What is this place?
What are we doing?
Why are we doing that?
How can a ministry exist together with a business?
Imagine a conversation about what Fallout Shelter Ministries does, and who we serve. If ten people are standing there, odds are they have all had a different experience.
The comments 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 them!
- 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; they’re 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 school.
The interesting thing is that Fallout Shelter Ministries is all of these things and more. We have 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 are able to respond to those needs. We 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 what we do. We 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 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 doing good things that God has prepared 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 asking a question and sharing a meal with our friends Jeremy and Victoria. This resulted in a trip to Thailand less than a year later. That trip – our first longer mission trip at a full month – opened our eyes to the problem of human trafficking and set the path that introduced us to Russ Frase of Joshua Nations. He helped grow our faith and our awareness of the Holy Spirit’s work. This, in turn, 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 floodgate 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 in 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 was. We had been loving people, sharing with them, letting them know that we (and more importantly, God) see them as priceless creations. But the statement from Paul opened our eyes and hearts, making our ministry efforts more intentional. We started a missional community group. We now meet, eat, share, study scripture, and go out in mission-simple stuff like fixing something broken in someone’s home, installing security cameras at a mission facility, taking food to people who are hurting, and mourning with people. But really, the missional community is a replication of the early church: sharing, loving, living, and growing together.
The Fallout family is a growing community that has started in the gym and expanded into people’s lives. It forms a community that befriends and supports one another 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 with 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, South Dakota. The purpose of this place is to be a unifying hub that grows community…to be a safety net. It will be a place for emergency housing, missionary training, self-defense and martial arts training. It will provide a place of peace to gather with your friends, to drink a coffee, to make a meal together, to pray, to give, and to find hope.
We envision a place where people can learn the bible in a classroom setting, learn self-defense, have a place to get a good workout, 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, and a place of freedom. As workers in the kingdom, we often expect spartan accommodations and we accept lower quality. But if we are honest, we know that God wants the best for us, and 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 relationship with the Creator of everything.
Thank you for reading, friend.