EP 208 – ECONOMIC STREAMS FOR CHURCHES
Hey there Bootcampers. In this EP of the Bootcamp Jimbo and Bob take time to visit with President and founder of Three One Three, Brennon Mobley. They talk about the time Bob almost died on a float trip, how he got stolen from Jimbo and the Replant team and why Churches might explore building community space and develop economic steams for their ministry.
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp back at it again, Bob rolling into another episode, keeping the train running, even if you are a part timer on me.
Bob Bickford: Oh, come on
JimBo Stewart: and we’re gonna, we’re gonna make it happen. We’re gonna, we’re gonna keep going. I’ll just carry all the weight. I’ll do all the work.
Don’t worry about it, Bob.
Bob Bickford: Jimbo. You are more than qualified. And I’m, I’m really excited that you are stepping into that role. we did introduce my transition last episode and I was able to share that on social media, had a lot of good comments and connections with, with folks. And we spent some time in Atlanta for the summit, the replant summit was great.
And, our team got to meet. The new contractors. And so it has been a whirlwind weekend. And I think Kyle infected, most of the team and tried to kill him again with some kind of COVID thing.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. A handful of us seem to have a much milder version. Nobody’s got stuck in a hotel for two weeks this time.
Bob Bickford: Well, they’re slow starters Jimbo,
JimBo Stewart: but I think a few of us did come back with some sort of congestion, head cold type thing. So, but we survived. We’re good. We’re moving forward. You [00:01:00] know, we, we mentioned last week that you would be, leaving the replant team, head to three one three.
We did not mention. In the podcast that I would be stepping into the role of associate director. I want to make sure it was official, official. You never know how things go once corporate gets involved. And, so you want to know how I learned like officially official, like for real, this was, it actually happened.
I am now the associate director was when I got. I got an expense report request. and, and I was like, Oh, okay. It’s the real deal now. it’s, it’s official, official. So, moving forward, I think for this last month, we get to like hold hands and be associate directors together. And, then you move on to three one three and hopefully.
I see a different version of the LSU Tigers when it comes to the battle of the boot than I did see opening weekend. It hit me, Bob, that’s three years in a row that my Tigers have disappointed me on the opening game.
Bob Bickford: but it seems like they always get wound up by the time they play the Razorback. So I’m not very hopeful at this point.
JimBo Stewart: [00:02:00] Well, it’s always a game. It’s always a fun game whenever it happens.
so we’ll see in Oklahoma. We’ll be bringing some, gear with us and see who has to wear the other team’s gear.
Bob Bickford: Yes, it’s the hog hat or the pajama top and I’m shining up the hog hat and putting it in an extra suitcase and I’m pretty pumped that you’re going to potentially be wearing that in Oklahoma. I think that’s very appropriate.
JimBo Stewart: All right. Well, speaking of you and your, your exit, we have brought on, the man who stole you away from me. we, we’ve got. We’ve got, we’ve got Brennan on the podcast and a fun little fact for everybody is Brennan and I have like a six degrees of Kevin Bacon connection, that goes back quite a ways, early on in, my marriage with Audrea, we’ve been married 19 years now, and so it was.
Right after we got married. So it was about 19 years ago. my wife worked for what was at the time the [00:03:00] largest eBay clothing retailer, in the, in the world, I think. And it was at a run out of a warehouse in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. And Brennan, I think it was your father in law that was her boss at that time.
Brennon Mobley: That’s correct. Yeah, I think we found that out one night whenever I was getting to know Bob and, he was telling me about what you guys do together. The rabbit trail kept going and we realized, yeah, Andrew Waits used to employ your wife. So, small world.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, she enjoyed that. It was hard on her back, but cause it was a lot of, a lot of box lifting. But, she always remembers one of the things he said was he was having some employees that struggled with motivation and he gave this motivational speech to everybody about. how everybody’s here should be here because they want to be.
It may be that you’re competitive and you want to be really good at your job, or it may just be that you really want a paycheck. But if you can’t find a reason that you want to be here, you probably need to go somewhere else.
Brennon Mobley: That’s a good speech. That’s a good speech. Well, let your wife know that they have a forklift now. So, yeah.
