Bucks chaplain and barber making impact with Evolve Church community center
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- You can call Milwaukee Bucks chaplain and barber Ken Lock II a man of the people.
Serving people is what is at the essence of what he and his team are doing with Evolve Church, located on the northwest side of Milwaukee.
"When we were planting the church, we had this concept in mind of 'what does the church need to look like grab the next generation," said Ken Lock II. "We want us as people to evolve, we want our city to evolve. We want our city and our culture and our society to evolve and it just felt like the right name that we believed we were called to do."
What started in his living room has evolved into a space of more than 16,000 square feet.
"We were called to this area, we prayed about it, so we believe we're supposed to be serving this area to the capacity that we're serving it to. So, we were blessed with this facility, and we just wanted to maximize the space," said Lock II.
The facility officially opened this past September, and they are maximizing it.
When you walk in, you will see a café that opened in February. Directly ahead of that is a teen room for young adults to come together and share ideas, hangout, play games and more. That opens into a large community space where the Church has already used it for a home ownership event, a community resource fair and other events to help bring people in the community together.
"We're able to turn it shift it, make it whatever," said Lock II. "We take this space and make it whatever we need it to for that day."
One of the main attractions may just be the playground in the kid's area, that is right behind the community center. Parents can bring their kids here and get their own work done in the café while the kids play.
"It (the indoor playground) plays 210 kids at a time; kids have a blast. The kids absolutely love it," said Lock II. "One of the ways we feel we're serving the whole family."
Outside of the playground area are classrooms for different age groups in what Ken calls the evolve kids wing, serving ages as young as two to as old as 12. Volunteer teachers come in to provide tutoring.
Evolve Church also has an area for arts in this wing of the building as well. There is room for a recording studio to be built so kids can create music, a dance studio with different programs including kids' ballet, Zumba fitness and yoga with opportunities for other dance instruction taught by professionals.
Down the hall are two sensory rooms for parents with children that have different needs.
"Parents feel more comfortable knowing kids are in good hands and in a safe space," said Lock II.
The church also features a welcome room, one of his favorites, that Ken says is a warm space for small staffs and groups to come together, hug, laugh and talk as another way to fully utilize his church's new home.
"We said, let's actually build it as a community center and then we can just have church anywhere," said Lock II.
Where they have church is called The Sanctuary.
"I don't even know what to say about this space except that it makes me happy," said Lock II as he gave CBS 58 a tour of the space. "No place like home."
The Sanctuary is a 1600-seat space for church, equipped with a stage and a band.
When you come to Evolve church, you will see 'shift' in several places. A message he says they have brought this year to set the mindset for the days to come.
"Shifting our mindsets, shifting our approach and shifting this community as a whole. To where the community now says, we believe we were better and properly served now that this church is here," said Lock II.
Ken says it's hard to fathom the journey sometimes. He took over as the Bucks barber in 2015, then became the team's chaplain. A church he started in his living room five years ago has turned into what it is now. He didn't quite see it coming.
"I dreamt it, I can't say I envisioned it, it was a dream," said Lock II. "My living room was big enough. My living room was fun enough. So, to be here, I'm eternally grateful. I honestly if I didn’t live another day, I feel like I lived out my purpose to help so many families, to help my city. I'm grateful."
But he knows he hasn't done it alone. He says there are hundreds of volunteers that help and with help of past volunteers he's gotten this far.
"Biggest honor that you can ever have. I really am a simple kid. I come from a huge family. I got ten sisters, one brother. 12 kids and my parents in a household. We didn't come from super successful, super wealthy family, but we always had compassion for others we always understood the value of helping others when they can't help themselves," said Lock II.
"It’s the biggest compliment you could ever receive. When somebody says I believe in you, I believe in your vision, and I believe it so much to the point that I'm willing to work with you on it."
And it's with that help, he hopes to build more spaces just like it to touch Milwaukee from every corner.
"It would be like hubs, northwest hub, the east hub, the south hub. Honestly just a dream, but my last dream came true so I'm going to keep speaking it," said Lock II.
Speaking change into existence, one day at a time.