501 Life Magazine | Restoration Center: Ministry offers facility for special events
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Restoration Center: Ministry offers facility for special events

by Sonja J. Keith
Mike Kemp photo

Groups or businesses looking for a venue to host a party or meeting now have a new option – the Restoration Center at Renewal Ranch.

Located in Perry County, about 15 minutes from Conway, Renewal Ranch is a faith-based addiction recovery program for men.

According to James Loy, executive director of the Ranch, the Restoration Center was designed to meet four major needs on campus. Previously, the ministry had to host Saturday chapel services off-site. He said the new chapel in the center accommodates 200 to 300 who attend the 10 a.m. service on Saturdays, which also is a time for family visits and men can apply for the program.

The center also features a commercial kitchen that is used for daily and special event dining. “We had been feeding 36 men on a four-burner stove for the last several years,” he said. The kitchen, designed with the help of noted chef Don Bingham and restaurant owner David Stobaugh, can also be used to cater events at the center. Tables, chairs and dinnerware have also been purchased.

The 4,560-square-foot chapel area at the Renewal Ranch Restoration Center is multi-purpose and can accommodate around 300 for a sit-down meal and about 500 with just chairs in the space.

“It’s exciting that the public can utilize this facility,” James said, noting the scenic beauty of the 102-acre property.

The third need addressed by the center is additional teaching space, which is partially complete. “It needs insulation, Sheetrock, taping, mudding and painting and it will be ready.” 

The fourth area, which is not complete, is the addition of 22 more beds to serve more men at the Ranch. “We will be able to help so many more men and their families. That’s so important because the volume of the applicants that we have.” James said the Ranch received more than 400 applications for the 31 beds it has currently. “We are just overwhelmed with the needs that are out there,” he said, adding that addiction is at epidemic proportions. “We’ve seen a spike in opioid and heroin addictions and of course methamphetamine.”

Eventually, the center will also house some offices for the ministry.

The Ranch hosted its first event, which was sold out, in the Restoration Center last December. “We worked up until the day before the event with Mike Huckabee,” James said. “That was the first official event and the grand opening of the facility.” 

A $1.75 million project, about $250,000 for electrical and heating/air units is needed to complete the building. James said with an additional $180,000, the parking lot and road into the ranch would be paved. He expressed his appreciation to individuals, groups and businesses for their donations, making the center possible. “That’s how this place exists. It exists by the spirit of the Lord speaking to God’s people and them responding and recognizing God’s work out here.”

The ministry, which is a non-profit organization, does not charge the men or families that are served. “We are always looking for creative ways to provide streams of income and utilize the resources God has blessed us with,” James said, adding that the center is available to be rented for special events. “The key to everything we do is this all belongs to the Lord. We are just stewards of what he blesses us with.”

Bryce McGhee, marketing and development coordinator at the Ranch, has a background in hospitality and will be overseeing outside events at the Restoration Center. The facility has already been the site for several special events hosted by the Ranch and two wedding receptions. In addition, the center has been booked for a small Christmas party and a women’s conference in March.

According to Bryce, the space is ideal for small gatherings as well as larger events. Catering will be provided by the trained staff at the Ranch or Jill McCollum Catering. In addition, the Ranch can handle other arrangements for events, including decorations. The men at the Ranch are available to serve the food and are also involved in the setup and tearing down.

“We can do it all,” said Bryce.

The 4,560-square-foot chapel area is multi-purpose and can accommodate around 300 for a sit-down meal and about 500 with just chairs in the space. There is audio-visual equipment and three screens for presentations. Events in the chapel can also be livestreamed to the entrance area and neighboring classroom. Bryce pointed out that at other venues, a sound system typically has to be brought in.

The chapel also has a baby grand piano, a recent gift from Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Conway.

James said the chapel area is bigger than most church fellowship halls and may meet a need in the community. Bryce added that he would like to see other non-profits host events at the Ranch, providing an opportunity for collaboration, and businesses will utilize the space for meetings or one-day conferences. 

A smaller space off the chapel can accommodate groups of 50 to 80, with access to the sound and audio-visual system.

Rates have been created for churches, non-profit groups and businesses. Alcohol will not be permitted. To contact Bryce for more information about reserving the center or to make a reservation, call 501.733.4263 or email Marketing@RenewalRanch.Net.

Bryce points out that money generated by outside events at the Ranch will go back into the ministry, providing resources to help more men battling addiction.

“It is making a difference in the men, their families, their children,” James said of the ministry. “We want to take a stand together against addiction and how it is ripping across the fabric of our communities and our families. The needs are overwhelming. It’s just having resources to meet them at their need. That takes finances. It’s more like an investment that is bearing fruit.”