JimBo Stewart: [00:04:00] okay. All right, good. They got a forklift now. That’s good to know. So she needs to step back in. She didn’t have to do all the box lifting.
Brennon Mobley: You bet.
JimBo Stewart: Hey, the other fun story I thought it’d be fun to share just as we get started, Bob, is you were telling me about as you and Brennan were getting to know each other. you guys had quite, an adventure that, I mean, it almost ended your life.
Like, you know, he almost,
Bob Bickford: I
JimBo Stewart: killed you.
Bob Bickford: think for a couple of years I was pretty fragile with COVID and about dying and then that’s the experience. But no, I mean, a mutual, acquaintance, Jason Rambo, the pastor of Baptist, church and, now hope church in East Nashville, introduced me to Brennan and Brennan told me a story and I was like, man, we have to get Brennan to come and talk at our AMS lab to tell about his story with three one three.
And so it was great. We were talking, he said, Hey, I want you to come down and see what we’re doing. And so, he invited me down and we the sites. We spent some time together and Brennan has this cabin. That’s, his father [00:05:00] in law has this cabin and they go out there and that’s a good place for him to think.
And so he said, uh, when we go to the cabin and, uh, just spend some time, we can talk and it’s just great to get out of the city. So we, we roll out there. It’s a hot day Jimbo and I’m. I’ve got my replant boot camp boots on, jeans, and my replant shirt, boot camp shirt. And, I’m not geared up, but Brendan says, let’s go floating.
And it had been raining out there, in the East side of Nashville. River was beautiful. The water was cool, took my boots off, rolled up my, my jeans, got on my, my baseball hat and off we started and we went right into a strainer. But the, but, but one of the key points was that Brendan said, like this kayak that we’re going to be on is unsinkable.
You can’t tip it over. It’s awesome. It’s great.
and so I’m
JimBo Stewart: Just like, just like the Titanic.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, there you go. I think we had life jackets near us. You know how
you do sometimes and the water’s not very deep and all that kind of stuff. So we hit this, we hit this [00:06:00] strainer and, Jimbo, I’m a, I’m a little, I’m not super tall, but I’m a taller guy and I have zero center of gravity for skateboarding, surfing, and apparently kayak balancing.
And, we hit this, we hit this strainer. And the next thing I know, yeah. I see my feet over my head, and I am in the drink, and then we are fighting for our lives. it was quite an adventure. My hat’s gone, I’m soaked, I’m swimming in jeans, I’m cutting my feet on the bottom of the stream because it’s rocks.
So, we jokingly say that Brennan tried to kill me, out at the cabin, when we were just out there getting
Brennon Mobley: Well, that’s really just the formal interview process at 313,
so, you know, after Bob survived that, I decided I liked this guy, and, you know, it was only a matter of time, so,
JimBo Stewart: that’s what I was thinking. I was thinking this is probably just something he does with everybody he’s thinking about hiring.
Brennon Mobley: for sure, for sure, and,
JimBo Stewart: It’s like a team building exercise. Trust
Bob Bickford: It’s the interview that some people don’t come back
Brennon Mobley: exactly, exactly, [00:07:00] there is a graveyard nearby, but, you know, the, uh, The reality is, we were actually, it was in October. It just was like an abnormally, warm day in October. So, there was no plan, and, and this… kayak, I didn’t realize, had a plug taken out of it, you know, that may just, a ticking time bomb, floating, but, but not at that point, it wasn’t an interview, but that was the start of a, of a relationship where, you know, got to really know Bob and respect him in a lot of different ways.
And, you know, as we continue to. You know, grow what we’re doing, you know, just beyond blessed that Bob would be willing to come on yet another adventure, you know, with us and, you know, really excited about where we’re going with that and excited to have you start it. Sorry to steal them from you Jimbo.
JimBo Stewart: Well, I will forgive you eventually. It’ll take a little while, but
I’ll get there.
Brennon Mobley: take you floating.
JimBo Stewart: come prepared.
