By CLINT FOSTER
For the past 10 months, Venue 2:17 has provided the message of Jesus Christ to over 3,000 local teenagers in a safe, positive environment in downtown Mineral Wells. But the Christian teen ministry needs more money to keep bringing the Gospel to kids on Friday and Saturday nights.
Enter Soul Ties, a re-sale shop for name-brand teen clothing opening today by Venue 2:17 founder Brenda Stewart. The store will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and sell new and used clothing from popular brands such as Hurley, DC, Abercrombie and Fitch, Vans, Fox, Hollister, American Eagle and Aeropostale. All proceeds from the store will benefit Stewart's ministry.
"I wasn't planning on starting a resale shop for teenagers," Stewart said. "I wanted to teach them you have to rely on God to come up with a way to make it. Something can come out of nothing if they just have hope and rely on God. They've got to see me do it and I've got to come through it in order to minister to them. They know I have no money, they know I have no job, they know I have no education. But they know I love the Lord with all my heart. I know it's going to work, because it's God."
Stewart referenced Psalm 1, which essentially says if a person ardently loves and follows the Lord, whatever they do will prosper. That is Stewart's hope for the store and Venue 2:17.
Stewart said all of the clothes currently in the store have been purchased out of her own pocket. In order to keep the store running and offer better prices, she will need lots of donations from the community. She said she welcomes donations of any name-brand, teen clothing.
Although she currently only has clothes, she said she would also welcome donations of anything from cell phones and video game consoles to bicycles and other sporting equipment. Anything that would appeal to teenagers.
Stewart said the other positive aspect of the store, unlike other forms of fundraising, is it still gives her the opportunity to continue to share God's Word outside of Venue 2:17 club meetings.
"I don't have a business plan, I'm just trying to show them Jesus," she said. "I'm there to give them hope because God has a plan and purpose for them. Everything I do is spirit-led. He knows the plan."
Stewart said her ultimate goal would be to raise enough money to take some of the less fortunate kids who attend her ministry to a place like Six Flags. She hopes if the store is successful enough to cover the ministry's bills there will be some money left over to save for such a trip.
To visit Soul Ties or drop off donations, visit their Venue 2:17 building at 202 SE 1st Ave.