Christians are called by God to support one another, to connect with those in need, and to be a light in a dark world. However, connecting with one another and with those who have not accepted the gospel does not have a one-size-fits-all formula. It takes a willingness to use our gifts and resources to bring the gospel to those who have yet to hear it.
Eric Miller, lead pastor at Capital City Grace Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Columbus, Ohio, and owner of The Design Refinery, has found a creative way to connect with the people in his community. As a pastor and business-owner, Miller uses both titles and the resources that come with them to draw people into his doors, and hopefully, begin leading them toward the gospel.
After 10 years of doing freelance web design as a side job, Miller and his wife, Julie, decided to start a business using their respective skills. (That’s them in the photo above.) The Design Refinery designs websites and manages social media accounts for businesses who need outside assistance in these fields. “Our mission is connecting people online and in real life,” says Miller. Connecting people online is the strength of The Design Refinery, but it is the building and the church that allows Miller to connect with people in real life.
Aside from The Design Refinery building being a place for his church to meet, Miller also rents the space to others in the community for various events. Compared with other event spaces in Columbus, Miller says that the fee for using The Design Refinery building is about “half the price of a normal event space.”
Since its grand opening in December 2018, the building has hosted events like neighborhood board meetings, fundraisers, and even cooking classes. “We host a gallery art hop on the first Saturday of every month,” Miller adds. “We line up artists who want to show and sell their work.”
The Design Refinery building has even served as a place to hold a memorial service for a community member who overdosed on opioids. “The family couldn’t afford any other place for the service,” Miller says. As a pastor who is passionate about connecting with his community, Miller believes that sometimes connecting with them might simply be mourning with them.
As The Design Refinery and Capital City Grace Church integrate into the west side of Columbus, Miller hopes that the community will see a group of people who want to make a difference. Miller gives one word to describe the mission of the church – bless.
“We as a church have picked up trash, and partnered with the local elementary school to provide school items as well as hats and gloves in the winter. I hope people will see needs have been met since the church has been in the neighborhood,” says Miller. However, the goal for the church is to see people know Jesus and the best way to bring Jesus to people is to build relationships with them. Those relationships start by connecting at the church and at The Design Refinery. Miller adds, “When we have more places to connect with people in real life we’ll have more opportunities to connect them to Christ.”
Visit The Design Refinery at designrefinerycolumbus.com — by Lindsay Schuster
Click here to send a note of encouragement to Eric Miller.
(Editor’s note: Lindsay Schuster is a senior at Grace College from Brownsville, Tex. She is an intern at GraceConnect this semester.)