CNC Church plant partners with local business to keep it running while owner in hospital with COVID

Mandy Johnson

Director of Placement

  • Church & pastoral health
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  • Church strengthening
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  • Leadership

Pastor Mark had a fateful lunch appointment that ended with conversation with the owner of this small sandwich shop, Doug McCulloch, in Shoreview, MN. “Before I left, Doug told me he overheard that we were a small startup church and he wanted to help, and that we were welcome everyday for as long as we wanted to be there.” It turned out that the owner was himself a former church planter and wanted to help Pursuit. “I came back the next day. He had pushed some tables together and installed a table top charger for computers. It was a sunny spot with fast Wi-Fi. We started working out of there everyday.” A relationship began to form between Pursuit and The Winkin Rooster. “Over time, we became like a family, working together day in and day out. From time to time, staff members at Pursuit would voluntarily help Doug with large catering orders, working the register during a rush or even giving marketing advice (a church planters specialty). “We learned his business and knew his heart. He also pitched in for Pursuit at big events with food preparation, service and manning grills. It was a beautiful partnership.”

And then COVID hit.

In April, when MN went through a prolonged stay at home order, it hit small businesses and restaurants very hard. “The Winkin’ Rooster was doing everything they could to pivot to online ordering and more catering orders to stay in business. We understood this shift as our new little church seemingly transitioned to online overnight. In many ways we were going through the same struggle.” Both Pursuit and The Winkin’ Rooster quickly changed to meet the challenge of the new realities of COVID. “We bonded a lot during that time, strategizing how a church and a small business could get better each week and find ways to thrive even with the limitations.”

Then, in October, after a family wedding, Doug got COVID. It started with mild symptoms but progressed until he ended up in the hospital. “Obviously we were worried for Doug’s health and keeping tabs on that but he was worried for his business.” The Winkin’ Rooster shut down for 2 full weeks while Doug was in the hospital. “We had to do something. We decided to open up the shop without him while he recovered. We didn’t really ask for permission, we just got some people together and went for it.” Volunteers from Pursuit took over the social media and ran the business for over a week with help from the family and other supporters. After appealing on social media, people flooded in and asked how they could help. “We estimated that Winkin’ had lost thousands of dollars in a few short weeks so we created a fundraiser, designed some t-shirts and offered them to anyone who gave.” In just over a week, Pursuit collected over $7k to help the business and support Doug taking his time getting back to work. After a prolonged fight,  Doug is back to work and feeling stronger every day.  “A small business owner is so wrapped up in the work, the Winkin Rooster is Doug, we needed to do something to care for our friend. Everyone in our church has been blessed by him and this was a chance to have his back. It's exactly what Jesus would have done.”

Mandy Johnson, Director of Placement

Director of Placement

Additional articles by Mandy Johnson