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June 7, 2014

Ministries group will hold prayer walk June 14

TIFTON — Community Outreach Ministries will hold a community-wide prayer walk at 9 a.m. June 14, beginning at Dayspring Church, located at 620 MLK Drive. The public is encouraged to come out and participate.

Community Outreach Ministries is a ministry in work, says organizer Minister Ricky Johnson. He said God gave him a vision to start the ministry. Saturday will be the second time having the prayer walk. Johnson said the first one was held in April, which began at his home church, Strickland Temple Church of God in Christ on South Central Avenue. He said there was a great turnout. Local preachers, women evangelists and other participants prayed and sang as they walked.

Johnson said he wanted to do the walk as a part of his up and coming ministry following the recent shootings in Tifton. Also, as a minister, he knows a lot of people in the community and deals with the youth.

His thought was: "We need to do something." He said he kept praying about the walk and when he put it on Facebook, he got a positive response from people.

"There are other people who want to come together," he said, noting when he got the go ahead to meet up at his church, he ran with the idea.

"You have to go outside of the church building where the problems are at," Johnson said. "God said go in the highways and byways. We have to go out where these people are at."

He's expecting Saturday's walk to be bigger than the first walk. He said he's hoping to expand the walk, not just on the south side, by linking up with all local pastors.

"God wants everybody to live right," Johnson said, noting community outreach means "everyone."

He said God called him to preach at a young age, and he's now been preaching for a year and a half. However, Johnson, whose street name was "Slick Rick," went through a lot, running away from God's calling. He then came to the decision that he wasn't running anymore. He said for years he was trying to be something that he didn't know. He said so many things can happen to young kids as a result of trying to be cool to their peers, because they don't know their worth. Johnson is teaching his 13-year-old son that he doesn't have to get involved in any foolishness.

His plans for Community Outreach Ministries is to go out and do different things in the community.

"That's what my Bible told me to do," he said. "We're not doing this for fashion or fame."

Also, as a part of his ministry, Johnson wants to host a "Church in the Park" event in September, which was held last year at Fulwood Park, as well as have group discussions where people can come together to talk and tell different testimonies.

"You have to know about each other if you're going to build up a team around each other," he said.

He aspires to have one of the biggest men ministry in Tifton.

"If you get men in the church, get saved and live right, the church will get back in order, because that's where it starts, with that man," he said, noting that his vision is to have a church where everyone can come to praise and worship.

"You have to have pastorship in your heart," Johnson said.

Local man Rodney King, who participated in the first walk, said they hope to put God back in the community. He said he doesn't have a high school diploma and came out of the streets, but he's working and has never sold drugs. He said they're trying to let people know that just because they messed up in their past, that doesn't have to be their future.

"God needs his world back," King said.

"God is calling now for the extraordinary," Johnson said. "You have to go do more. You have to sacrifice more time, more this, just to be able to labor and serve people, because that's what I am — a servant."

For more information on the walk, contact Johnson at 300-3537.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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