STATESIDE: A CONVERSATION WITH BRETT PRIOR
Brett Prior is the Operations Manager for The Genesis Project (GP) in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is both a church and a network of people striving to meet its surrounding community members where they are. Brett sees his role as a way to facilitate the love that this group wants to shower on those surrounding them, a love first given by Jesus.
Our conversation focused on the small actions GP takes to make a large impact in its community. Brett filled me in on some of its ventures, including partnering with Faith Family Hospitality to help facilitate transitional housing for homeless families; its vision to hire at-risk teens to work in its coffee shop to provide them with a marketable skill set; and ROCK’d (Random Outbreaks of Community Kindness) events, which focus on using small actions to help neighbors in a big way. A project that stood out to me for its uniqueness (and the faithfulness and diligence it takes to complete it) is the Good Neighbors Project, which is a new effort to support the trailer park community right behind GP’s main building.
After GP’s current location was purchased and renovations had begun, some members of the church community realized that an entire trailer park not seen from the road was tucked away behind the property. They immediately partnered with the park, providing services and community events such as cleaning up trash, donating soccer goals, grilling out with the residents, and hosting pie giveaways.
Later on, someone donated a trailer to GP. GP decided to bring it up to code and house a few interns in it to provide all-around support for the park’s residents. As always, GP took special care to ensure that they were not pushing themselves upon those already living there—they responded to what they felt God was calling them to do and what these people were asking for. Brett stresses that the biggest question they ask the people they help is “What do you need?,” with the goal to come alongside them and journey with them instead of having the mindset that GP already knows what is best.
In the first few weeks that the interns lived in the park, real community growth developed: kids began hanging out with the interns regularly, the interns were invited to birthday parties, and moms started opening up. As Brett makes clear, The Genesis Project is about supplying the space and opportunity for people to change their lives for the better. Brett is beyond excited about how God is working through this ministry, and he can’t wait to see what God will do in this and other projects to come.