“Last year, Professor Wayne Downing and I met with a group of pastors about how to generate additional sources of revenue for their church startups and smaller congregations,” Professor Matthew DeYoung said.
DeYoung, a professor at Grace Christian University, had a bright idea for generating sources of revenue for smaller churches, and he created a project which involved students from one of his business courses and turned it into a successful model. The project was designed to encourage his students to think strategically and be creative without a lot of guidance.
“We hoped this project would create a model for other churches to follow,” DeYoung said. The group partnered with Home Acres Reformed Church, a local church in the Grand Rapids area. Students created a 40-page business plan and a grant proposal which earned the church a $10,000 grant.
DeYoung earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Grand Valley State University, and his master’s degree with an emphasis in international business from Cornerstone University, both located in the greater Grand Rapids area.
“This project forced the students to create, think strategically, and work without a large amount of direction and guidance from the professor,” DeYoung said. “I challenged them to see the church as a client who deserved incredible customer service,” he said.
The class was filled with enthusiastic seniors who were up for the task, and that made the project a success. Grace Christian University, known for its biblical foundation and spiritual environment, has worked with numerous local churches, including Reformed churches, in the area. This partnership has tremendously impacted the institution in a positive way.
“The leadership of Grace Christian University continues to challenge us as faculty to create experiential learning opportunities for our students,” said DeYoung.
Written by Montae Harris, 2018 Graduate