I’ll come prepared.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: Well, man, tell us just a little bit, about yourself [00:08:00] and, about 313 and how that came to be.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah. Happy to. Well, I’m from Nashville, born and raised here. I married a girl from Hattiesburg, Mississippi named Lily. We’ve got a two year old and we’ve got another. Little one on the way here in about a month. So excited to keep growing the family. But 313 started back five years ago, whenever I was in church one day, looking around the building, really distracted from the sermon.
And I was in between endeavors. I’ve been looking at buying a building, turning it into a coworking space. And I thought this would be a great thing for me to spend some time on until I get hit with. You know, an idea or an opportunity that allows me to use my gifts, talents, pleasures to impact, not pleasures, allows me to use my gifts, talents, and treasures, to impact the kingdom.
and I just was thinking about doing that already, then I got distracted in church, looking around and started to think, why can’t I do this inside of a church? You know, they said empty.[00:09:00] 313 days a year. you know, could we do this in a way that draws people inside that may never enter on a Sunday, create opportunities for connections and collisions.
but we also do this in a way that provides financial sustainability to the church, which is something that’s near and dear to my heart. So. That’s where the, the journey began five years ago and, you know, it’s been a journey that has been continuing to ever unfold. So, yeah, that’s the, that’s the short story of it.
Bob Bickford: So Brendan, when you had this idea, you began to test it out and you began to get some feedback. Tell me what the response responses were when you began to float this idea to pastors or leaders of a local church.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah, I got overwhelming feedback that there is a desire. There’s a supply, you could call it, you know, on space that’s available. But, you know, the real gap that I saw was, you know, the desire and the recognition. recognizing the need, but then what do we do with it? And so,[00:10:00] that’s where I realized, you know, what, where I started formula, you know, what would it take in order to make this happen?
So when I’m hired a branding firm and I went out and I met a pastor that said, we’ve been praying about this. You can do it tomorrow if you want to. And then I haven’t really had to decide, you know, whether or not I was going to, you know, commit my time to it. And so, yeah, we decided to go for it. I feel like the Lord said go for it because. What else was I doing with my time? and really continue just to open door after door, you know, and people started to show up, we realized that we could make people feel comfortable inside of a church, whether they feel comfortable inside of a church on Sunday or not, and break down some of those barriers, you know, that may have existed otherwise.
JimBo Stewart: What have been some of the success stories? I mean, how much, how many churches have you done this with so far and what have been kind of. the, what’s been the impact on the church and the feedback you’ve gotten, not just from the concept, but it actually being executed in these churches.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah. So we’ve done it with five [00:11:00] different churches. You know, we’ve done co working. We do event space, and now we’ve recently launched a coffee endeavor called Surefire. but, you know, the thing that makes me most excited is whenever I hear the stories of what I call collisions. And so that’s whenever somebody who wasn’t seeking a church or didn’t expect for them to make a meaningful relationship with, you know, someone that goes to that church or a staff member.
You know, whenever those things take place, you know, to me, that’s… That’s the highlight of it all. So I could list out a lot of them, but you know, one would be, you know, there’s a guy named Brian. He started going to work at a 313 location. Next thing you know. His coworker gets baptized there. He starts becoming, you know, in their deacon and trading program.
And, and there’s, there’s probably about another hundred stories like that, but the ones where, you know, there’s meaningful life change that at the end of the day is, you know, what it’s all about, you know, whenever someone. You know, it was made a disciple, that wasn’t [00:12:00] searching for it already. You know, that’s, that’s what really gets me excited.
There’s a financial component too, which is also exciting to see, you know, a church that wasn’t able to take care of certain things inside of their building or, you know, had a staff position once they were wanting to hire. You know, those are also, you know, great wins, too. but the life changes are the, you know, by and large, the most meaningful.
Bob Bickford: Some of the, the challenges for the local church trying to consider how, how do we use this facility that we have, this asset that we have? How do we steward it? Well, what are some of the characteristics of an ideal candidate church that partners with three one three?
