Led by Rev. Willie Floyd, New Beginning in Calhoun is “known for helping people” as they take their message from the sanctuary to the streets, said Floyd.
“We’re supposed to be a servant to the neighborhood, and the ministry should make a difference in the community,” he said.
According to Floyd, the church has three annual service projects in addition to a consistent street ministry.
“I believe churches should give back no matter how much money they bring in,” he said.
One of the signature events is New Beginning Ministry Fun Day, said Floyd, which the church sponsors after a week-long revival.
During the fun day, the church blocks off the street, brings in games and inflatables for the kids, various health care tests for the elderly and food – lots and lots of food – said Floyd.
“The finances here are not great, but when we can help somebody, we help somebody,” he said. “I want to be known for helping people.”
On Thanksgiving, the church brings in food, and the members pass out plates to the people in the surrounding neighborhood.
During the Christmas season, for the past three years New Beginning Ministries has bought a slew of various toys, takes out the pulpit in the sanctuary, and hands out toys to those in need.
“Anybody who needs some help can come here, but we can only give away what we have,” he said.
The church has been hands-on in the neighborhood in other ways, according to Floyd, including remodeling houses and giving away five or six cars. Floyd also visits the jail and nursing homes every week, he said.
“I thank God for the ministry he put in me and in New Beginning Ministry,” he said.
The heart of the church is not concerned with membership, said Floyd, but revolves around witnessing to those in need and serving where they can.
“We’re just believing in doing the neighborhood thing,” he said. “...I don’t send my members out there by themselves, I go out there with them.”
According to Floyd, his personal mantra and the mission of the church is to “reach the lost at any cost,” he said, “that’s what I’m into.”
History of the ministry
Rev. Floyd came to Calhoun in December of 1999 to test the waters for starting a Church of God in Christ in Calhoun, he said. In January of 2000, New Beginning Ministry held its first Bible study with seven people. By February, the study had grown to more than 30 people, said Floyd, and the church began.
“We didn’t have anywhere to start,” he said.
The congregation contacted The Mission in Calhoun and used their facility on Sunday morning for service and Thursday nights for Bible study. The church used that building for four months, according to Floyd, before they moved to a building on South Wall Street where they remained for two years.
The church was able to buy its current location on Pine Street in 2005. Acquiring the building was no walk in the park, according to Floyd. The building was originally a doctors office, he said, but was being auctioned off.
“We got permission to come in, and we prayed here,” he said.
The church was unable to purchase the building, however, and it was auctioned to another buyer. The building went up for auction again shortly thereafter, according to Floyd, and through the kindness of a local businessman, the church was able to buy the building and remodel it.
The church did some minor remodeling, according to Floyd, by filling in the sunken garage to make a pulpit and a baptism pool, and installing new light fixtures.
“One reason I liked the area was because of the apartments (nearby), (there are a) lot of kids out there, and you can do a lot of ministry out in the apartments,” he said. “... God just kept blessing, and we fell on some good times here.”
A family of service
Floyd and his wife Sheila have eight children, five boys and three girls, ranging in age from 22 to 40. According to Floyd, his children are an active part of his ministry in Calhoun. His youngest son, Johne plays the organ and two of his daughters, Indya and Ivy, are on the praise team.
Although he has been a pastor in Calhoun for the past 10 years, Floyd still lives in Atlanta and makes the 178 mile-drive several days a week, he said.
Prior to pastoring New Beginning Ministries, Floyd was a firefighter in Atlanta where he won several awards including the Samaritan Award for saving a life, he said. He retired from the department in 1992.
His wife is a retired high school teacher and currently serves as a teacher and consultant at Andrew Young in Atlanta. She is currently working toward her doctorate, according to Floyd.
Floyd attended seminary at Beulah Heights University in Atlanta.
Floyd has always had a passion to serve in the neighborhood, he said.
“My hobby is helping people,” he said.
When his children were younger, he volunteered the basketball, baseball, softball and football team when the park in the area closed.
“The kids didn’t have anything to do,” he said. “...for a little while I was coaching all of them by myself.”
In addition to feeding into the lives of youth in his community, Floyd would return to the neighborhood that he was raised and bring food to those in need.
“So I just brought that with me,” he said of coming to Calhoun.
Floyd’s original plan was to begin a church in Atlanta, however, his bishop requested he come to Calhoun to help start a church here first, he said. Ten years later, he is still ministering in Calhoun.
“My plan was to come here, train a minister, and I got stuck here. It’s a good stuck,” he said. “... I love Calhoun. It’s a nice place to be.”
Floyd also makes sure to get to know the community outside of his church walls. He regularly attends local football and basketball games, he said.
“Membership is good, but I’m more concerned about ministering to people,” he said. “I’m into getting the word out and helping where I can.”