Dedicated to eradicating homelessness and poverty one life, one community at a time.

Welcome to Mustard Tree Ministries

Mustard Tree Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) faith-based non-profit organization founded in 2003 and governed by a 12-member board of directors. The organization began as an outreach effort involving several people who were concerned about the need to minister to those who live in the poorest parts of Chattanooga as well as those experiencing homelessness.  Mustard Tree Ministries exists to be a ministry that helps people become all that God wants them to be.  Thus we call ourselves Mustard "Tree" not Mustard "Seed."  In Matthew's Gospel Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like a Mustard seed, and when it grows up it becomes the largest tree where "all" birds can come."  Jesus looked at what we can become when we are reconciled to God and growing in his Kingdom.  Our main goal is to reconcile people to God through Christ and then to family (if they have any) and to community.  We want a holistic ministry.  In the past seven years we have helped 300 people get off the street and reconnected with God, family, and the community.


Follow us on Facebook @mustardtreemin and on Instagram @mustardtreeministryfarms to stay up to date!

MTM Loaves and Fishes for Children

Our Sunday night service has continued to grow and with that, we have had a lot more children join in on Sunday nights. What started out as two or three children and the sweet kitchen ladies starting to teach them Bible stories has become fifteen regular children and the children’s ministry stepping up to help on Sunday nights. There are 1 in 5 children who live in food insecure homes in our country and the majority of the children on Sunday nights come from low income households and face hardships many of us never have to worry about. In order to make life a little easier and enjoyable in their young lives, we have worked together with the children’s ministry to put together snack bags for the children to take home with them on Sunday nights after church. These bags include non perishable things they can snack on during the week, use as a breakfast item, or take to school for lunch. Most of our children do not get the luxury of picking and choosing a snack or something they might enjoy for lunch and often times our children have to just go without. Please keep in mind that this happens year round, not just during the holidays. This ministry plans to continue indefinitely as children need food all year long and not just around the holidays.

If you feel led to donate to this specific snack bag ministry, here is a list of items we could use that will help these kids throughout the week:
• Individually wrapped muffins or muffin bites
• Fruit cups
• Fruit snacks
• Ramen noodles
• Microwavable mac and cheese
• Fruit or apple sauce cups or pouches (Gogo Squeez)
• Pop tarts
• Instant oatmeal
• Individually wrapped danishes or pastries
• Chewy granola bars
• Vienna Sausages
• Individual trail mix of packets of mixed nuts
• Multi pack single serve cereal
• Slim Jims
• Nutri-grain bars

If you prefer to make a monetary donation you can do so by check to Mustard Tree Ministry or First Centenary UMC just write “MTM Loaves and Fishes” in the “for” line or you can find us on Venmo @MustardTreeMin.

What We Do

Church Services and Meals

We like to meet individuals where they live. This program also offers those who have come through our program the opportunity to give back. Most of our volunteers were at one time on the other side of the table themselves and they appreciate what a warm, homecooked meal means while you’re down on your luck.
  • Wednesday afternoon - Free lunch in Miller Park 
  • Thursday evening - Free dinner and Bible Study at First Baptist Church in downtown Chattanooga

International Missions

Here at Mustard Tree, we strongly support first, second and third generational human rights, and we seek to restlessly pursue justice and mercy for all of God’s creation through our sustainable community development missions and programs. Our work began in Romania about seven years ago when our Director was invited to go on a mission trip to the area. Once there, his heart couldn’t helped but be moved for the plight of the Roma people.

Sustainable Farming

Within the last few years through the support of our donors, Mustard Tree’s sphere of influence has expanded to include a farm which is located in Harrison, Tennessee. Through this farm, we employ organic sustainable farming. Sustainable farming aims to use the productivity of our farms in a manner wholly useful to our community. It is our hope to build upon our current growth and create micro-industries here and in Romania that will educate, train and employ those we serve, offering them an opportunity to embrace a healthy, whole, sustainable way of life.

Community First!

Presently, Mustard Tree Ministries is involved in developing a community of micro-homes which would provide affordable housing, a farm, community center, micro industries for employment, etc. With this assistance, Mustard Tree hopes to help people transition in life to better living conditions, creating a sense of self-sustainability. In the past seven years we have helped over 300 people get off the street and reconnected with God, family, and the community.

Mustard Tree Ministries has created CommunityFirst! Chattanooga with the goal of building a loving, compassionate, and highly hospitable community for the chronically homeless in the Chattanooga area. This community has been conceived and founded on CommunityFirst! Chattanooga principles and God’s call to bring human dignity to all people by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and housing the stranger.

How To Help


Mustard Tree Ministries has a host of opportunities for those looking to work toward eradicating homelessness and poverty in our community! We are always looking for volunteers to help with transportation, meal delivery, our Lunch in the Park program and various events and community fundraisers around town. 

Mustard Tree Farms

Mustard Tree Farms loves to hear from retired contractors looking for something to do, small groups looking to serve their community and those who love to play around in the dirt a little! 


From corporate sponsorships to one-time donors, we have a place for you! We offer several levels and tiers for donating and fundraising with Mustard Tree! Email us to find out more about how you or your organization can help effectuate sustainable change right here in our neighborhoods and around the world!

Meet The Team

Rev. Barry Kidwell

Minister of Outreach | Director of Mustard Tree Ministries

Kathleen Ramirez

Agricultural Director

Sara Holley

Program Coordinator

Rev. Barry Kidwell

Minister of Outreach | Director of Mustard Tree Ministries

Having a restored relationship with God is the most important aspect of Barry's life, and to offer that same restoration to the people that God allows him to encounter throughout this journey on earth is his chief goal in life. Barry's real faith journey started when he had a Sunday School teacher who challenged his class to read the Bible, asking one question as they read: “If I were to really live out what this Bible teaches, how would that affect my life?” Ask Barry about that someday.

At 21 years of age, Barry accepted an offer from the Cleveland District Superintendent to assume the pastorate of 3 churches in Meigs County, Tennessee. He was pastor of these churches for 10 years, and also worked various farms as he finished his college and seminary educations. During this time, he met his wife, Diana, at Lee University. They graduated on May 7th of 1983 and got married on May 14th. Barry and Diana are parents to 3 children, David, Kathleen, and Zak.

Barry graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in December of 1988 and was transferred to the Charleston/Valley Head Circuit in June of 1989. He became an Elder in Full Connection in June of 1991. Barry moved to Pastor Soddy U.M.C. in June of 1992. He served there for six years, establishing a food pantry and remodeling as their need for more worship space was necessary. Barry was transferred to St. John U.M.C. in June of 1998 where he was the Minister of Outreach for six years.

Kathleen Ramirez

Agricultural Director

Kathleen has always had a passion for helping others. She graduated from Hiwassee College with a degree in Social Science and continued her studies at Middle Tennessee State University. Her areas of study were Equestrian Management, Agriculture, and Animal Science. Kathleen has also served a missionary to Central America and some small European countries and hopes one day to teach poor communities how to be self-sustaining through agriculture.

Sara Holley

Program Coordinator

Sara works as the Mustard Tree Ministries' Program Coordinator. She previously served as the Assistant Youth Director at First-Centenary for 7 years. She is currently working on her masters in Social Work. She grew up in Chattanooga and has attended First-Centenary for most of her life. She graduated from Auburn University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Board of Trustees

Randall Taylor: Chair
Time Threadgill: Vice Chair
Barbara Zellner: Treasurer
Elizabeth Riley: Secretary
Becky Hall
Rev. Beth Sullivan
Jamie Culbertson
Jeff Olingy
Mike Purcell
Terri Holley
Tiffanie Robinson