Twice a year we take time in our calendar to celebrate what God is doing at Substance, give updates on where we are at as a church, and share strategic vision for where we are going. It’s also an opportunity to invite everyone into ownership of the vision.
We will have two special offerings for Heart for the House: November 28 & December 5
Pray about how God would have you get involved!
What is Substance doing in 2022?
What's up Substance? I'm thrilled to be able to unveil some of our plans for 2022! I know it's been a crazy two years, but God has been faithful. We've literally had thousands of new Connection Cards. We keep breaking records with Manna Market & Love This City. And even more, our church has hosted over a dozen pastors’ events in the last two years, easily reaching over 2000 pastors! And that's your fruit!
Naturally, we've had to pivot and pause a lot of our plans in the last two years; in the past, we've talked a lot about installing restaurants at both Northtown and Downtown, and we are still talking about a daycare at Northtown and a Dream Center in Downtown. Even more, we have some thrilling opportunities to start our own K-12 Christian school. We even have the opportunity to start our own accredited University! And, God willing, we will eventually green light all of these dreams. But, in all honesty, many of these plans are probably four-to-eight year goals – not one-to-two year goals. So, be praying about these things as we feverishly pop these puzzle pieces together!
However, what are some of our current goals?
1. We Want to Save Up for our Westside and Monterrey Buildings
Our Monterrey Mexico campus has been growing. And we're in the final phases of locking in a gorgeous building overlooking the mountains! Unfortunately, we’ve had to slow our mission trip plans due to COVID. But, once we finalize our new facility there, many of you will be taking trips to paradise (and I know what you're thinking: "Lord, here I am. Send me to eat Mexican food under palm-trees in the dead of winter!"). But seriously, I believe that the Lord has a legitimate strategy here for us!
Every week, we get over a thousand Spanish speakers coming through Manna Market. And according to Mn.gov, Spanish speakers comprise one of the largest immigration groups into our region. Thus, imagine if we had a top notch facility in Mexico that could reverse broadcast a cutting edge Spanish-speaking service to Minneapolis! In many ways, God keeps opening up crazy opportunities for us to impact the Spanish-speaking world.
For example, we've been helping to support a dynamic church in Peru called Camino de Vida. Yet, due to crazy COVID lockdowns in Lima, we recently had some of their teaching staff relocate their operations to Substance. So, despite the difficult circumstances which led to this, one of the serendipities has been that we've had dynamic Spanish influencers (like Danny and Stephanie Gutierrez) helping us fast-forward our Monterrey plans. Indeed, our influence with Spanish-speaking pastors has been sky rocketing. Your missions dollars have helped over 200 pastors in over 10 Spanish-speaking countries!
And, beyond Mexico, a Westside facility has also become an increasing priority. Long term, we believe that God wants us to build something similar to (and even better than) Northtown in the western suburbs. We want to be able to do ministry seven days a week – with small groups and dynamic kids environments to reach the 750,000 unchurched people in the Northwest corridor.
2. We want to Continue Upgrading Northtown & Downtown for Wow-Oriented Outreach
Because of your generosity in our last offering, we built a state of the art walk-in freezer and refrigerator for Manna Market! And we now have two refrigeration trucks for distribution – enabling us to distribute over ______ million pounds, impacting ______ households since March 2020! After gaining the reputation of being one of the largest and most efficiently run food distribution programs in Minnesota, we started partnering with local governments. And now we've been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional grants! Your money has literally been creating more money!
But the long term goal with Manna Market and Love this City is simple: We want to create an irresistible "slippery creek bank" into our church. And it's working! Many of our new people have come from these outreaches.
Last week, a woman came to Substance who hadn't been into church in decades – and she was blown away! She said: "I've never been to a church that felt so vibrant. And your foyer felt like I was walking into a mall!" You see, when churches care about both excellence and lost people – God will give us these types of ministry opportunities!
So, what if Manna Market felt more like a high end grocery store? What if we had TVs on the wall marketing additional ministry opportunities… from our financial classes to youth programming? What if the volunteer experience was so fulfilling and compelling that churches all over the region came to volunteer? But, we don't merely want to reach the lost. We want to disciple them too!
3. We Want to invest in “Digital" and "Discipleship."
Almost every year, a church comes to us and wants to become a campus of Substance. Up until now, I've always said no because: "expansion is easy, but pastoring is hard." At Substance, we don't chase numbers & assets; rather, we want transformational discipleship. Thus, back in 2020, we were planning on unveiling our brand new leadership pipeline – a discipleship program that would accelerate our ability to expand with health. And BOOM! COVID hit. Suddenly, our priorities had to shift. Almost overnight, our staff became full-time digital consultants – as very few churches had the gear to make the switch to online church. Our staff literally helped hundreds of churches update their digital tech as far away as South Africa! Yet, nonetheless, I was still quite disheartened that we needed to delay our leadership pipeline.
Yet, God knew exactly what he was doing! When it felt like things were falling apart, they were actually falling together! You see, God knew- I needed to merge digital AND discipleship! And in doing so, we would not only create a tool for Substance but also for the entire body of Christ!
Obviously, there's a lot I can't say publicly yet, but, we are currently investing in a digital software platform that will change how the body of Christ does discipleship. If Google can predict your odds of divorce or pregnancy based on web surfing habits, then why isn't the church investing in this tech? After all, there are millions of discipleship applications for this.
So, this last year, Substance has built a coalition of over a dozen large churches who are investing in our idea! And the goal isn't merely to pandemic-proof our churches and help persecuted churches around the world. Rather, the goal is to modernize discipleship for the digital era.
So, to put it simply: be praying about our upcoming Heart for the House offering! God has positioned our church to change the world. We are dreaming about a lot of things; but, only you guys can determine how fast we do it!pline? One of the nice things about being a larger church community is the fact that we have the capacity to offer a veritable seminary of spiritual growth opportunities. The downside about being a larger church is that: Even when we have these programs, most people aren’t aware of them (or it’s hosted at the wrong campus and the distance is slightly too far)