Christian & Stefenie Sawyer
Founders, President and CEO
Christian & Stefenie have a heart for community ministry. They have a dream to see churches, non- profits, businesses and faith-based organizations, work together to see God’s love in action in our world. They’ve been privileged to serve in a diverse group of ministries over the last 16 years. Originally from Allentown, Pa, the Sawyers moved to Chicago in 1999 for what they thought would be a short journey as Christian finished his masters degree. This would instead turn out to be an “11 year and two kids later”, kind of journey. “We love Chicago and it will always have a special place in our hearts”.
Christian spent 10 years working for Wheaton College in the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Il. He received his Masters in Biblical and Theologic Studies from Wheaton College and a BA from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Stefenie worked for 8 years at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Il, where she caught the bug for organization and team development. This inspired her to go back to college at North Park University to get a BA in Church and Ministry Management/ Non-Profit Management. Their time in Chicago allowed them to see the Kingdom of God from a different angle and its ability to impact the community on a large scale. They would also connect with the Christian Community Development Association in 2007; where to this day, they receive regular training and inspiration to focus on grassroots, faith-based community development. www.ccda.org
In 2010, they answered the call to move to Benton Harbor, Michigan. Lead Pastor Brian Bennett, of Overflow Church, took a faith-fill risk and asked them to join a movement. They began Mosaic Christian Community Development Association (MCCDA), along with a team of three other couples.Their primary role was to start Mosaic Resale Store and the programs of the MCCDA. The businesses and programs served to financially support the broader non-profit and also support the “hands on” experience of the students in the Jobs for Life program. Within the first year, they’d experience what can only be explained as special. The MCCDA would see 13 churches, numerous faith-based organizations and non-profits working together. They’d lead events that created unity instead of competition or division. They’d be part of launching three social enterprises and a number of community outreach programs. As their hearts grew, their eyes continued to open to the beauty of their community on a daily basis. “This time for us was a life altering experience. We can only hope to see God move like that again”. In 2013, they handed Mosaic Resale and Cafe over to the team on the ground to take to the next level. www.mosaicccda.com
In June of 2013, their call would lead them to go back to their home town of Allentown, Pa, to begin a new journey. With a clear whisper from God, “Go home and do there what you’ve done here”;they’d pack up and move. Their first two years in Allentown, lead them to be part of a local church in the community, but not yet be able to reflect all they were called to do. This restlessness would inspire them to step out on their own in January 2016 to start The Nehemiah Collaborative.
“We believe with all our hearts, that churches can and should work together to see communities experience the abundant life Jesus promises. Abundant communities have affordable housing, jobs that provide for families and a network of resources that promote freedom from chains that bind; all with Jesus message of love at the center. It’s our life long mission to see this happening in struggling communities and see the church front, center and leading this movement”.