Lance Wigton interviews Craig Miles, Jim Blazin, and Jim Putman at the ALIGN Event for all RLM Leaders and Volunteers where information was presented on the activities and expansion of the Coeur d'Alene, North, and Post Falls RLM Campuses.
Detailed FAQ's are available below as well as an opportunity to ask questions.
What is the 20 Twenty Vision?
Real Life Ministries launched on October 18, 1998, so we are almost 20 years old as a church. Since the church started, we have been privileged to see what The Lord working with His people can accomplish in a short period of time. We have witnessed thousands of people committing to make Jesus Lord of their lives. Eight new churches have been planted in the last twenty years. Discipleship is now a topic that churches all over the world are once again trying to address in their local communities—all because Real Life has had an unwavering vision to be the church that Jesus modeled for us.
This year, 2017, finds Real Life Ministries with a decision to make. Do we become a church that rests on what God has done in the past? Do we continue to risk and stretch to meet the needs of future generations? For our leadership, the vision of reaching the lost in the future was the clear choice. We are calling this vision for all three of our campuses 20 Twenty Vision.
Not only is 20 Twenty Vision the grade given for perfect eyesight, but it is also what we are calling this next focus as a church.
This vision is about where we are going as a church, and it is how our leadership has been led by the Lord to continue to reach and win people for Jesus for the next twenty years and beyond. This is the new target for our immediate future. We will put our energy and resources towards keeping what God has given us as essentials, and then we will shift towards these new targets with the rest of our energy and resources.
The 20 Twenty Vision is all about finding ways to be a church for everyone while also targeting young families in ways that they can be reached here in Kootenai County. We had to ask ourselves what is keeping younger families from joining Real Life now? The research reveals what you probably already know. Young families have been inundated with things that distract them from focusing on spiritual and eternal things. They are busy and spend a lot of energy not only working (both parents, usually) but also spending the rest of their time chasing their children. Our church attendance reflects the impact of this post-Christian culture. In 2004, 63% of our total church attendance was under the age of 35. Now in 2017, just thirteen years later, less than 50% are under the age of 35.
That percentage is not at a crisis level by any means as Real Life is still making a difference with a lot of young families. However, it does show a negative trend that we know, as a leadership, we cannot allow to continue without trying to make significant efforts to change it. We want to be in a situation where we are attacking this trend, instead of waiting for the culture to change. The attack plan is 20 Twenty Vision.
Here is a breakdown of what each campus is committing to for the 20 Twenty Vision:
Post Falls Campus
We will build a Children’s Ministry wing
- Young families are struggling to take kids all over campus to their classes. The current arrangements are difficult and confusing.
- We have never had a dedicated wing that is attractive to young families. We have always had multi-purpose facilities—there are benefits to this, but also downsides.
- Safety: young families do not like their kids in other buildings, away from them.
- RLM Building 2 will be Youth-focused midweek, and there will be room for Adult Bible Education Classes on the weekends and during the midweek evenings. We want to continue to reach youth, and right now our youth team is doing incredibly.
- We have not had the space to have an extensive Sunday morning education plan because all our classroom space is taken. Now we can create small group and education environments.
Sports and Outdoors Fields: Plans and Programming
- We will start a Sports and Outdoors program in our community.
- There is currently a shortage of space in a growing community.
- There are no mid-level programs for families who want to participate in sports, but who do not want it to take over their lives.
- Sports, coaches, and a culture that makes sports about honor and values with good role models can be attractive to non-Christians.
- We can use our facilities to create leagues for kids who are not skilled enough to play for the schools—it gives them the chance to develop as players and gives them a valuable hobby.
- We can give people who have a passion for this new opportunities to use their gifts.
- This will provide needed positive male role models for the children of the many single moms in our community.
- We have already experimented with this in wrestling in our area—it works.
- We already have an ongoing positive partnership with the schools in the area, and we can use this program to funnel families into our church—recovery programs, parenting classes, financial planning training, men’s and women’s ministry, life groups, etc.
- We will create an adult intramural opportunity for Christians to invite their friends to play.
Renovation of our Worship Auditorium
- This’ll be a better environment for sound and a more purposeful use of this space.
- This will become a venue our community can use for large gatherings. We already have the largest auditorium in Kootenai County; we want it to be the best quality, as well.
- We will develop a “Worship School” in this space during the midweek as an outreach to our community and development of our worship ministry.
- There will be more space for the Genesis Prep School that leases our buildings—great expansion for a Christian school.
- Creates more ministry space for Women’s ministry, as well as opening other doors to us during the week (Genesis Prep and Lifelines currently use most of our space during the midweek).
