More than a Church

By Jennifer Johnson

A few years ago, Rusty George had the opportunity to participate in a meeting with the mayor and local business leaders to discuss area needs.

Savia brings together dynamic nonprofit organizations and the faith community of Real Life Church under one roof.
Savia brings together dynamic nonprofit organizations and the faith community of Real Life Church under one roof.

“A local car dealer mentioned how nice it would be if nonprofits could work together and share costs,” says George, lead pastor of Real Life Church in Valencia, CA. “We were just getting ready to open a second site, and I thought how great it would be to have a church building that didn’t sit empty during the week and, instead, housed a variety of nonprofits that could share coffee pots and conference rooms.”

From this small brainstorm, Savia—Real Life’s second campus—was born. It’s home not only to the church’s Spanish services and its college ministry, but also four organizations meeting a range of needs. As the name suggests, Single Mothers Outreach equips and empowers single parents and their children. The Domestic Violence Center works to break the cycle of abuse while providing support, counseling, and resources to victims. A Light of Hope works with drug-addicted teens and their families, and Focus Building Solutions provides innovative architectural design.

“We started by looking at who we were already supporting as a church and also what groups were most in need of the space,” George says. “We also considered what needs were most prevalent in our community; unfortunately, we have a huge drug problem, especially with teenagers using heroin, so we wanted to make space for a group reaching those struggling in this area.”

Savia means “vitality” or “lifeblood,” and Real Life developed the campus to be a life-giving part of its community. George says the church is talking about its third campus—and talking about how it can serve that area in a similarly meaningful way.

www.savia.org

www.reallifechurch.org

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