WHY WE EXIST
THE SOZO GROUP, A NONPROFIT CORPORATION:
- Provides consulting services to Christian artists, churches and ministries for the purposes of outreach evangelism; and
- Unites the Kingdom of God through coordinated grass-roots outreach efforts.
CAN NONPROFITS CHARGE A FEE FOR SERVICES? Yes. Revenue-generating activities (besides fundraising) are critical in building a sustainable nonprofit organization. Many nonprofits are finding ways to create revenue streams from the services they offer that directly relate to their mission. By establishing reasonable service fees, Christian churches and ministries are finding themselves in better positions to afford professional services for purposes of outreach.
For Consulting Services: We provide consulting services to Christian artists, churches & ministries focused on strategy, planning, marketing, communications, and fundraising for purposes of outreach evangelism.
For Outreach Events: We are a collaborative of Christian worshippers, musicians, speakers, and artists sparking revival in UNITY through creative events that pursue the presence of God and allow for encounters with Him.
For Consulting Services: To provide affordable, cutting-edge outreach tools to partners; to locate "boots on the ground" resources needed to strategically advance the Kingdom of God.
For Outreach Events: To unite the Kingdom of God through grass-roots outreach methods. We desire to reach millions with a clear gospel presentation and to introduce the Biblical concept of "Sozo," which encompasses the protection of our minds, the healing of our bodies, and the deliverance of our souls through Jesus Christ.
OUR CASE STATEMENT: UNDERSTANDING INDUSTRY TRENDS
TECHNOLOGICAL & ECONOMIC TRENDS
People are utilizing technology to seek more information about God. People are watching videos, reading articles & blogs online, going to specific ministry websites and/or church social media pages, downloading/listening to Christian podcasts, sermons, song playlists, & eBooks, watching TV evangelists, and looking up scriptures on their smart phones. Because of the breadth of resources already out there and readily available, people are simply learning bits and pieces of information and remain unconvinced that they need to go deeper with their learning or fail to understand the importance of a local church for ongoing discipleship and support.
The Sozo Group wants to bridge this gap by educating new believers that they need both: ongoing discipleship from a local church and relevant Bible self-studies that they can complete in their own quiet time with God. An online discipleship tool called SimpleBeliever is one technology tool we hope to promote to our ministry partners and followers. Another goal is also to help local churches easily locate and utilize relevant resources and trainings for the purposes of outreach and discipleship and to create better avenues online to share resources with our ministry partners.
Overall church attendance is declining in the United States. Further, the average-sized American church (under 200 members) typically does not have a budget (or mindset) in place that focuses on local community outreach. For this reason, it makes perfect sense for churches to UNIFY their efforts when it comes to community outreach for purposes of evangelism.
Our need is great. We need to identify, train, and release individuals into their specific ministry callings so that they can serve at the specific churches that they’re involved with. From there, these “trained” disciples apply what they’ve learned into the marketplace. In the Bible, we notice that God always reaches out to those that did not know Him and that He certainly did not wait for people to come into a synagogue/church building to have an encounter with Him. Similarly, Jesus mirrored the same behavior. He simply went out into the marketplace to reach those far from faith.
And while the local church remains vitally important, it’s only a small avenue of where ministry should be conducted. In contrast, the MARKETPLACE, which includes our homes, businesses, education, government, media, and arts/entertainment/sports…that’s where the majority of ministry should be conducted. Meaningful ministry comes through the power of personal invitation and a commitment to discipleship - and that happens when we naturally interact with family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends that know our stories. It’s us, as followers of Christ, who impact others with the help of the Holy Spirit. And while God (and His Word) remain constant forever, the methods by which we “reach” people that the Bible determines to be "far from faith"… these methods will constantly change. If we truly wish to reach the poor and destitute, the Church needs to have open hearts and minds as to what that REALLY looks like.
Church leaders play an extremely vital role of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, but if that ministry only means church programming, then the saints will not know how to partner with the Holy Spirit in actually making an impact in the dying world around them. According to research, most Christians interact, work, and in lot of cases live with unbelievers over 80 percent of the time.
The Sozo Group wants to help churches perform outreach through new methods that involve meeting people out in the marketplace. We plan to offer low-cost, cutting-edge outreach resources to our ministry partners because of outside donor support. Further, outreach events coordinated in unity not only conserve resources and bring the Church community together in larger numbers, but also demonstrate spiritual maturity thus improving the Church’s credibility among those who question the religiousness and division that has occurred within the Christian faith.
