Fellowship Deliverance Ministries continues to serve the LaGrange community for nearly 30 years

Published 9:02 am Saturday, December 9, 2023

Local housing facility, Fellowship Deliverance Ministries (FDM) is helping men in the community get back on their feet one plate at a time.

With nearly 30 years of dedicated service, FDM has become a staple in the community,  providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and even employment opportunities.

Pastor Max Riley, creator of New Direction Ministries, started FDM in 1996 after facing the struggles of addiction himself for over three decades. After rehabilitation, Riley used his passion for others and began creating local ministries in the community. 

“From the very beginning, he impacted my life,” Jeffery Flowers, a close friend of Riley said. “He’s been a mentor, a good friend, and he’s always been an awesome man of God.”

Starting off with renting a 4-bed-room house, Riley began inviting people from the community to stay and get back on their feet. Many residents who visited dealt with substance abuse, financial issues, incarceration, and other hardships preventing them from surviving on their own.

“When it comes to helping people, I don’t see the brokenness, I see the opportunity for wellness,” Riley said. “I see the effects of just showing some love and what comes from planting a seed of kindness.”

As Riley took on more residents, his ministry began to outgrow the rented house. In an effort to find a new building to facilitate all the incoming residents, Riley scoured the area for vacancies until he found an old slaughterhouse for sale. 

When Riley inquired about buying and remodeling the building for his ministry, the seller graciously offered to supply the tools and materials needed to renovate the facility into a fully functioning shelter, able to house over 40 residents.

After two years of renovations, Riley opened his new shelter, welcoming men not only from the local community but from across the country as well. 

“It was like a lifesaver for me,” Wade Coleman, a resident and receptionist of the FDM facility, said. “I had somewhere to shower, lay down, and eat.”

In addition to feeding residents who stay in the facility, Riley also distributes meals to anyone in the community in need of food by serving plates in the evenings. Weekly, Riley distributes over 800 plates of food to the public, helping to eliminate hunger throughout the city.

FDM also facilitates employment opportunities for residents, teaching them soft skills and training them to retain jobs. Over the years, FDM has produced ministers and paralegals, along with several other career fields. 

“Some of these guys have never filled out a job application, so we have to be very careful and patient with them to help them succeed in the job market,” Coleman said.

Riley hopes to expand his ministry by collaborating with other community organizations. 

“I would like to see this place turn into a center for healing,” Riley said. “I want to work with Christian counselors, medical professionals and more members of the community to further the direction of this ministry.”