Brennon Mobley: Yeah, so, there’s a lot of different factors. You know, first thing that we look for are churches that are missionally aligned. You have to be willing to open up your front door to the community. Cause whenever people come in, if you’re gonna view those as inconveniences, uh, then there’s gonna be a lot of friction there, you know, if your desire is to have those collisions and that’s the DNA [00:13:00] of your church, you know, that’s really, you know, the first step to having a winning relationship and a great opportunity together.
from a practical standpoint, not every church has the right property zoning to accommodate multipurpose use almost any property district or region will have a special exemption where church can go into a residential area, industrial area, any type of area. But whenever you start layering it. And it’s important that it is also for that, because that exception doesn’t always apply, especially, you know, when it comes to residential areas.
So, when a church is looking at whether it’s a good fit for them to do 313 or something else doesn’t really matter because it can just create guardrails for the. Uh, amount of creativity that you’re able to have on site.
JimBo Stewart: So to follow up questions for you, one, uh, do you think as [00:14:00] you guys have added coffee to this, that you could help me finally turn Bob Bickford into a coffee drinker? and, then two, how, how does the church figure out? Their zoning and what they’re able to do. I know there’s a super connected and so you’ll be able to do that real smoothly.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah, super connected for sure. Yeah, I think I’m going to turn Bob Bickford into a coffee drinker is the short answer. because, the reality is, I’ve had to become a coffee drinker. To me, one of the most, you know, meaningful parts of the coffee, operation is the connection that takes place across the counter.
And the ability to do that at a, higher volume, touch more people in the community. Um, and so, you know, being around that environment and appreciating, you know, that part, which is a really a key driver. I know Bob is, you know, someone that strives for success and all things. So I know that he, if he’s going to be the cop around coffee, he’s going to want to know what’s good is like.
And so he’s going to be dipping his toe probably in the. [00:15:00] And to, uh, into that bin a little bit. So, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll like smooth them in with some mochas. And then, like, we’ll gradually give them just, you know, just drinking shots.
JimBo Stewart: Excellent.
Bob Bickford: I’m on board with the shots cause it’s just a small amount of coffee and I could just knock it back and have it over
with. So I just, just do.
Brennon Mobley: Yeah. We’ll get you, we’ll get you to where you’re craving those. So, but, the, other question was, how does a church determine their zoning? Is that, is
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So, so if a church, if pastor’s hearing this and he’s going, Hey man, this might be a way that we could one, engage the community to create an income stream or, or supplement. You know, but obviously zoning becomes really important in that. So I, I, I would guess the large majority of pastors that listen to this podcast or just pastors in general when they hear that go, man, I have no idea how to figure out if we’re zoned.
Like I don’t even know what I would do to figure out if we’re zoned correctly for that.[00:16:00]
Brennon Mobley: Yeah, that’s that’s something that we always offer to help churches look up, at any time so we can share a link that if you want to, you know, throw it in the description that we can help the church figure out how to do that. But, you know, it’s really knowing how to navigate whatever your local zoning ordinances are and, you know, decipher, you know, where your property hits, on a map and, the follow on effects from that.
So, you know, a good way to also just without going into, you know, far and deep research is if you look around, you know, outside your building, you know, if you’re next door to, you know, a commercial building, the likelihood that your building is also zoned commercial is probably high. If you’re surrounded by houses, then most likely you might be, zoned residential.
There’s exceptions for both. Uh, but that’s like a really easy, you know, at a, at a surface of it’s a way to get an idea.
Bob Bickford: Brennan, as you look in the, horizon and you think [00:17:00] about the next several years of the local church in the ministry, why does a partnership with a company like 313 begin to make sense for a local congregation?
Brennon Mobley: Yeah, I think we have things that we focus on that we try to do really well, and that is reach, you know, people in the community from a ministry or marketplace, you know, tables and chairs sitting across from each other. and with that comes a lot of operational requirements that, you know, is what we really focus on as our ministry, and we want to enable the church to participate in that and be a lead in that, but to be able to focus on what they do best, which is this ministry relationship building, you know, formation, discipleship.
So the value that we add is coming alongside as a partner, in the endeavor. and taking care of those operational needs so that that ministry can take place.
JimBo Stewart: That’s one of the things I love about what you guys do because I think obviously this model Is something that, uh, [00:18:00] provided your zoning is right and those sorts of things, any church in any location could start to explore how to do, but without a partner like 313, there becomes a pretty large amount of operational stuff that now has to.
