Chattanooga Outreach Inc., d/b/a Union Gospel Mission was formed in 2007 as a 501(c)3 non-profit homeless mission after separating from Highland Parks Baptist Church. UGM started in 1950 and has been helping the homeless community in Chattanooga and the Tri-State area for over 65 years providing over 2 million meals, 1 million shelter sleep nights, and over 1 million hours of community services.
Our main focus is helping clients:
G.R.A.C.E. Discipleship Program
The G.R.A.C.E. Discipleship Program is designed to be a six month, residential, program for men seeking to address “life-controlling” issues in their lives. The majority of clients in this program come from a background of drug addiction and/or alcoholism. This program will also help address other issues of addiction and/or a life of poor decision making.
A curriculum that combines group classes, self-study, daily structure, and strong personal accountability; provides the necessary tools for our clients to achieve the change in their lives that they seek.
After-Care / Transitional Housing
Once our clients have completed the G.R.A.C.E. Discipleship Program, we have found that the majority of them are in need of a “next step”. For those who don’t have a support system in place, we provide them with housing, help with job search, budgeting, and re-integrating into “normal” society.
Our After-Care program provides that “extra step” in helping our clients transition into a productive life.
The Union Gospel Mission was founded with a heart for the homeless and less-fortunate, it is vital to us that we maintain programming that ministers to and provides for the needs of this segment of our community.
In order to help meet these needs we take the opportunity several times each year to reach out. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and other additional occasions we set up downtown and provide free meals, personal items, and mostly friendship and fellowship to our friends in need.
Rev. Jon Rector has served as our Executive Director since 2003. Jon was saved as a child of about 9 years old and surrendered to God’s call to preach as an 11 year old boy. Jon preached the occasional church service and chapel service as the opportunities arose.
At 14, Jon served a whole summer as an intern for Randy Taylor Revivals, traveling across the country holding meetings. Jon has served in several positions of church service, including Children’s Church Director, Bus Ministry, Sunday School Teacher, Music Minister, Assistant Pastor, and Associate Pastor.
In 2000, Jon was asked to serve as the full-time Chaplain with Chattanooga Rescue Mission. His three year tenure there saw him serve as Chaplain, Men’s Program Director, Community Program Director, and acting Executive Director.
In 2003, Jon was called as the Executive Director of the Union Gospel Mission. Under Jon’s leadership, 2007/2008 saw the transition of Union Gospel Mission (a local church ministry) to Chattanooga Outreach, Inc. (d/b/a Union Gospel Mission); a fully independent 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization. Jon currently serves as the Board President of Chattanooga Outreach and Executive Director of the Union Gospel Mission.
Four years after the close of World War II, the sermons of Lee Roberson boomed out in a room at a skid row boarding house in Chattanooga. Dr. Roberson of Highland Park Baptist Church preached the good news to the commonest people. Union Gospel Mission grew out of Christian labors among these men and opened its doors in February 1950.
Salvation at skid row, The Union Gospel Mission of Chattanooga, laid out a welcome mat to the helpless, homeless and forgotten on February 5, 1950. Though this is marked as the historic day when UGM became a beacon to men on skid row, the Lord had worked in the heart of local Baptist minister, Dr. Lee Roberson, many years before.
Early in 1949, Dr. Roberson accepted an invitation from S.E. Dooley to conduct services at a rooming house for transients on West Main Street in Chattanooga. For 13 months gospel services were held every night and many were won to Christ while other men rededicated their lives to the Lord. A year later the Lord made it possible to secure a building at 1260 Market St., a former drug and furniture store. It was remodeled to fit the needs of 30 men sheltering there. Meanwhile, a sister mission was opened in Dalton, GA, under the direction of Frank Holmes.
The first superintendent of the Chattanooga Mission was Jimmy Hodges. Each mission conducted daily services, helping hundreds with physical and spiritual needs.The pulpit at the Union Gospel Mission has been filled by many, including students from Tennessee Temple University and pastors from local churches.
During the 1980s the mission moved to its fourth location, a two-story building on East Main Street. While there, the mission was under the direction of evangelist Joe Shadowens and finally under the care of Rev. Jon Rector, who first began ministry there in 2003.
In 2007, the Union Gospel Mission separated from Highland Park Baptist Church and became "Chattanooga Outreach, Inc." d/b/a/ Union Gospel Mission and moved to its current location at the foot of Signal Mountain.