PREPARE/ENRICH Builds Strong Marriages!

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

img_6788Ministry and counseling friends, if you do any kind of premarital or marital counseling, please take note: AGAPE counselor, Danny Camp, D.Min, MMFT, conducts a training session to certify facilitators for PREPARE/ENRICH here at our main offices in Nashville.

This training is a powerful tool that can help take your pastoral or clinical counseling to a higher level, and can lead couples into a stronger relationship. The training is $175 and will be offered again in January.

To sign up for the next training or to learn more contact Danny Camp,

at 615-781-3000 or

AGAPE 50th Annual Dinner a Golden Success

AGAPE Annual Dinner l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

On Thursday, November 10, 2016 a special group of 700 guests, friends and supporters gathered at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs for AGAPE’s 50th Annual Dinner. We are grateful and pleased to share that $130,000 was raised as a result of the dinner, the most since Barbara Bush spoke at the Opryland Hotel in 1997.


img_0410 2016-annual-dinner-1

AGAPE Announces The Tom Burton Society

50th Anniversary, AGAPE Annual Fund, AGAPE in Action l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

“I am very optimistic in the future of this agency. My hope is that AGAPE will grow beyond what we have ever experienced or dreamed.” –Tom Burton, 2012

It is our great honor to announce, as a part of The AGAPE Annual Fund, The Tom Burton Society.

As AGAPE’s Executive Director for 30 years, Tom Burton’s vision and leadership will be remembered and recognized for years to come through The Tom Burton Society.

Through Tom’s leadership, AGAPE grew from a small parachurch nonprofit with an annual budget of $400k to become one of the most respected and well-known charitable ministries to children and families throughout Middle Tennessee. Today, with an annual budget of $2.5 million, AGAPE humbly serves hundreds through its social services and counseling programs each year.

Tom’s experience and vision led AGAPE to unprecedented growth through the decade of the 1990’s and 2000’s. Our commitment to providing quality services with agape love resulted in a financially beneficial state contract, an increase in professional counseling services and a healthy and generous growth in individual, corporate and foundation support.

Tom’s commitment to operational sustainability placed AGAPE in a position to do what many nonprofits were unable to do … survive the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Even with significant reductions in donations and loss of contracts, AGAPE survived the crisis by the grace of God and His faithfulness to sustain this ministry, and through the provision of Tom’s leadership, and that of the Board of Directors. Thankfully, our need to establish an annual fund is not because of economic crisis but to ensure yearly provision for our ongoing operational needs.

During the 2017 fiscal year, which began July 2016, all those who can make gifts of $2,500 or more throughout the year will be recognized as members of The Inaugural Tom Burton Society. Many have already committed to this level of leadership giving. We hope many more will join. For all gifts, no matter the amount, we thank you, as they are critical to reaching The AGAPE Annual Fund goal of $1,250,000 that we may continue to provide the services to children and families with the healing love of Christ.

“Tom Burton built AGAPE into something extraordinary. He has created a legacy that is going to last for a long, long time.”  Ellie Vermillion, Former Board Member

Through this program of honoring Tom Burton, we will continue to speak the legacy of 2013-tom-and-chris-burtonTom’s leadership at AGAPE and that of his wife Chris who was by his side for those 30 years, working together, growing AGAPE to serve children and families. Through The Tom Burton Society of The AGAPE Annual Fund, their legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of AGAPE’s supporters, clients, staff and Board of Directors “for a long, long time.”

From the Desk of Chandler Means: Pressing On Toward the Goal

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

Another AGAPE Annual Dinner is in the books … not just any Annual Dinner, but the Golden Anniversary, a very special labor of love for all of us at AGAPE and the 50th Anniversary Committee.

While the evening was a celebration of AGAPE’s past, we spent a few moments announcing AGAPE’s new strategic plan for 2017-2020, Press On Toward the Goal. Specifically, two objectives were introduced: The AGAPE Annual Fund and The Tom Burton Society as the leadership-level giving circle within the annual fund.

The strategic planning process is often as enlightening as it is arduous. As the strategic planning committee surveyed board members, donors, staff and volunteers, something exciting began to develop. Further input, prayer, and discussion led the committee to appreciate that the founding passions and vision, outlined in the original 1966 AGAPE charter, still serves as the catalyst for renewed passions and vision to lead us into the future.

The Press On Toward the Goal 2017-2020 Strategic Plan outlined below along with our repurposed mission statement, reflects the mission and ministry of the past 50 years while informing the vision, plans and goals of AGAPE’s future.

Certainly, a lot has changed for AGAPE and our community since 1966. However, one thing remains painfully consistent; we live in a broken world where people, children and families need help, hope and healing. For 50 years, by God’s grace, provision and blessing, AGAPE has served more than 20,000 children, families and adults. Let the courage and faith of our founders encourage us toward growth and innovation as we boldly stretch toward our new goals. Join us as we Press On!


AGAPE celebrates the life of founder Miles Ezell, Jr.

50th Anniversary, Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

Newly appointed board chair Miles Ezell, Jr. (2nd from left) with vice-chair Will T Vance, newly appointed board member Jane Shaub and Executive Director Howard Justiss, in 1973

AGAPE is celebrating the life this week of longtime supporter and co-founder, Miles Ezell, Jr. who passed away Thursday, September 15, at age 89 after a brief illness. Miles was the chairman of Purity Dairies and was one of Nashville’s most respected businessmen.

Along with Charlie Brandon, Doyle Gaw, Larry Wilson, and his father Miles Ezell, Sr., he signed AGAPE’s charter in 1966. He served for many years on the AGAPE Board of Directors, including several terms as chair.