POLITICAL & SOCIAL TRENDS
The spiritual conditions of our communities are weak, causing massive infirmity across the nations. World viewpoints directly conflict with the Bible’s stance, causing major division. Liberal influences receive more media attention than conservative Christian viewpoints. America’s original intention for religious freedom, as outlined by our founding fathers, is being stripped away. The concept of the nuclear family is no longer viewed important or desirable anymore. Instead, our country teaches us to be inclusive and tolerant of individuals’ preferences vs. God's will for His children.
Christianity continues to decline because we don’t see the benefits. Many people appear to be uninspired by the typical church experience. Instead, many American families have chosen to participate in extra curricular activities that directly conflict with church services and programing. In many cases, churches are perceived as judgmental “religious country clubs” that are not focused on helping people achieve Sozo. Our current culture discredits Biblical teaching and instead promotes self-centered “feel-good” ways of living. Lastly, many people that do believe in Jesus Christ are not taught how to have a personal relationship with Him, or that they can seek the Holy Spirit anytime for wisdom, truth, and guidance before making life decisions.
Therefore, the challenge to reach the nonbeliever is high. The Sozo Group desires to reach mainstream media so that more conservative Christian viewpoints are heard and more Biblical truths can be shared with the world. Our goal is to make Jesus Christ epically famous in this day and age. To help nonbelievers realize there is no other source that offers salvation (eternal life), healing, power, freedom, or unconditional love. That Jesus IS the only answer. If we wait around for people to decide to visit a church to possibly understand this truth, we will miss out on a large percentage of our population. Instead, it’s time to take ‘the Church’ out into the marketplace.
MINISTRY SWOT ANALYSIS
- We have a demonstrated passion for reaching people “far from faith” because of our past mistakes and sins and the redemption we’ve personally found through Jesus Christ.
- We have discipline, obedience and trust in the Holy Spirit, Who reveals opportunities for us to participate in unity outreach and discipleship programs.
- We have the ability to connect with, strategize with, and unite ministries with common outreach and discipleship goals.
- We have proven expertise in fundraising, promoting community events, and serving local communities for purposes of outreach.
- We have connections to businesses and organizations that already provide outreach to the poor and destitute.
- Unity movements are huge challenges that lack any individual reward. Our vision is a giant one (through the eyes of the world) and it is not possible without God’s help.
- Our desire and tendency to help ‘everybody’ causes us take on more projects than we can effectively manage. Therefore, finding enough workers to keep up with the demand will be challenging (but not impossible) with God.
- We have not secured any major financial backers (yet). We’ve raised significant amounts for outreach events, but not very much towards the operational expenses needed to effectively manage this ministry. We plan to implement a detailed fundraising campaign to overcome this weakness.
- We have not applied for our 501(c)3 status (yet). Instead, we seek approval to become an operating project under The New Horizons Foundation who will instead manage and govern the ministry’s operational needs for a nominal administrative fee.
- Any unforgiveness that remains from past relationship problems and/or sinful behaviors (despite our redemption through Jesus Christ) could prevent future opportunities for partnership between individuals or groups based on issues of faith and trust.
- For the body of Christ to study God’s Word together, on the subject of Unity, and then come into agreement that God want His church to be united for outreach.
- The chance to provide Christian artists, churches and ministries with affordable marketing resources that are proven effective for outreach.
- The chance for churches and ministries to participate in unity events that will help them: 1) expand their reach to places they don’t normally go, 2) conserve resources needed to plan, coordinate, and market them, 3) learn important information about other local ministries, and 4) receive increased exposure in the community for their church/ministry.
- The opportunity to inspire Christians to go back to church on a regular basis, spend daily time in prayer with God, and to diligently study His Word.
- The opportunity to motivate Christians to cultivate relationships with people who are far from faith and show them how to personally disciple them with the help of the Church. To help others utilize the power of relational invitation for purposes of outreach.
- The opportunity to help the Church fundraise for larger outreach events, thus spreading revival throughout Chicagoland. Then, we watch the effects ripple out towards the rest of the world.
- The opportunity to tap into supporters, advocates, volunteers and donors outside the church that are ill-informed about the concept of tithing and how it advances the Kingdom and their personal relationships with God.
- To be involved in initiatives that promote Christianity as something popular, mainstream, and interesting. The chance to make Jesus epically famous in this nation (with the help of God and many, many others) so that He is the center of our world in these end times.
- More and more people are turning away from God, discrediting His promise of eternal life - denying that the wages of sin is permanent death. We are finding that more people are of the mindset that everyone goes to Heaven. What’s more disturbing is that many believe Hell doesn’t exist at all, or if it does, that it will be a more “fun” place to hang out than Heaven. For this reason, people need a gentle (yet thorough) education about what the Bible actually says about death and about Hell (and the way to avoid this destiny). Those experiencing doubt may want to read personal testimonies about people who’ve actually experienced Heaven or Hell so they can make an informed decision about Salvation.
