Arguably one of the most respected modern-day entrepreneurs is Elon Musk. With no less than nine start-up companies under his belt, including SpaceX, Tesla and PayPal, Musk has some interesting perspectives on entrepreneurship. “My motivation for all my companies has been to be involved in something I thought would have a significant impact on the world.” In a different interview, Musk adds, “People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.”
On a smaller scale, but not unlike Elon Musk, many Saline County entrepreneurs founded and actively manage more than one business or non-profit organization, and odds are the same factors drive their success: make a difference and pursue your passion. No other ventures exemplify these ideals better than Saline County’s Family Church Bryant (FCB) and its affiliates, Second Chance Youth Ranch (2CYR) and Arkansas Christian Academy. The “3-in-1” founder and leader of these organizations is Pastor Perry Black.
Pastor Black, 69, was born in Malden, Missouri. He grew up in Jonesboro but moved to Little Rock in 1966 and later Bryant in 1986. Black committed his life to the Lord in 1972 and was soon called to preach. In 1990, the Lord led Black to plant Family Church Bryant. The first meeting space was a small, storefront-style building near Interstate 30. Around 100 people attended that first service.
The church has continued to grow and prosper, and currently has 750 active members and “1,000-1,100 on Easter annually,” says Black. FCB’s campus includes 6 buildings and serves as host to Arkansas Christian Academy (ACA), who shares the campus. ACA is a private Christian school, founded in 2001 on solid Biblical principles, that invests into the lives of children from nursery through high school.
According to the church’s website, FamilyChurchBryant.org, “Family Church Bryant is a place where people can meet Jesus, engage in life-giving community, and where everyone is welcome.” It goes on to say the church “believe(s) in creating a space where people can have authentic encounters with Christ, discover their gifts and use them for God’s glory.” The overall mission of FCB is to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to those who desire to develop a closer relationship with the Father. “We also strive to reach those who are broken, hurting, disillusioned, and discontented at their home church, as well as through outreach ministries.”
Family Church Bryant reaches out with more than 14 mission programs in the states and abroad in places such as Tanzania and Hong Kong. Along with programs outside the church, FCB also offers children’s, youth, ladies’, and men’s ministries. Connect groups and community outreach opportunities like Trail Life also connect members and those interested in learning more.
Before serving as FCB Senior Pastor and CEO of Second Chance Youth Ranch, Black spent most of his vocational ministry as a youth pastor and keynote speaker at conferences, churches and schools across the country. Black’s message of drug-free living and suicide prevention changed the lives of thousands of students.
Also a professional contractor, Black blesses FCB and 2CYR by overseeing all construction projects for without compensation, and he supervises more 100 full-time and 20 part-time employees.
Second Chance Youth Ranch is one of the church’s most well-known local outreach programs, providing a community for children and teens needing a safe and stable home. Each child is welcomed into the home of a loving set of parents. The children receive therapeutic services according to their individual needs, to help them heal from past traumas.
The primary focus of these homes is to welcome sibling groups and keep them together, which is difficult within the foster care system, as it serves over 4,000 children annually in Arkansas alone. “Second Chance Youth Ranch is a Foster Home Ministry with year-round, 24/7 family-style accommodations,” says Black. Students at 2CYR attend Bryant Schools or Arkansas Christian Academy, and they receive therapeutic services through a partnership with Counseling Clinic, Inc. in Benton. Blending traditional values with modern therapeutic techniques, Second Chance Youth Ranch provides caring homes for youth facing difficult situations and choices.
As with all families, each 2CYR family is unique, but they all place a strong emphasis on prayer, encouragement, life skills, love, values, and safety. 2CYR.org summarizes the beliefs driving this non-profit. “Our philosophy is that the past doesn’t have to define our kids. We serve a God who restores and redeems. Jesus can provide hope in what may have felt like a completely hopeless situation. They can begin to see their own value and get excited about the good things that God has planned for them.”
With over 47 years in ministry focused largely on young people, Pastor Black has dedicated his life to sharing the love of Jesus Christ with his community, across the country, and around the world. The calling behind Black’s many Holy Spirit-inspired ministries (or I guess you could call them divine entrepreneurships) seems to align with those of Elon Musk: pursue your passion and make a difference.