lead his own ministry. We looked in West Mobile but the Lord kept closing doors. We were raised in Mobile, but never went downtown. Our daughter started working at Urban Emporium and we started coming down here a little bit. Two years ago we would have never believed we would be living in downtown Mobile. Now we live in an apartment above a restaurant and take our dog walking at Cooper Riverside Park. This is our home and these are our neighbors.”
“I am a production supervisor for a fiberglass company and Pam is an office manager for a financial advisor. We have been serving in ministry about 20 years.
Our first event we came to downtown was the pole vaulting contest. As we were leaving, I looked back and saw a young man in the middle of a vault, vertical with his feet in the air, against the backdrop of the RSA tower that was lit up. I heard God say, ‘This is where I want you.’ The image is burned in my brain. We started coming to art walk and other events and felt this is home. God turned our heart toward the city in a way we never experienced and we fell in love with downtown and the people. We walked through the streets praying and searching for where God wanted us. We had no finances, no following.
God told us to visit Downtown Fellowship Church, we were unsure, but I felt like Daddy wanted us to go. I call God Daddy. We sat on the third row and listened. The Senior Pastor was LeRoy Clark and he met us before church and loved on us. They have a praise band during worship and the drummer didn’t show up. Pastor LeRoy asked if I knew how to play drums. I looked and Pam and thought here we go When we got back into church, I started playing drums again to be in the band there. I played that Sunday and had a wonderful time. We went next door to Spot of Tea for lunch and got a message from the pastor asking us to come over and see him that afternoon because he read my Facebook posts about where God was leading us. We became involved and my daughter and I led the worship service when Pastor LeRoy was out.
Last Labor Day they decided to dissolve Downtown Fellowship and pass the assets on to Platform 85. They gave us a great lease through December 2018. We started renovating after Mardi Gras and had our first service Easter Sunday. It has been a whirlwind and there is so much we see happening here. Our services are at 1:00 p.m. right now, but we may move them to 11:00 a.m. We are also already outgrowing this building but know that God will keep showing us where we are supposed to be. There is a fire in my bones knowing God has given us a specific vision and identity.”
“Downtown Fellowship was here over 20 years and we honor their tradition and ministry to the downtown and the homeless. It is an honor that their ceiling gets to be our floor. We were youth pastors for 7 years and our hearts is for millennials. We want this building to be used by the community and to be filled with art and music because these are things God created us to do and we use those to worship him. Melissa Diegan paints during worship as God speaks to her, but she also wants to see what God says to them as she paints. That is prophetic art and we want more of those hanging on the walls. We have game night on every other Wednesday nights, the homeless come in and play with us, too.”
“The name Platform 85 comes from Nehemiah 8:5. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to build the wall. In the midst of building the wall, they built a platform. They called for Ezra to read from the Book of Law Moses. The people wept as he read because they were at home with God’s word. God said that Pam and I would build the platforms so that people can get on them and speak out through them. We love seeing people’s true identities and purpose come out. When they realize who they are it, takes my breath away. Wherever they are, we want to support them. God taught us to love, not judge. All that matters is helping them meet Jesus. Our vision statement is loving people, building connection, and building relationships.
The tattoo on my arm is an abstract view of Jesus with the crown of thorns. It’s purpose is to catch attention and start a conversation. Our is not to scare people into being saved. Our job is to plant the seed and love them. Jesus will do the rest.”