In 1978, Pastor Dr. Donald D. Ford established Second Missionary Baptist Church (SMBC), the first predominantly black church in south Kansas City, Missouri. SMBC, which now boasts a membership of more than 2,000, started with only four members and held the first worship service in the lower level of a bank. Pastor Dr. Ford is also the co-founder of four other churches, in addition to the Joel Ecclesiastical School of Preparation, a finishing and practicum institution for persons called to ministry work or in need of Bible training.
Pastor Dr. Ford and SMBC reach out to the community through Touch of Grace Ministries, an initiative that includes a sports association with basketball and softball teams, a drill team, drama guild, and adult and youth praise dancers. However, Pastor Dr. Ford’s commitment to the Kansas City community does not end with his church ministry. As a personal goal, Pastor Dr. Ford strives to give back, or “tithe,” at least 10% of his time weekly in volunteer efforts, which equates to approximately 72-75 hours per month.
The many programs and initiatives that are in place as a result of Pastor Dr. Ford’s community outreach are evidence of the depth of his passion for motivating and encouraging youth. Pastor Dr. Ford’s accomplishments include:
- Created and given leadership to the “Youth in a World of Pressure” program, which nurtures and encourages youth to reach their full potential and involves parent participation;
- Established SMBC as a Kansas City Promise site and received national recognition by America’s Promise as one of the outstanding model sites in the country;
- Engaged SMBC as a participating sponsor site for Freedom School in 2003 and again in 2004 (one of only nine sites in Greater Kansas City to be selected by the Children’s Defense Fund);
- Organized the Jackson County Family Court Image Makers ministry to provide mentoring and outreach to youth in the juvenile justice system;
- Served as former staff chaplain of Jackson County Juvenile Court;
- Mentored Ruskin High School students in the Hickman Mills School District; and
- Established the Windsteppers Track Team more than 15 years ago and, as one of only a few churches that sponsor a track team in the Junior Athletic Association Union, led the team to qualification in national competitions all 15 years.
Pastor Dr. Ford currently serves as a coach for a co-ed youth basketball team and participates with Vineyard Keepers, a youth entrepreneurial lawn care service. He continues his 26-year commitment to helping those in need, especially youth, to find solutions to problems they are facing. Numerous children have benefited from participation in Pastor Dr. Ford’s ministries and programs. He is willing to go the extra mile for those in need – preparing and serving meals, mowing lawns, reading to playgroups, coaching, counseling, visiting the elderly and shut-in – and he is always available and eager to serve his neighbors.