In addition to AGAPE he was active with several non-profit organizations throughout the years including Lipscomb University, Youth Encouragement Services, the Washington Foundation, the Charlotte Fanning Foundation, The Nature Conservancy-Tennessee Chapter and the American Red Cross; and was an elder at Una Church of Christ for several decades.

“I remember the first time I sat down with Mr. Ezell not long after I came to AGAPE as the new director,” said Executive Director Chandler Means. “He was so encouraging to me even though he barely knew me. We spoke of the early days of the dairy and AGAPE. He was so gracious and encouraging and yet his presence was one of a humble confidence. That humility and confidence impressed on me that all that I heard about Mr. Ezell as a businessman, philanthropist and leader must be true.”

Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 18, from 1-8 p.m. and on Monday, September 19, from 10-11 a.m. followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. at Una Church of Christ, located at 1917 Old Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville.

In lieu of gifts, memorial gifts may be made to to AGAPE, Lipscomb University, and the Una Church of Christ Missions Fund.


To make a gift in honor of Miles Ezell, Jr, Click Here.



Miles Ezell with former Executive Director Tom Burton and long time supporter, adoptive-parent and board member David Heffington in 1983.


Miles Ezell with current Executive Director Chandler Means, in 2013.


From the Desk of Chandler Means: A Grand Experiment

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

“A Grand Experiment,” that’s what Howard Justiss wrote in 1969 referring to AGAPE. Just three years earlier, a small committee from Otter Creek Church of Christ, working with other churches of Christ in Middle Tennessee, launched this grand experiment “marshaling the talents within congregations.” Fifty years ago, the first AGAPE Dinner was conceived and began the legacy of AGAPE Annual Dinners of the future to raise funds to provide “homes for children without homes.”

If you have attended dinners in the past, we so hope you will join us again for the 50th Anniversary Dinner as we honor the memory and service of so many through the years as well as tell the poignant stories that their faithfulness provided.

If you have never been to an AGAPE dinner, please join us and consider being a part of the future of AGAPE and hear the inspiring stories of the past that will become the motivational stories of the future.

The 50th Anniversary Dinner will be an occasion of celebration! But how do you celebrate 50 years of Love? How do you mark 50 years of placing more than 3,000 children in Christian homes where they grow in love and learn to love? How do you commemorate a 50-year journey of an agency that leads by example showing the greatest gift of love, Christ Jesus; a journey of providing counseling services to more than 15,000 clients? How? Our staff and Anniversary Committee are working on that, and we believe it will be a night you will not want to miss if you love AGAPE!

In preparing for this night we are wading through thousands of pictures, every single AGAPE in Action ever produced, footage from other Anniversary Dinners of the past and pages and pages of Board Minutes, Committee notes and personal interviews. One thing is very clear about the grand experiment, as Mr. Justiss declared in 1969, “It has worked, and it is working.” Now fifty years later, we celebrate and honor 50 Years of Love!

AGAPE counseling partnership with Watkins College

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

angela-scruggs-head-shot1 watkins-college-of-art-design-and-film-vertical1-1Through a renewed and enhanced agreement with Watkins College of Art, Design & Film here in Nashville, AGAPE counselor, Angela Scruggs, MAMFC is now available on campus two days each week to provide free, convenient and professional counseling services for Watkins students.

“Thank you for our partnership. We are happy to support our students in such a vital way. We greatly value our

partnership with AGAPE and appreciate the work that you and Angela have done to positively contribute to the lives of our students” – Kristina Krau Waymire, Watkins College Director of Student Life

AGAPE welcomes two new graduate counseling interns

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

2016-interns-charity-kelsey-gracie-mullinsCharity Kelsey (pictured left) is pursuing her Master’s degree in Professional

Counseling at Grand Canyon University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Patten University and previously spent time working in the corporate world.   

Gracie Mullins (pictured right) is pursuing her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Lipscomb University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University and previ­ously spent time with various organizations

working with children.

“Training the next generation of Christian counselors is one way we strive to

ensure that professional services will be accessible to those that need it. We are very excited to welcome Charity and Gracie to the AGAPE team.”
– Jim Frost M.A., LSPE/HSP

Melanie Campbell Joins Lawrenceburg Counseling Office

Uncategorized l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

melanie-campbell-june-2016-aAGAPE is pleased to announce the hiring of Melanie Campbell, M.S. as an Independent Contract Counselor to work in our Lawrenceburg office, which is a partnership with the

Pulaski Street Church of Christ. Melanie is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Services Provider (LPC-MHSP) who earned her Masters of Science degree in

counseling from Freed Hardeman University. She has experience working in both outpatient and inpatient settings and is capable of helping clients address a wide range of problems.  Appointments with Melanie can be made by contacting 931-762-8502.

Happy 50th Birthday AGAPE

50th Anniversary, AGAPE in Action l and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , l

The honor of your presence would be “Golden”! AGAPE’s year-long golden anniversary

celebration will culminate on Thursday, November 10 at the  Franklin Marriott Cool Springs at AGAPE’s 50th Annual Dinner.

As you can see we have a theme going here:

• Commemorate the past 50 years

• Dream about the next 50 years

• Tickets are just $50; children 12 and under are free.

Several sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For tickets and sponsorship

information, visit or call 615-781-3000.

AGAPE’s founders signed the agency charter on February 23, 1966, and tasked the

organization with a simple mission –  to provide unconditional hope and love to chidren and families in need. AGAPE has continued to honor the vision of those leaders and the legacy of helping thousands of children throughout the greater Nashville area and across Middle


“We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished as we look forward to

helping thousands more in the years to come.  Thank you for supporting this ministry, and we hope our faithful friends new and old will celebrate with us this November”

– Chandler Means, Executive Director, AGAPE.