Where do men go after they have burned all their bridges? When addictions, incarceration, and lifetimes of bad choices have closed all the doors that once were open to them? When no one—no family member, no good friend from the past—is willing to take a chance with them? When these men are at the end of the road? If that road brings them to Nashville and if they are serious about wanting to change their lives, they have an option: Welcome Home Ministries will give them the opportunity to create new lives, learn new skills, rejoin the workforce, develop inner strength, and participate in community. Those opportunities and Welcome Home Ministries are the result of one man’s dream and the support of others who believed in him and his dream.
For Daryl Murray ’85, founder of Welcome Home Ministries, starting a ministry to help men who were at the bottom of life was a dream born of his own mission experiences: his mission trip to New York City with the youth group from his home church, University Boulevard Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, Florida, when he was a teen; then later during college, the mission trip to Haiti, led by Trevecca professor Jim Quiggins ’71; Daryl’s summer internship at the Lamb’s Club Church of the Nazarene in New York City; and his year working as a “street minister” in New York City, a year of feeding and serving the “down and out” of that metropolis.
After marrying Glenda Miller ’86*, Daryl served another year in ministry in New York City and then was youth pastor for the Hendersonville (Tennessee) Church of the Nazarene, but he dreamed about helping men get off the streets. He went to work for East Nashville Cooperative Ministries (ENCM) and Right Turns; both served the less fortunate.
During this time Daryl met Randall Phillips, owner of Phillips Builders, who offered him the use of some apartments to house men who had graduated from recovery programs, but Daryl knew that a better place to live would not solve these men’s problems. He knew they needed training in spiritual formation, in the spiritual principles behind the twelve-step programs they attended, for living in community with others like them, and for seeing God and his work in their lives. His dream about starting a ministry for men was taking shape, and that dream seemed to be the fulfillment of God’s claim on his own life.
Daryl presented his dream to four friends—Tim Green, Daryl’s predecessor as youth pastor and Trevecca’s chaplain and religion professor; Dave Clark, a friend from church; and Trevecca classmates Danny Eaton ’85 and Kent Hughes ’85. Sharing his dream with good friends Danny and Kent was important to Daryl.
“Danny, Kent, Kathy Lewis ’85, Melanie Clark ’85, and I had sensed God’s claim on our lives during a revival at Trevecca with evangelist Bob Hoots ’88, and back then we had talked about what that claim would mean for our futures,” Daryl explained. “That revival deeply affected us. We said that someday we are going to do something for God.”
Tim, Dave, Danny and Kent caught Daryl’s dream and encouraged him, and Welcome Home Ministries (WHM) was formed in 1992. After meeting resistance from neighbors when WHM moved men into a rental house, WHM’s board of directors decided that the organization needed to own a house in which the men could live. The next day Randall Phillips called Daryl and asked, “What are you doing?” When Daryl told him what board members had decided and that they were going to ask five men to give $5,000 each to purchase a house, Phillips responded, “I’ll give you the first $5,000—and I’ll match donations to $50,000.”
Phillips’ generous support enabled the organization to purchase its first house in East Nashville in 1998, and today WHM owns a total of five houses, most of which were renovated by the men in WHM. The men first move into one of three “transitional” homes; each has nine beds, and one houses only veterans. When they meet their goals and progress for six months, the men can “graduate” into an apartment in the quadplex—if they pass the interview process conducted by the residents of that building.
Phillips’ belief in the mission of WHM enabled the organization to develop a program for helping the men it serves. Coming to WHM primarily from drug treatment centers, the men must make a six-month commitment to get a job, cooperate with a sponsor, pay rent, and attend five meetings each week (AA, NA, or other twelve-step programs, Bible studies, and two in-house meetings weekly). WHM provides them with a membership to the YMCA, Internet access, and clothing, and it encourages them to go to church. WHM puts 35% of the men’s weekly rent ($120) into a savings account for each of them, and when men graduate from the program, WHM returns those savings to the men—to purchase a car, make a deposit on an apartment, or pay child support or bills.
While noting that relapses are common, Daryl also points to success stories: “George, who says he was the ‘town drunk,’ ate out of dumpsters and had a rap book with the police, but he has been with WHM for ten years and now works with men who are like he was.”
Daryl’s fulfilled his dream with others who have supported WHM throughout its twenty-year history. Glenda has worked alongside Daryl, providing management and bookkeeping services for WHM. Others have supported with prayer, by being sponsors, by serving on its board of directors, and with finances.
In 2012, the Center for Nonprofit Management named Daryl its Nonprofit CEO of the Year, and the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and Other Addiction Services gave Daryl its Volunteer of the Year Award. Awards are nice, says Daryl, but he has other dreams to accomplish: “My dream is for WHM to pay off all its properties. God has put wonderful opportunities in our laps, and they are not the result of our efforts. But the need is great. We turn away men every day.” Daryl’s dream has not ended.
*Daryl and Glenda have three children—Alexandra (21), Dylan (18), and Anastasia (14). Dylan will enter Trevecca in the fall.