- Creating an environment of unity is tough, laborious work and will no doubt require the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- We anticipate opposition, ridicule and mocking from the enemy through various groups of people (religious and nonreligious) that will not understand or agree with our methods for outreach out in the marketplace. We’re prepared to endure spiritual warfare for the cause of evangelism outreach and the Great Commission.
- Not all ministries will trust “outsiders” that come along offering new resources or wanting to lead unity movements, which is an understandable argument. We all should remain protective and careful of our flocks. However, we can’t forget that it’s Christ who redeems us from our pasts and He is the one who gives us new hopes, dreams and callings to advance the Christian faith. Despite this fact, not all believers will be able to refrain from making personal judgments about each other (based on the past) rather than submitting to Christ’s ultimate judgment of every soul when He returns. Therefore, unforgiveness and doubt will remain in the hearts of many (for our past indiscretions) which will certainly hinder our effectiveness in partnering together. As a result, many will decline our invitation for partnership (based on our old characters, behaviors) and thus will turn their backs towards on events and outreach methods (that appear beneficial) due to their lack of trust in our present character and position within this ministry.
OUR MARKETING STRATEGY
OUR TARGET MARKET
For Consulting Services: Bible-believing Christian churches, ministries, and individual artists who want to be involved with outreach.
For Outreach Events: Groups looking to improve the spiritual condition of their communities. Businesses and organizations looking to support Christ-centered events and initiatives. Individuals that are seeking Sozo (protection, healing, and deliverance).
For Consulting Services:
Segment #1: Bible-believing Christian pastors, evangelists, and leaders
Segment #2: Christian recording artists, speakers and writers
Segment #3: Individual Christian churches, smaller-sized ministries
Segment #4: Christian colleges, ministerial associations
For Outreach Events:
Segment #1: Bible-believing Christian churches, ministries & unity groups
Segment #2: Christian worship collectives, performing arts associations
Segment #3: Christian elected officials (especially mayors)
Segment #4: City government, chambers of commerce, park districts
Segment #5: Christian universities, colleges and schools
Segment #6: Business owners and corporations with a heart for evangelism that can financially support the mission.
Segment #7: Charitable organizations and social service agencies already serving the poor and destitute in our community.
WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE?
There's a limited number of organizations focused on unified Christian outreach strategies.
For Consulting Services: Clients will begin to appreciate the value of outreach-focused consulting. Proposals and agreements will reflect the full, competitive prices so that clients remain educated (as many are not accustomed to paying for services) about a project’s actual value. From there, depending project workloads and our personal level of “passion” towards helping a particular client (who cannot afford the full price) we may choose to scholarship (partial or full) portions of a project. We plan to limit scholarships to a particular amount each quarter based on workload and resources available. Our rock bottom pricing is $45/hour for businesses and $30/hour for nonprofit ministries.
For Ministry Events: Outreach events will always be free to the community. Fundraising campaigns are utilized to make this possible.
WHAT WE OFFER THE COMMUNITY:
Sozo Consulting Services:
- Christian Artist "Agent Services" (Booking, Marketing & Promotions)
- Book Content Revision & Coaching for Writers, Authors & Ministry Leaders
- Custom Copywriting (Newsletters, Blogs, Flyers, Media Kits, Sales Decks, Bios)
- Coaching for Ministries (Strategy & Planning, Content Marketing Evaluations)
- Email Marketing Campaigns (Configuration, Writing, & Design)
- Invitational Resources & Media Toolkits for Church Programs & Services
- Marketplace Ministerial Training (Through Partner Ministries)
- Social Media (Strategy, Calendaring, Help Getting Started, Monthly Programs)
- Websites (Evaluations, Creations, Reviews or Renewals)
Sozo Outreach Programs:
Creative/relevant programming and outreach events for the community at-large and ongoing financial support for local missions (in partnership with area churches) that include:
- Community Block Parties for all Ages (i.e. Dellwood Block Party)
- Concerts at Popular Hot Spots (i.e. Shine Concert)
- Serving the Poor & Destitute (i.e. Food Pantries)
- Creative Arts Activities (i.e. Peace by Piece Mosaic Study)
- Weekend Spiritual Retreats (i.e. Unity Women's Retreats)
- Recreational Activities (i.e. Martial Arts Programs, Dance/Sports Tournaments)
- Evangelism Outreach Training Programs (i.e. A Faith that Overflows or Kingdom Construction Crew)
- Unity Worship Events (i.e. Renew Movement or Karitos Christian Arts Association)
These are examples of opportunities to "be the church" in our local communities in order to improve their spiritual conditions. We intend to lift up all those who've lost hope due to their "circumstances" which often include poverty, sickness, depression, addiction, and loneliness. We plan to introduce the concept of "Sozo" into the community, which offers the hope they are looking for - salvation, healing, and deliverance through Jesus Christ. A decision for Christ is only the first step. From there, we intend to offer discipleship opportunities that encourage new believers to plug into local churches.