Coeur d’ Alene Campus
We are remodeling our current facility to accommodate more people with an emphasis on reaching young families.
- This fall, we challenged our people who call the CDA Campus home to give above what they were already giving to pay for a building remodel.
- The remodel of the campus is underway.
- The remodel gets the facility up to code and gives us additional foyer space and bathrooms.
- The children’s area will be remodeled and will be a place where families feel comfortable leaving their kids during service.
- The remodel will maximize the use of our current facility to continue reaching out and ministering to families in CDA.
We are going to continue to reach out to the community and build relationships.
- We have an ongoing relationship with Lakes Middle School that allows us to connect and minister to the kids and families who attend Lakes.
- We’ve just recently connected with Borah Elementary, and we are expecting that to develop into one similar to the one we have with Lakes.
- relationship We continue to connect with the pastors of other CDA churches through personal relationships and through the Ministerial Association.
- We continue to connect with local businesses and organizations through the CDA Chamber of Commerce.
Because of what you have done here in the past, we already have a lot of favor in the Kootenai North area.
- We have hosted the Lakeland High School graduations for years.
- We have done several serve projects in the area.
- We have done Church in the Park for years in the North.
We are building strong relationships in the community.
- We are developing a great relationship with Timberlake Junior High, including utilizing their facilities when we launch services in September.
- We are connecting with local pastors in an effort to foster Church unity in the area.
- We are interfacing with the local government.
We already have a future location for outreach to the community.
- Land has been donated in a strategic location.
- Real Life leadership has committed to purchase additional land to make an ideal location to do ministry for generations to come.
This all culminates to reach many for Christ.
- We will build a culture that reaches the lost in an unreached region through recovery, benevolence, and other emerging opportunities.
- We will reach and connect young families through sports and outdoors and key affinity opportunities.
- We will mobilize our people to serve in strategic areas in the community, school, and government.
Q: What does 20 Twenty Vision mean?
A: Not only is 20/20 the classification for perfect sight, it is also what Real Life Ministries is calling our collective initiative for all campuses for the next year and half.
Post Falls, Coeur d’ Alene, and the North campus all have individual goals that they have committed to have completed by 2020.
Also, RLM is about twenty years old as a church, and what the campuses are collectively trying to undertake will expand the Kingdom for Him for twenty years to come.
Q: Where did the 20 Twenty Vision come from?
A: As with all of the major efforts that Real Life Ministries has accomplished in the past, it was first started in prayer. Our Elders prayed to the Lord for wisdom on what to do to grow the campuses and reach future generations. The result was the 20 Twenty Vision for all of the campuses.
Q: We have never targeted young families before, why are we doing something now?
A: Our Vision as a church has always been, and will always be, to reach the world for Jesus one person at a time. Our Mission is to make biblical disciples in relational environments. We accomplish our Vision and Mission with our Process, which is S.C.M.D. Share our lives and the gospel; Connect people to God and each other; train every disciple for Ministry; and release to make Disciples.
We are not going to target young families at the exclusion of other groups. We will continue to reach seniors, and singles, and people in other demographics. However, as the Lord leads us, we become aware of a new group the Lord wants us to reach. He shows us the avenue and those who He would supply to meet the need. Jesus loves kids, and the best way to reach young families right now is through their kids. If we can reach the kids, we can get to the parents. If the parents accept Christ, it changes the whole trajectory of the kids. Capture the hearts of the next generation, and you change the whole culture.
In order to remain true to our Vision, Mission and Process, and to continue to reach into our community, we must change our methods. Past generations in America were considered Christian. Going to church and being considered a Christian was the norm. We are now living in a post-Christian culture. Young families no longer consider going to church as a part of their lifestyle. We could, as a church, continue to do what we have done in the past, which has been successful. However, the cost of losing future generations is too high, and we must change in order to reach younger families. As national statistics show, 83% of all Christians made their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14. We must then do whatever we can to influence this age group for Jesus.
Q: How does building a Sports and Outdoors Ministry reach young families?
A: In our culture here in North Idaho, we know that the outdoors activities are very important to younger active families. That is one of the reasons that young families are moving to this area—how easy it is to get to the lake or the mountains. Giving these families an opportunity to experience the things they already value in an excellent way will attract young families. It makes it easy for our people to invite their friends who wouldn’t normally come to church. As these new young families start building new relationships through our Sports and Outdoors programming, it makes it very easy for them to try church for the first time.
Q: Why do we need to add on to our existing building? It has never been a problem in the past.
