A Home for Nonprofits: Real Life Church

Real Life Church Lead Pastor Rusty George’s idea to open a second campus that houses several nonprofits began when he noticed numerous nonprofit organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley were “struggling because they were all trying to do the same thing.”

The Valencia, Calif.-based church had been supporting the nonprofits with a portion of its tithes but decided to offer office space and rents at half the going rate, George says.

“We thought, ‘What if we put several of them together?’ So we started to brainstorm and came up with this idea to create a community partnership where they can rent at a much cheaper rate and share things like copy machines, conference rooms and those kinds of things.”

The church recently opened that second location in nearby Newhall. The new campus doubles as a church and a community resource center. Called the Savia Community Center, the 23,600-square-foot building is a partnership between the church, A Light of Hope, Single Mother’s Outreach and the Domestic Violence Center. It also houses the project architect, Focus Buildings.

Formerly a vacant retail center and slated to be a grocery store, the building is now holding three services each Sunday (two English, one Spanish) in its auditorium. On the weekdays, though, it’s the base of operations for the nonprofits.

“We found our people love the idea,” George says. “They’ve supported it so we can be the hands and feet of Jesus all during the week, not just on Sundays.”

One of those nonprofits, Light of Hope, helps families with members struggling with addiction. In their community, George says, heroin use is a problem, and Light of Hope has provided counseling to affected families.

“[The new campus] is already paying a huge dividend,” says Bill Rieser, the Newhall campus pastor. “So many people are finding health and healing from life’s habits, hurts and hang-ups, and it’s already made a major impact on the community. We just launched it, and already numerous people have given their lives to Christ.”

REAL LIFE CHURCH Valencia, Calif.
Website: RealLifeChurch.org
Lead Pastor: Rusty George
Founded: 2000
Affiliation: Nondenominational
Locations: 2
Attendance: 5,105
A 2013 Outreach 100 Church
No. 25 Fastest-Growing

Troy Anderson
Troy Andersonwww.troyandersonwriter.com

An award-winning journalist at the Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise and other newspapers for two decades, Troy Anderson writes for Reuters, Newsmax, Christianity Today, Human Events, Charisma and many other media outlets. During his career, he's won more than two dozen writing awards, 2011 and 2012 Eddie Awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Irvine, Calif.