OUR GOALS & OBJECTIVES
WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS & ADVOCACY!
THE FINANCIAL DRIVERS NEEDED FOR SUCCESS:
1) To be accepted by The New Horizons Foundation as an operating project as soon as possible. To accomplish this, The Sozo Group needs to immediately raise $2,000. That's the amount we need to submit with our final application paperwork. It's simply what's required for the project to be officially opened and managed under their 501(c)3 sponsorship. From there, 95% of what is fundraised stays with The Sozo Group, always. (Note: This is an amazingly low administrative fee for the amount of work this organization will manage for the ministry.)
2) To file our nonprofit incorporation charter application and articles of incorporation with the State of Illinois by 6/17.
3) To fundraise approximately $20k for ministry start-up expenses by 12/17.
(See projected expenses/budget for more details).
4) To fundraise $33k for Dellwood Block Party Outreach (Lockport) by 9/17.
5) To implement an Executive Director salary by 2018.
HUMAN CAPITAL FOR THE KINGDOM: THE PEOPLE WE SERVE
1) To “lock arms” with enough ministry partners to fund all the administrative costs needed to run the ministry ($20k). 2017 Goal: 20 churches/ministries ($500/year) and 10 businesses/corporations ($1,000+/year).
2) To attract 6-8 volunteers (with the proper skill sets) to serve on our Board of Directors for the next 2 years.
3) To secure 3-5 volunteers willing to work part-time (with consistency) in order to expand the ministry in 2017.
4) To secure 10 ministry clients willing to invest in professional consulting services.
5) To reach 3,000 at the Dellwood Block Party Outreach 9/17.
6) To reach 10,000 through social media with the concept of Sozo in 2017.
THE BUSINESS PROCESSES THAT WE’LL NEED:
1) To continue praying daily. To hold quarterly strategic planning sessions in order to manage/coordinate various ministry calendars wanting to be involved in unity outreaches.
2) To improve communication methods for ministry supporters, followers and project task forces involved with our outreach events.
3) To learn more metrics as to how people came to know about our events as well as more feedback (by way of survey) about the actual outreach events themselves.
4) To form a social media plan (editorial calendar) for both our consulting services offerings and our ministry outreaches in 2017. To allocate time and/or find the appropriate resources (interns/volunteers) to manage these social media campaigns.
5) To have strict adherence and compliance to The New Horizons Foundations policies and procedures since we are going under their governance for 501(c)3 administration.
6) To establish a financial accounting system that’s in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). To utilize QuickBooks online for bookkeeping needs; To create financial reports and documentation required by The New Horizons Foundation, State of Illinois, and Internal Revenue Service.
THE LEARNING & GROWTH WE’LL NEED TO DO:
1) To continue studying the Bible and spend daily time with God.
2) To obtain the proper mindset and attitude to achieve unity goals in Chicago.
3) To secure volunteers that are fluent in Spanish and willing to translate materials.
4) To write blog posts, newsletters, and e-mails that will grow our reach. To increase our e-mail subscriber mailing list from 350 to 700.
5) To partner with the New Horizons Foundation, Outreach.com, Chicago HUB (His United Body), America’s Reconciliation, Karitos Christian Arts Association, A Faith Overflows Ministries, Kingdom Construction Crew, and Thrive to Revive in order to achieve a greater sense of Chicago Unity in Christ.
6) To have increased success with the press, public radio and secular TV networks. To be involved in media initiatives that promote Christianity as something “popular”. To strive to make Jesus famous again (with the help of God and others) so that He becomes the center of our world.
THE MARKETING STUFF THAT’S NEEDED:
1) To create a sales deck (PowerPoint presentation) and professional short overview video that simply explains/illustrates The Sozo Group’s ministry goals and strategic plan.
2) To create a recap video of the 2016 Dellwood Block Party that would “spark” other communities to plan and coordinate unity outreach events.
3) To be recognized as a ministry that businesses and community organizations want to support and partner with.
4) To implement processes and marketing systems that intentionally grow the ministry. To secure social media experts with a passion for evangelism.
5) To hire a website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Consultant that will improve/increase our exposure when internet searched. To secure a Wikipedia page for our brand. To claim a Google+ page for the ministry.