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Men’s and outreach minister finds he receives when he gives

Randy Sylvia, who grew up in Davenport, said he lived a “precarious” life until he entered recovery in 1985 and was saved at Life Center in 1988. 

That started him on the pathway to opening doors for others to heal and serve.  In 1990, he started Christ-centered recovery at Life Center.  He helped in that ministry and volunteered in other lay ministries until 2003, when he was hired as men’s outreach and recovery pastor.  His wife has been on the staff for 11 years.

Randy Silvia
Randy Silvia of Life Center

As men’s pastor, he helps men “become wholehearted followers of Christ and develops leaders by identifying men with the capacity to develop other leaders.”

Randy said Life Center’s recovery ministry includes Final Freedom for men struggling with sexual addiction; Lifeline for their wives; Steps of Life, a Christ-centered 12-step program for persons struggling with addictions; Celebrate Recovery small groups; DivorceCare for people healing from separation or divorce; Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services (ARMS) for people experiencing domestic violence, and the GriefShare support group. These groups meet at the church and serve community people.

Randy coordinates efforts of members to recruit volunteers for Life Center’s Community Impact Ministries.

Members can sign up on cards at church or online to volunteer with such programs as: Christ Clinic, Friend to Friend, Habitat for Humanity, Life Services, the Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, Anna Ogden Hall, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Truth Ministry, New Hope Ranch, and Off Broadway.  They can also sign up for Life Center’s Help Fix-It Ministry, a “One Day” community project or evangelism.

“We develop leaders to oversee volunteers for these ministries so the burden does not fall on one person,” Randy said.

Along with assisting at the Salvation Army food bank, Life Center raised $20,000 in 2007 for Tom’s Turkey Drive with Second Harvest.  The church also helped distribute 200 turkey dinners to people they knew were in need.

These outreach ministries, he said, are “simply doing what Christ said we were supposed to do:  feed the hungry, care for the poor, and visit people who are sick or in jail.

“Most people have it backwards.  They think believing in Jesus is about what you receive rather than about what you give,” Randy said.  “I find that I receive more when I give.”

He seeks to spread his experience by inviting people in the church to go into the community to serve, so “we make a difference.  We honor God by helping people become whole-hearted followers of Christ through service and evangelism.”

When people serve people in need, their service builds relationships that open doors for people to ask questions, which naturally lead to sharing faith, he said.

“We want to build relationships, trust and respect,” he said.

“A person does not need to be special to do ministry.  One just needs to be willing,” Randy said.  “Through service people grow in faith. “It makes a difference in our lives when we give of our lives.  We can’t out-give God.  When we give, God gives back.”

Randy sees transformed attitudes in people who give.

“I was saved through 12-step recovery.  Being saved, I have done many ministries over the years.  Now helping others do direct service, I hope to multiply what I do,” he said.

He believes the cycle in church life is to come and be fed spiritually and then to go out and minister to others.

Given that people are in varied places in their spiritual journeys, the church offers ways to be involved in the church with child care, ushering, greeting, parking lot security, student ministry, worship and performing arts, life groups, adult classes, youth groups and more.

“We offer many small groups as a way to bring people into relationship with God, build friendships and grow spiritually,” Randy said.  “It takes time to spread the vision that people need both to be served and to serve.”

For information, call 327-4422 or email