We have been doing youth ministry for many years in Pella, and have a passion for people who are broken or feel like outcasts like we all do at times. We were helping a church youth group and meeting in a basement of someone’s home. We began to outgrow this space and had talked about finding another place to meet, but had really gone no further.
Kristi Pinegar, one of our leaders, is an early AM walker and every morning she would walk past a huge building with a “FOR RENT” sign in the window. For weeks Kristi walked past and would pray, “God is there something you want us to do with this space?” She asked if it was for our youth group or was God trying to open a door for her personally. Finally, Kristi decided to call the number on the sign. She talked to the owner and asked what he was asking for rent and explained to them that we had been thinking about using the building for. The rent was pretty high, so she thanked him for his time and for listening. The next day a man came into the Christian bookstore where Kristi worked and asked if she was there. He told her he had shared our story with his wife and they were both so touched that they wanted to drop rent to $500 per month. That was huge!
Kristi went to the other leaders at the time and showed them what she had found. They loved the idea, so we approached the council at church. They came and saw it, heard our idea of youth ministry being there, and agreed to help us with the rent. God is good. We did some much needed painting and dry walling and other things to fix up our new space. The kids loved being there, they loved the space it was a good move. We believe that building was a gift God gave us and we were so blessed.
We started inviting kids who weren’t part of a church or youth group. We quickly started to grow. Some of our leaders at the time stepped down to seek their own adventures, so there were just two of us remaining. It was manageable, but we could always use more help. We had about 30-40 kids each week. A mix of Pella, Prairie City, Monroe, and Knoxville kids. It was awesome seeing and watching all of them interact and become friends.
The church had started going through some changes and asked us to move the ministry to the church. We really felt we would lose a lot of our kids who weren’t part of the church, so we pleaded with them to let us stay where we were. They voted it down. We thanked them for their time and said we believed we were doing the wrong thing by moving and we bid farewell.
We left there that day with no financial church support, no money to rent the building, and about 30 or more kids with no place to meet, but I trusted God and His plans. The church let the landlord know that we weren’t going to rent anymore, but we weren’t aware of this. One day, Kristi was at home and had an urgency to vacuum the youth room. She fought herself about not wanting to go, but God kept tugging on her heart until she went to the building.
Kristi drove up to the building and saw that there was a huge “FOR RENT” sign in the window. Her heart sank. We didn’t feel that God was ready for us to leave this building yet, but we had no funds to keep it going. Kristi knocked on the landlord’s door and asked him if we could have 1 month to seek help and funding for the building. He was so kind and agreed to it. We were in prayer for a few weeks and kept meeting there, but felt no doors opening for us. We called the “home church” group to let them know we weren’t keeping the building. They had decided to pray and ask God what their response was to this. They didn’t discuss it with each other, they just prayed and listened. Two weeks later we had enough money to rent the building for a whole year. Praise God!!
We continued as planned. We were growing every month and had a few more leaders join us. We were feeding kids, building relationships, sharing God’s love and stories.
We started getting asked to come speak at different groups. A local lawyer suggested we look into becoming a 501(C)3 non-profit, this lawyer generously offered his time to submit the paperwork. However, we needed an official name. We got together and prayed and asked God to give us a name. Our address was 725, so we started looking through those verses in the Bible. We found Matthew 7:25.
This verse explained the kids’ lives to a T. They were always getting hit with troubles because most of them were coming from rough backgrounds or had a lot of junk in their lives. We knew this was the name instantly. After a few more years at this building we felt God nudging us to move to the location we’re at now. We currently have a much bigger space to do so much more with our kids.