Sit on the on somebody’s mind probably the pastor, as he’s dealing with that And so, I love that you guys take care of that. for those that you’re able to service so so again two questions for you one is Where, like, so if you guys are looking to do this and other opportunities, where are, where are you looking to do that?
So if we have listeners in those areas, they can know they need to reach out to you. and then the followup to that would be for pastors that are not in those areas, what are, what’s some advice if, if they think, you know, how could I find a partner or, or start to do something or just think through, ways to, approach engaging my community, as in, in this way.
What advice would you have for them? So first for those that would be in your area and then two for those that wouldn’t
Brennon Mobley: Yeah. Well, obviously [00:19:00] we’re in Nashville currently, but we’re thankful to have Bob on our team. And that’s a strategic addition as we expand the markets beyond Nashville. So, we’re actively, you know, working on expanding into the Atlanta area. And then there’s a few other top cities that are, right behind it.
So, right now we’re in a wait list building mode. and then for churches that maybe aren’t in a major, city center, you know, if you’re in a rural, congregation, you know, I would encourage any church to look at… What your, what your building has, you know, view it as an asset, not a burden, you know, understand what your zoning, is and while you may not be able to do co working office space or a coffee shop, you know, there may be other things that you can do, whether it’s, you know, hosting a farmer’s market, you know, or a community center or hosting another, you know, church plant to meet on site, you know, the, what we do.
You know, that you have has the opportunity to be a great asset. you know, [00:20:00] I think in dreaming, even if it’s within tighter guide rail or a guardrails, you know, it’s important to do, and thinking how you can best position it, you know, from a longterm sustainability standpoint.
Bob Bickford: So Brendan, as, you have launched this company, it’s been five years old. Now, what are some of the things that, um, you see now that you, you maybe barely saw or didn’t see as you were visioning, dreaming in that church service, what, what are some cool things that have come into reality for you that have just kind of captured your heart and your passion still to this day?
Brennon Mobley: Yeah. I think whenever I first envisioned it, I envisioned just a couple of people that would be. You know, sitting around some, you know, nice tables with access to some coffee, you know, in, in really a small scale, you know, operation. But what’s been really cool is to, to see companies that have come into the space.
You know, they’ve obviously, you know, made connections, you know, with, uh, the local congregation. but, you know, seeing [00:21:00] them grow and then continue to, you know, blossom and, you know, outgrow, you know, a whole new facility that they had to move to after 313 and, you know, see their success stories. you know, see opportunities for people that are in the church that maybe they aren’t on staff, but they’re able to plug in to what’s happening on site throughout the week.
And while they might be an accountant, you know, Monday through Friday, they’re able to work out of that spot and do it as a gospel outpost, you know, to make connections with other folks. you know, the, addition of coffee. You know, in our, first couple months of being open, you know, we, we noticed that, you know, that walk up window creates over 2, 000 interactions with unique people a month.
that’s just a scale of interactions that I, hadn’t even thought about was possible whenever we were first thinking about this idea. So, um, those are things that are, you know, are exciting to me and really encouraging me to, you know, keep pushing forward with what we’re doing.
JimBo Stewart: I [00:22:00] love it. We’re going to put a link in the show notes, to where people can see more. Bob shared it on his Facebook when he, announced that he’d be heading to three one three in, if nothing else, they can connect with you guys and just learn a little more about how to explore these ideas, even if they’re not in Nashville or Atlanta, or get on a wait list for one of the other cities.
I think you guys have some great wisdom for them to, to gather from either way. and. So this comes out right as we have finished Revive Birmingham. And so you got two more chances to, to catch Bob, officially part of the replant team will be in Nashville, which will be his new home soon, for replant middle Tennessee.
And then we’ll be in Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Oklahoma city. As he wraps up his replant farewell tour. and so we’re grateful to have him grateful to have you on the podcast today, Brennan, appreciate you coming. And, if you invite me out to float with you, I’m going to come very prepared.
Brennon Mobley: You’ll have a ticket, ticket in your inbox here soon.[00:23:00]
JimBo Stewart: All right, everybody have a good one.