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 so stay up to date!

What We Do 

Church Services & 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.


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.

Reverend Barry Kidwell

Minister of Outreach | Director of Mustard Tree Ministries

Kathleen Ramirez

Agricultural Director

Reverend Barry Kidwell

Minister of Outreach | Director of Mustard Tree Ministries

Having a restored relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life, and to offer that same restoration to the people that God allows me to encounter throughout this journey on earth is my chief goal in life.  My real faith journey started when I had a Sunday School teacher who challenged our class to read the Bible, asking one question as we read:  “If I were to really live out what this Bible teaches, how would that affect my life?”  Ask me about that someday.
At 21 years of age I accepted an offer from the Cleveland District Superintendent to assume the pastorate of 3 churches in Meigs County, Tennessee.  I was pastor of these churches for 10 years, and also worked various farms as I finished my college and seminary educations.  During this time, I met my wife, Diana, at Lee University.  We graduated on May 7 of 1983 and got married on May 14.  We are parents to 3 children, David, Kathleen, and Zak.
I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in December of 1988 and was transferred to the Charleston/Valley Head Circuit in June of 1989.  I became an Elder in Full Connection in June of 1991.  We moved to pastor Soddy UMC in June of 1992.  We served there for six years, establishing a food pantry and remodeling as our need for more worship space was necessary.  We were transferred to St. John UMC in June of 1998 where I 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.