Christianity Today: California Dreams
How one West Coast ministry reaps kingdom profits by planting businesses.
...Main Place Christian Fellowship, which operates the thrift store in Tustin, California, and the rehabilitation center in nearby Santa Ana, traffics in the hope that encourages Will to try to change his life. As a plant of Saddleback Church 20 years ago, Main Place's ministry has burgeoned, planting seven churches of its own and expecting to birth a dozen more by 2020, says pastor Rich Mathisrud. As a church planter, Main Place spends much of its time running businesses to locate and serve the downtrodden. Its church-planting abilities surprisingly come from starting nonprofit businesses.
"We want to use resources to reach as many people as possible," says Mathisrud. "We're just a little church with a big vision trying to honor our great God."
In two decades, Main Place has started a total of six businesses in Orange County and planted seven churches. Its businesses include the thrift store, half of which sells office supplies; a bookstore; an elementary school; and two theaters, Curtain Call Dinner Theater and, most recently, the Village Theater. Its seven churches are scattered across the West Coast in Tustin, Irvine, Orange, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, California, and in Tijuana, Mexico. Main Place's businesses invest in alcohol- and drug-addicted men to provide the finances necessary for church planting and community work; then it puts its profits back into some of the most crime-filled communities in the county. Is this any way to run a church? Actually, it is. ...