Imagine a conversation about what Fallout Shelter Ministries does, and who they serve. If 10 people were standing there, the odds are they have all had a different experience.
The conversation could sound a bit like this:
“It’s a martial arts gym with a weird name, right?”
“They teach self-defense to people around the world, right? “
“No, they train people with guns, right?”
“They do mission trips and build houses; I know because I went with!”
“They help prevent domestic violence and human trafficking, I heard them talk at my school!”
“They brought fresh food to our reservation and fed some homeless people.”
“They host prayer and worship gatherings, they lead our missional community group, there Jesus people!”
“They helped me when my heart was broken, and I needed to heal from an assault.”
“They helped our organization serve the community by teaching self-defense in the school, with a community group and church”
The interesting thing is that Fallout Shelter Ministries is all these things and more. We have always carried the motto “preparing people for the unexpected” and our focus has grown as we see a growing need. As our capabilities and resources have grown, we have been able to respond to those needs. We seek to lead people to the Kingdom of God by engaging and equipping them mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I am going to break down some of our whys. We follow a simple formula (LOVE2+GO). This formula is derived from Matthew 22:36-40:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And Matthew 28:19-20:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These two passages are the foundation of everything we do. We seek to share the gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus with those who are ready to hear – which is the most loving thing we know to do, then to build good relationships, and help people grow into the kingdom of God, as the affections of their hearts change.
As a family, we have chosen a lifestyle of saying yes. Yes, to the opportunity to do good things that God has prepared in advance for us to do. All those yes answers have led us down a path that is kind of mind-blowing. We have said yes to the opportunity to ask a question, share a meal with our dear friends Jeremy and Victoria, which resulted in a trip to Thailand less than a year later. That trip – our first longer mission trip, a full month – opened our eyes to the problem of human trafficking, set the path that introduced us to our friend and mentor Russ Frase who helped grow our foundations of faith and knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s work here on earth, which opened our hearts even more to working in the kingdom of God. That simple yes to “Meet me at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday” broke open a flood of opportunities to serve in the kingdom of God.
Another yes came from a statement that our friend Paul Kimball shared with me. It was something on the order of “you know you have a ministry right here, right in this gym.” It hadn’t dawned on me that our business and passion should be our ministry as well. It already had been, we had been loving people, sharing with them, letting them know that we, and more importantly, God sees them as priceless creations. But the statement from Paul opened our eyes and hearts and made our ministry efforts more intentional. We took the opportunity to start a missional community group, in which we meet, eat, share, study scripture, and take opportunities to go out in mission- simple stuff, like fixing something at a house, installing security cameras at another mission facility, taking food to people who are hurting, mourning with people, but really, the missional community should be a replication of the early church. Sharing, loving, living, and growing together.
The Fallout Family is a growing, shifting, community that has started in the gym, and expanded into people’s lives. The Fallout family forms a community that befriends and supports one and other simply because there is a relationship. Fallout is not just the martial arts, not just the firearms training, not just the relationships, the preparedness, the community… it is a bridge over the gaps. And that bridge, the safety net, the support network is what we are called to grow. Fallout Shelter Ministries is a ‘hub of unification’ a purpose-built community that’s sole purpose is to be a part of the Kingdom of God.
As we move forward into a new season, we are working to purchase a farmstead near Watertown, SD. The purpose of this place is to be a unifying hub that grows community. A place to be a safety net. A place for emergency housing, missionary training, self-defense, and martial arts training, a place of peace, to gather with your friends, to drink a coffee, make a meal to share, to pray, to give, and find hope.
We envision a place where people can learn the bible in classroom settings, learn self-defense, get a good workout, achieve in youth sports, learn to garden and how to preserve what they grow, learn to fix things, build things, and most of all, we envision a place to help restore bodies, minds, and souls.
This facility will be state of the art, it will be welcoming, safe, a place of freedom. So many times as workers in the kingdom we expect spartan accommodations, we accept lower quality, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that God wants the best for us, every good thing has been made by him. This doesn’t mean that things will be opulent, but all the construction, renovation, and equipment will be high quality and built to last.
As always, we invite you to join the family. A family that accepts you as you are and invites you to become stronger, more capable, and more loving. A family that loves you. A family that helps smooth out the bumps. A family that calls you into a relationship with the Creator of everything.