Purpose Church of Baton Rouge has found a new home to continue carrying out its vision of being a church "where everyone would love God, love people and live in freedom and purpose."
"We've been able to be a part of lot of outreach and helping people out," said the Rev. Chad Dinkel, who is pastor and was part of the ministry team at Healing Place Church before founding Purpose Church in 2018. "I think God has positioned us right here in the middle of Baton Rouge to really make a difference in the city, to be a part of the change this city desperately needs."
For its first two years, Purpose Church met at The Lyceum in downtown Baton Rouge with a focus on working with the homeless. After the start of the pandemic left the church without a place to meet, it was able to secure the building at 9530 Interline Ave., near Airline Highway and Interstate 12. The grand opening is set for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 31.
"It's the official putting the word out that we are open as a church, we're moving forward as a church, and our hope is to be a church home for people that don't have a home, a place for families to really connect and get involved," Dinkel said.
Grand-opening activities will include giveaways and treats, Dinkel said.
"I think it's going to be great day," he said.
Dinkel said two weeks after losing the Third Street location, a friend, R.J. McGimsey, owner of Premier South Roofing, offered a long-term lease on the 12,000-square-foot building at Interline.
"He really liked the idea of a church being there," Dinkel said. "Us being in this building was completely unrealistic. It was a complete miracle, and God used R.J. to make it possible."
Dinkel, 41, has seen God work miracles before in his own life, which was defined by troubled teen years, multiple high schools and a battle with alcohol.
"All throughout high school, I misbehaved a whole lot," he said. "I didn't just have a problem with alcohol, I was just a knucklehead. I didn't take anything serious, and the fact that God was able to still give me a purpose still blows my mind."
Dinkel's behavior started to change after getting involved in church, but his struggle with alcohol persisted.
Then came his breakthrough.
"God miraculously delivered me from that addiction, and I've been sober since I was 21, since 2001," he said. "I haven't had a sip of alcohol. That's really when I completely gave my heart to Jesus. I surrendered. I went all in — a complete lifestyle change."
Because of his own struggle with alcohol, Dinkel said God gave him a heart and a ministry for those with similar struggles with substance abuse.
"I realized it was a true passion of mine to reach the addicted and be that person that believed in them and encouraged them and that turn into ministry at Healing Place," he said.
Dinkel spent about 23 years at Healing Place, eventually leading the addiction ministry.
"(Healing Place) gave me the opportunity to lead and learn. That's where I learned everything," said Dinkel, who also attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Bible college.
Dinkel also worked for many years at his father's home inspection company.
"It was something I was really good at," he said. "I enjoyed it, and it was lucrative, but it wasn't satisfying or what I think God called me to do. … I just believed I was called to ministry."
In 2015, Dinkel founded Restoring Purpose Ministries, a nonprofit organization working with men and women struggling with addiction and veterans having trouble adapting to civilian life. Restoring Purpose also operates four transitional living homes for men and a home for women.
"We walk families in that process of intervention and selecting a rehab, getting them into rehab … Even with the struggles of the pandemic, we've helped over 75 people get into rehab in 2020," he said.
The ministries assisted 150 people each of the previous two years, Dinkel said.
"I think it's incredible that someone could actually go from that destructive lifestyle to living a life of purpose," he said. "They've counted themselves out, but God is able to completely redeem their lives."
Restoring Ministries gave Dinkel an impetus to launch Purpose Church.
"The way God ordered it was perfect," he said.
Purpose Church was a test of faith for Dinkel and his wife, Angel, who gave up her job as a speech pathologist in the public school system to help run the church.
"With the church, with the work and operation of the church, we really felt truly that she needed to step out on faith and help the church full time," Dinkel said. "We lead this church together, and she's a natural part of our success. I'm more of a visionary, and she's organized. I'm no good without her."
Purpose Church strives to be a church that places a priority on family.
"We are so big on church family," he said. "We're very big on the concept of you can belong before you believe. It's a very welcoming church. We have a church family that just has a heart for people … We have a dedicated group that wants to be a part of truly reaching this city for Christ."
For information on Purpose Church, call (225) 320-8070 or visit purposechurchla.com.