Conceived initially by the people of Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene (formerly known as the Bellows Avenue Church of the Nazarene), Lower Lights Ministries was officially incorporated in 1991 by Pastors Dave and Kathleen Jane Fulks as a Nazarene Compassionate Ministry Center. The organization was established as a response to the overwhelming needs of the Franklinton neighborhood in west Columbus.

From 1991 to 2001, Lower Lights Ministries focused on service to women and children, particularly single mothers and domestic violence victims in Franklinton. Food, clothing, and personal care pantries were created to help provide basic necessities to underprivileged families. Recovery programs, including multiple Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were implemented to support people battling substance abuse in their lives.


lower lights church history

Early in 2002, Rachel's House was born to address the growing need for prisoner-reentry support in Franklinton. Lower Lights Ministries observed a disturbing trend among our neighbors: many of the women were caught in the cycle of crime, drugs and prostitution, thus leading them to prison and away from their role as effective leaders in their homes and community.

Building on the success of Rachel’s House, Lower Lights Ministries initiated family mentoring (Project AIM) in 2006, to enable families to set and achieve their personal goals, recognizing that highly relational mentoring and case management are critical for low-income families to break the cycle of poverty. In 2007, Lower Lights Ministries initiated Light the Way Home to provide supportive, temporary housing for low-income families pursuing homeownership.

Traditionally, Lower Lights Ministries has ministered to the needs of children. To achieve this, monthly events were held for Franklinton children that introduce them to the faith community while providing healthy and fun recreation. From these one time events, Lower Lights Ministries began Bright Lights Summer Day Camp in 2006. One-to-One Mentoring, a weekly program was adopted in 2011 and Bright Lights Tutoring was added in 2013.

Lower Lights Ministries is committed to serving the physical and material needs of families. From 2000-2008, Lower Lights Ministries partnered with the Friends Ministry to provide healthy meals and fellowship every Saturday night for local and homeless individuals and families. Today, in partnership with Lower Lights Community Church, Lower Lights Ministries manages the Franklinton Family Meal, a Saturday evening meal for Franklinton families with children.

In 2011, David Gay resigned as Executive Director and Pastor Jan Ruark became Chief Executive Officer. As LLM's third decade began, a focus on family-strengthening and leadership development emerged. This focus enhanced the holistic nature of LLM programming.

Finally, in 2014, the Holistic Leadership Center at 1067 Sullivant Avenue opened to house these various services and engage the neighborhood in multiple leadership development opportunities.