It was a normal Thursday morning in 719 Commons. After a pourover coffee at the bar and a breakthrough coaching session with a church planter I walked into the main room to find about forty business leaders lining tables for their weekly networking group. They finished their pitches and mingled for a few minutes as ministry leaders began to stream in the front door. I helped them make their way to the conference room where several organizations gathered to strategize about how to better serve orphans in our state.
A pastor walked in grinning and said, “This place is hopping!” A ministry coach came in next searching for a room for their video coaching call. I heard someone mention coffee so I started grinding more beans and took on my favorite role again; barista. At 719 Commons coffee is more than hot caffeine; it’s a chance to encourage a tired leader. Our coffee is great, but the personal touch is what really matters. Our individual coffee pours say, “you matter” and our mugs say, “stay a while.”
Just over a year ago I walked into a business to see what God was up to in a friend’s life. In about thirty days vacant first floor transformed into a hub where a few hundred leaders gather to connect, collaborate and create meaning every week. Non-profit, for-profit and church leaders discuss what deeply matters to them.
In a given week around a hundred business leaders come through 719 Commons. A church gathers for worship here and a few more are considering it. It’s hard for a young church to pass up simplifying, saving money and getting invited into this community all week.
Over fifty organizations gathered in 719 Commons last year for training, off-sites, board meetings, parties, prayer and strategy sessions. Plans were hatched, saints were equipped, connections were made. Mission-minded leaders ate tacos from the local truck and shared struggles and barriers in a space where no one needs anything from them.
At Frontline we coach and connect leaders. We help churches be birthed and give birth. We help them develop their plan and take their next right steps. Church plants we’ve served continue to gather faithfully each week and deploy missionaries into our city. A few churches we’ve coached in the past moved into buildings this year. One is starting to plant churches internationally. One launched their second site locally.
We also connect them to others they need to know who can equip, resource or mentor them. There is power when the right leaders meet. We’ve watched these young churches partner to do more together than they could apart. Around two hundred leaders connected for our annual MULTIPLY Conference this fall and our Spring “Adaptive Leadership” mini-conference had seventy five in attendance. Yes, leaders receive training, but they leave knowing they’re not alone. Acquaintances develop into friends and friends into mission-hearted comrades. Eventually their churches partner as “the church in Colorado Springs” painting a bigger picture than one church ever could.
All year we kept hearing one word in 719 Commons; refuge. A simple change of place brings a change of perspective. Life is hard, and leadership is even harder. People need refuge from the fears, struggles and burdens they carry. Teams need to pause and ask, “where are we going” and “what’s our plan to get there?” But they also need to ask, “who can I walk this journey with?” 2018 began with a crazy idea and ended with connected community. We can’t wait to see who walks into this space to connect, collaborate and create good and beautiful things in 2019.