3 Ways a Spokane Church Gained Strategy Insight
There are endless ways to serve communities, and what makes the difference between an idea and execution is a thoughtful strategy.
Rev. Mike Von Behren and his congregation wanted to bring the Gospel to the unchurched of their community – the families who would never set foot in Holy Cross Lutheran in Spokane, Washington.
There was no shortage of ideas; there were plenty of ways the church could rise up and connect with the surrounding neighborhood. The challenge was determining their unique mission.
Through the team’s work with FiveTwo, their mission, vision, and strategy was revealed to them.
3 Ways FiveTwo Helped a Spokane Church Determine Strategy
1. The Team Gained Clarity
Mike and his team knew they had options: they could partner with local schools to provide parenting classes; open an art center combining Christ-Centered faith lessons with fine art; or start a ministry that provided work for the refugees in their area.
Like many teams we work with, they had ideas but hadn’t yet articulated their “why.” And yet, in our experience, teams who aren’t afraid of getting specific with their “why”are more likely to hit their target.
One component of our signature process is to lead with compassion and then explore the impact of this value on the success of your endeavor. When you start with a compassionate perspective, the view of your community will change, and out of that value, your endeavor will proceed to reach your community with humility and hospitality.
In the case of Mike and his team, they were encouraged by the FiveTwo leaders to simply ask what they could do for the surrounding community. During that portion of the coaching, it became clear to the team the refugees in their community greatly needed affordable housing. Mike and his team wanted to help but still felt confused on where to begin.
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2. The Team Figured Out How to Activate
Through FiveTwo coaching, Mike and his team got clarity and knew they could make this dream a reality.
The mission — helping local refugee families secure affordable housing — was set. Now, the team had to determine the HOW.
In the end, they decided on an exciting venture that directly impacts families that would otherwise never set foot into their church. They formed a for-profit LLC that provides below-market rental housing for three refugee families. It’s a successful venture and a profitable business — the shareholders have seen a return on their investment.
Of course, becoming landlords was a far cry from teaching art or parenting classes. But as they walked through the FiveTwo Business Canvas and considered the options, God’s direction became clear. There’s no “in the box” thinking with God!
MEETING FELT NEEDS
In our coaching, we explore Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5,000. In it, we can see Jesus reach the community by meeting their real and felt needs:
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21 ESV)
Similarly, the Ten Talents Ministries venture resolved to meet their neighbors’ felt needs by showing through the practical means of being faithful leaders who provided affordable housing.
The question was: how was this possible?
3. The Team Collaborated With Community Organizations
The venture, called Ten Talents Ministries, did not go it alone. They wisely partnered with over 20 investors and purchased two duplexes in Spokane.
FiveTwo’s course and coaching encourage community partnerships. We believe the power of collaboration is critical for your success. Your mission is bigger than you and your team, and it’s crucial to partner with others in the community because these partnerships will multiply Kingdom impact.
In this case, the community backers made it financially possible to launch this venture, but they also served as mission partners and supporters.
ADAPTING AND EXPANDING STRATEGY
While Mike and his team found the strategy that successfully launched their venture, the ways they’ve been able to show compassion to those served has continued to adapt and change.
For example, the congregation has taken the opportunity to share God’s love through Thanksgiving dinners, baby showers for expectant refugee mothers, and purchasing and building bunk beds for children. In addition, the community garden started by Mike’s church has plots maintained by 38 refugee families, most of whom are Hindu. Mike says:
“We are committed to sharing the love of Jesus and good news with them all.”
And in the end, the mission of telling local families about God’s love has been achieved many times over.
When teams are committed to asking the questions that keep their vision and strategy fresh, they will continue to fulfill their mission and creatively serve those God has put in front of them.