Meridzo Center founder Lonnie Riley once quoted the old saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; but, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." only to make the point that you can't teach anyone to fish where there is no pond. The vision given to this arm of Meridzo Center ministries is three-fold.
1) God is using the development corporation as "the pond" we use to provide new businesses, job opportunities, and job skills development to our mission field in an effort to bring glory and praise to God by providing the means for people to better themselves. (Helping Others)
2) In addition, we are seeing what we call "ripples" emanating from the lines cast here as other business ministries from all over the country seek us out to help them develop opportunities where they are; fruit of His ministry. (Helping Others)
3) As God brings these opportunities and helps others, our ultimate goal is to see lives changed for Him. We hope to do this by both by being and creating "fishers of men", leaving an indelible wake in the waters to which He called us. (Sharing Jesus)
The Pond ministry, as it was renamed in 2022, operating under the Meridzo Center Development Corporation, is the business outreach and economic redevelopment arm of Meridzo Center, Inc. With Meridzo Center’s simple mission statement of “Helping People and Sharing Jesus”, one of the obvious needs in this former coal mining community that God has inspired us to help meet in His name is that of basic job skills, and job or small business-related opportunities.
God has used The Pond to provide more than fifty part-time and seasonal jobs to area residents, high school students, and K-TAP and college work study participants. We have also been blessed to have seasonal interns spend time with us learning from us, and helping us grow us as we minster alongside them.
Joel 2:25 says that the Lord will restore the years that the locust has stolen (paraphrase). Addiction to drugs and alcohol have become a modern plague in our community. We are excited that God has been using The Pond to help participants of Meridzo's Celebrate Recovery program restore the years they have lost by offering them the second chance that might not otherwise be available.
At the same time, we have been given the opportunity to share our faith with those we encounter while doing business. In addition to providing jobs our business ministries host Bible studies; sponsor local events such as parades and concerts; help distribute needed items to the community; share our faith and the town’s history with visitors; and, two of our businesses have even had regulars come to us independently seeking baptism as a result of the ministry they received at our “businesses”.
Since 2014 the Meridzo Center Development Corporation has opened Lamp House Coffee (cafe and wholesale coffees), the Black Mountain Exchange (gas station/convenience store), and helped launch the Meridzo Agribusiness Center (agricultural development using re-purposed mine buildings and land). The newest venture is the Sycamore Woodshop.
Other business ministries God used for a season include the Looney Creek Escape Room, Faithfully Fit Gym, and management of Greater Vision's property rentals.
Meridzo Center Development Corporation
Eric & Sissy Rutherford, Co-Directors
202 Church Street, PO Box 668
Lynch, KY 40855