A: Young families that have more than one child have to go all over the campus to get their children checked into our Children’s Ministry. It’s not only incredibly inconvenient, especially in bad weather, but it also makes families uneasy as their kids are spread out over a large campus. Parents are concerned that their children are in a different building. For security reasons, they want them close. We should do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for young families. Also, building a Children’s area that is dedicated for kids makes children want to come to church. The additional space also positively impacts many other ministries that will have the needed space to do more.
Q: If Real Life Ministries is targeting young families, what is your vision for older generations?
A: We want people of all ages in church because young families need multiple generations to grow. Our members that are the Grandpas and Grandmas, or the Moms and Dads are essential to the 20 Twenty Vision becoming a reality. The reason we are focusing on young families is to change their future for Christ! This new emphasis doesn’t mean that we don’t love and want to care for older people. The Lord has blessed us with a great number of mature disciples that are older in age, and we believe God has big plans for how this group of people can invest in the younger generations.
Q: How much is the 20 Twenty Vision going to cost?
A: We are starting to get bids now; it’s projected to be somewhere around $9 million.
Q: How is Real Life Ministries going to pay for the 20 Twenty Vision?
A: We are still getting bids on what the hard dollar costs are actually going to be. Our plan for paying for the campus improvements is in three ways. The first way is that we are going to restructure our loan with The Solomon Foundation. Stretching the length of our overall loan maturity to 30 years will free up some additional cash flow to help pay for the cost of the project.
Secondly, Genesis Preparatory Academy, the independent private Christian school that has been leasing space from us, will be able to pay more for the additional space that we will be able to now provide. We will also have enough space to generate additional income from other outside partnerships to rent space from us for short periods of time.
Lastly, and most importantly, by asking our people to prayerfully consider giving generously to this vision to advance the Kingdom. Although we will not be doing a formal campaign, we will be communicating specific needs and vision for how each of us can support this vision financially as we go forward. We already have some money set aside from generous gifts given from people who believe in our vision and will add to that as the Lord leads people to give to 20 Twenty Vision.
Q: What is Real Life’s position on taking on debt if needed to help fund this vision?
A: Our desire has always been to be out of debt if we can. However, we are not against debt if it is something that is deemed responsible. By responsible, we mean that it does not take a high enough percentage of our income that it makes it impossible for us to do ministry. There are benchmarks in the church world that help us to know if our debt load is responsible. We are currently on the extreme low end when it comes to the percentage of our income that goes to debt. We believe that responsible debt helps us have tools that can be used to reach the world for Jesus today. In our past campaign (Historic Faith), our goal was to pay down debt as well as do things that would expand the outreach for Christ. This was accomplished. We paid down $1.65 million in debt and were able to start two more churches, start two campuses, do over $1.5 million in missions work, feed thousands here in our area, as well as fulfill ministry goals in Kootenai County. We are in a good position right now because we have a low percentage of cash to debt ratio. Because of our efforts to pay down debt through Historic Faith and beyond, we are in a position where we are able to incur additional debt, if needed, to reach more people for Jesus while still remaining on the very low end of what is considered responsible debt for a church. We also have more assets than we owe in debt.
Q: Why don’t we sell some of the property that we are not going to use to fund these new ministry efforts?
A: RLM had excess land that had been on the market for several years and remained unsold. In 2011 and 2013, RLM entered into real estate agreements with The Solomon Foundation (TSF) in which RLM transferred the unused/excess land into a TSF Endowment arrangement in return for monthly payments that will run into perpetuity. This has allowed RLM to receive regular monthly payments to be used in ministry. To date, RLM has already received total payments equal to 27% of the assessed property value at the date of the real estate agreements. The payments continue into perpetuity.
Q: We did a campaign in 2012 called Historic Faith, was that successful?
A: Historic Faith was a great success for Real Life Ministries and the kingdom. We as a church body were able to fund our current ministries, start the Coeur d’ Alene Campus, renovate and repair some much needed infrastructure on the Post Falls Campus, as well as reduce our overall debt at the same time! We also invested ministry resources into national and international missions. Since Historic Faith began, we have seen ____ baptisms between our PF and CDA Campuses, have helped plant two more churches and have impacted 24 different countries.
What are we asking of you?
- Pray about if the Lord would have you make changes that would allow you to help us with this project.
- Ask any questions you may have. Please let us know—we want to answer your questions.
- Pray about people you know who would benefit from or participate in our new sports and outdoors programming, and invite them!
- Participate in the Experiencing God Series with your groups. It will help people move towards participating in the 20 Twenty Vision.
- Help us explain the 20 Twenty Vision and the heart behind it when asked.
- Continue to give and be generous, and help others understand why they should, as well.
- Read through this booklet and be familiar with the information and details of the 20 Twenty Vision so you can share them with those who have questions.
If you have a question or comment on something that is not answered above, please submit it here and we will get back to you: