Pastor Paul Palmer and his wife Patty Palmer, founders of the Atlanta Dream Center, were visiting their son and his family in Georgia when the vision to start a church in the heart of downtown Atlanta began. While they were driving around and enjoying the sights of Atlanta, Patty noticed a homeless man sleeping on the front steps of a church building. However, bars to keep out unwanted guests surrounded the church. Patty recalls, “I knew then that we needed to come to Atlanta to start a Dream Center.”
Therefore, in 2003, Paul and Patty Palmer, along with eight of their eleven children and new daughter-in-law, traveled all the way from California to Atlanta in the summer of 2003. The Palmers began the Dream Center in a crowded recreational center, mowing lawns for their neighbors and taking the love of Jesus to the community.
Currently, the home of the Atlanta Dream Center is located in the Old Fourth Ward in what used to be a warehouse building. Everyone is welcome here, and Pastor Paul and Patty greet visitors, including former drug addicts and prostitutes, with a warm embrace. What sets the Atlanta Dream Center apart is not only the acceptance and love for people, but also their outreach in the community.
For example, the Palmers and volunteers from all across metro Atlanta disperse throughout the city picking up trash and bringing food and the gospel to residents early on Saturday mornings. Adopt-a-Block is one of the ministries of the Atlanta Dream Center devoted to serving the community by acts of service like furnishing the apartment for a single mom or picking up a prescription for an elderly neighbor.
In the past month, through the ministry of Adopt-a-Block, volunteers lent a helping hand and the hope of the gospel by knocking on an estimated 881 doors and hand-delivering 104 Bibles.
In addition, the Atlanta Dream Center is also serving the community through the ministry Out of Darkness, which reaches out to victims of sex trafficking. Every Friday night, a small group ministers to those trapped in the sex industry in Atlanta by giving roses and a handwritten card, as well as a hotline number to escape. So far this year, Out of Darkness has rescued 226 women.
Vickey is an example of one of the women on the streets who was selling herself to get her fill of crack. Paul and volunteers reached out to Vickey to help her, but she only came to the Dream Center to get clothes and other needs met. However, when Vickey got beat up one night, she went to the Dream Center for help. A young woman from the Dream Center cleaned up Vickey’s wounds and stayed with her all night, comforting her and praying over her.
The next morning Vickey tells Paul that no one has ever loved her before and brings him her crack pipe, her torch, and her condoms, and she never went back out again. Vickey has been clean and off the streets for over eight years now.
Moreover, the Atlanta Dream Center believes the way to begin mending broken men and women is to start with the youth. Their Metro Kidz ministry sets up a sidewalk Sunday school program with a Bible message and games throughout the week for children living in government housing. Additionally, Metro Kidz volunteers offer to tutor children who have behavioral problems or those exposed to violence and drug abuse, free of charge. However, more than only tutoring the children, they are reaching them with the love of Jesus.
The Atlanta Dream Center is not only a church, but also represents the hands and feet of Jesus by reaching out to the brokenhearted and offering hope to the hopeless. Paul’s eyes light up when he talks about the impact of the Dream Center in the community. “Our call is to reach, rescue, and restore men, women, and children,” he says. And the Palmers, along with their family and numerous volunteers, are doing just that.
For more information, visit https://www.atldreamcenter.com/
During Princess Night, volunteers hand out roses to victims of sex trafficking.
A Metro Kidz volunteer loves on children in the inner city.