First Church & New Heights CCDA
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
First Church is a multi-site Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) church. We have 3 campuses, one each in St. Joe, Stevensville, and Benton Heights. We want to make a difference in our world for Jesus Christ by connecting people to God and letting God transform lives. We think it’s important to be a bridge to each other, to the community and to our world. We’re a multi-generational church, all ages, all walks of life. Jesus is our focus and our source is the Bible. We’re more concerned about faithfully living out the Gospels and being a bridge to our community, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, families and relationships than we are about being a club. We actively seek to serve our community and not just attract the community to come to our church. Church is who we are, not a Sunday event. New Heights CCDA (newheightsccda.com) is a nonprofit committed to meeting the human and social needs of the under-resourced in Benton Heights and surrounding communities by utilizing Christian principles. We exist to: – Address human and social needs of Berrien County residents through the creation of programs and partnerships with other organizations. – Engage Benton Heights residents in programs and practices which holistically revive and restore their community. – Work with other organizations to optimize available resources and facilitate positive relationships in the Benton Heights Community. – Employ programs which improve the quality of life for impoverished Berrien County residents. – Address systemic issues that contribute to the poverty of body, mind, and spirit. We operate a food assistance program, and transportation program. Our food assistance program, called Community Food Network, creates healthy communities by feeding individuals and families – body, mind and spirit. It replaces handouts and charity with meaningful involvement and community. The Cars Ministry, our transportation program, provides vehicles and critical repairs for people in Berrien County who cannot provide it for themselves. We also facilitate & support the Benton Heights Community Development Council (BHCDC). The BHCDC is comprised of residents in Benton Heights who identify assets and needs in the community, and work with New Heights leadership to bring about positive change to the neighborhood.
My biggest accomplishments are my two beautiful daughters. Lesser accomplishments include: Lake Michigan Catholic Teacher of the Year, ’10/’11…Developed and implemented a strategy that informs how First Church invests in international missions…Established Community Food Network, now a program of New Heights…More than quadrupled the output of the Cars Ministry, now a program of New Heights…Founded New Heights CCDA.
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
Quadruple the output/impact of the Cars Ministry…Establish a community center in Benton Heights that brings needed services (health, laundry, job training, etc.) to the neighborhood…Triple the staffing of New Heights CCDA.
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education & Minor in Physics from Ferris State University.
Where were you born?
What was your first job?
Dishwasher at Maranatha Bible & Missionary Conference.
Best advice you ever got?
“Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself” – Seth Godin
Who inspires you most?
Jesus: His love and compassion for people.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
I’ve been to 26 countries since 2011.
What do you love to do in your downtime?
Play disc golf
What book are you reading now?
The Culture Code: An ingenious way to understand why people around the world live as they do by Clotaire
Volunteer activity you love the most.
Anything involving manual labor, preferably outdoors.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
I give back because of my faith. A key Bible verse for me is Isaiah 1:17 which states, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
What Superpower would you most love to have?
What does this honor most mean to you?
I often don’t feel like I’m making a difference in the community, and many times I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, but this honor affirms that my feeble efforts are making an impact.