WHO WE ARE
Transforming Lives Together
Oliver Gospel is a community-based mission that helps those experiencing homelessness, poverty, or addiction transform their lives through physical, spiritual, and relational support so that they can lead full, healthy lives.
Through our Men's Center, Toby's Place (center for women and children), and our social enterprises, we provide holistic rehabilitation, transitional housing, and career development, always aiming for permanent housing and a solid community for each person who comes through our doors.
Our Mission is to
engage and transform lives
TOGETHER through the
power of Christ's love.
We are motivated by our faith to serve as Christ would serve.
We prioritize all people in our decisions and actions.
We are committed to loving big.
We are committed to being responsible with all that we are given.
We are dedicated to being exceptional in all that we do.
Our Statement of Faith
God, the Almighty Father, who made the heaven and earth, is One God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, is the Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was buried and rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God from where He will come to judge the living and the dead.
The Holy Spirit is present in our lives as Christians and will guide and direct us in time of need, according to the will of the Father.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, a revelation of Himself to humanity and is the instrument through which God speaks to us.
All people are born lost and separated from God, and can only be united with Him by the confession of sin and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.
Salvation is only by grace, a free gift of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus, who died for our sins. Those who receive Christ by faith have their sins forgiven and are made new creatures in Christ.
There will be a resurrection of the body and everlasting life.
Oliver Gospel has been serving the Midlands since 1888 through our Christ-centered ministries. As we seek to meet some of the physical needs of people experiencing homelessness in our city, we also impact them with the love of Christ.
1888: The BeginningIn 1888, Reverend Robert Oliver, Methodist minister and philanthropist, purchased a lot in Columbia located at the corner of Taylor and Assembly streets. His dream was to help people experience the power of Christ's love through meeting their physical, relational, and spiritual needs.
1890: The Way of FaithIn 1890, Oliver launched a printed Methodist periodical, highlighting the work of the ministry and promoting spiritual development. Sadly, after only a few years, Reverend Robert Oliver passed away.
1891: Our NameUpon Rev. Oliver's death, leadership at the mission renamed the organization after his namesake. Oliver Gospel is the oldest rescue mission in the southeast and the 6th oldest in the country.
1978: GrowthIn 1978, Oliver Gospel's Board of Directors hired its first organizational leader, which then led to hiring a full time staff, building repairs, and keeping the doors open to help those who could not help themselves.
2011: Thrift StoreOliver Gospel's first social enterprise opened in 2011. As a solely donation-based business model, the revenue from the Thrift Store goes right back into the mission. It also opened the door to develop more comprehensive career training for the men in our programs. Learn more about the Thrift Store here.
2017: Toby's PlaceNamed after Toby Cassels and built in honor of his life, Toby's Place is Oliver Gospel's transitional program for women and women with children. This addition widens the reach to serve a generally forgotten homeless population: women and children. Learn more about Toby's Place here.
2020: The RoasteryThe Roastery, a local coffee shop that roasts its own coffee beans, launched in 2020. Located right down the street from our Men's Center, our second social enterprise serves as a bridge between Oliver Gospel and our community, inviting visitors to enjoy some of the best coffee in Columbia while learning about the Mission. The Roastery's original blends are served in cafés and churches around Columbia. Shop online or learn more here.
2022: Pre-ProgramTo continue expanding our service throughout the Midlands, Oliver Gospel launched the Pre-Program for women and children at Toby's Place. Women and their children are offered a safe place to live for up to 30 days. The heart of Pre-Program is to see women come off the street into a safe environment where they can discover their next best step. Over 50% of Pre-Program guests transition into the long-term Program at Toby’s Place. Learn more about Pre-Program here.
2023: The Hope ShopWe opened our third social enterprise, The Hope Shop, as a men’s and women’s boutique offering a curated selection of high-end and vintage name brand clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories at a fraction of the retail cost! Like our coffee shop and thrift store, every dollar spent at the Hope Shop fuels the transformational programming for men and women experiencing homelessness. It also will serve as a job training site for our program residents. Learn more about The Hope Shop here.
Present Day: Our WorkToday, Oliver Gospel employs over 60 staff members and provides support to thousands of hurting neighbors each year. We provide hearty meals every day to our residents, and have the capacity to shelter more than 150 men, women, and children each night across our two ministry centers.
Looking Ahead: Moving ForwardOliver Gospel continues to fulfill its mission of engaging and transforming lives together through the power of Christ's love. We aim to continue meeting the needs of our community by expanding our capacity to serve more individuals in the Midlands: providing hope, love, and opportunity for all who come through our doors.