A place of writing and reflection…
You may remember an earlier post I wrote entitled “Counting it all Joy“. ( If you missed it please take the time read it.) In it I mentioned the cheese promos we do in my community for our local creamery.
If you’ve ever visited either of their websites you would quickly find the connection between the two:
Heartland Creamery is part of a growing Christian community in Northeast Missouri of the same name. There, hurting men, women, and youth can find a safe haven among the one of the recovery centers. During their stay housing and meals are provided as well as jobs. Child care is also available for those with children. These programs’ give people struggling with various issues a fresh start.
Here we have a popular saying: “We can help you if you’ll just take the medicine.” However, this ‘medicine‘ is not in any pill form. Nor does it come as a liquid or a shot. Rather it comes in the form of life training, Bible study, worship, prayer, and church services with loving leaders to help walk through the process.
As you can tell, this is not your typical rehab center. While medications may heal the bones and deter sickness in the body, these people need something that goes deeper-they need help with their heart.
Many of these have been jaded by life circumstances and wounded by others. They have either hardened their hearts to avoid feeling these pains or have done everything they can think of to end it: drugs, alcholol, cutting, sex, suicide, theft-you name it, they’ve done it. Prison, jail time, tickets and meds have failed them. Counselors and rehabs have failed them.
Yet here in Northeast Missouri they find that “Jesus is the Answer” as it is plastered on the sides of the ministry’s many vehicles.
The creamery is a vital part of this ministry as it not only provides jobs, but also revenue to help those within its care. From the farm chopping or planting silage, to milking the 3,000 head heard of cattle and goats-even to the process of processing cheese-it is all for these people.
Pastor Charles Sharpe, founder of CNS Ministries which operates Heartland often says, “Every cow we milk is for a soul. Every gallon of milk is for a soul. Every block of cheese we sell is for a soul. It’s about the soul.”
For a little over sixteen years this growing community has been in operation, helping hurting people piece their broken lives together again through Jesus Christ. It’s not easy, but to see someone, once at the end of their rope, finally able to turn their life around-it’s more than worth it. That’s why cheese promos are so important. I’ll explain:
The creamery produces the product: a variety of Chevre, Gouda, and Cheddar styles from the milk of our own heard. This cheese is then packaged and presented to potential distributors and stores such as Khols, Hyvee and Dahls to name a few. This is a major part of the process, as we need to get our product on store shelves in order to continue the process. Once on store shelves, then comes the promos.
Teams are sent out, usually in groups, to various cities including St. Louis, Des Moines and Omaha. Once in the city, teams are paired off to the stores to give out cheese samples to potential buyers in the stores.
Often, once a person tries it, they are more likely to buy it-if not at the moment, then later on. Most are willing to continue buying our brand, many of which have become loyal customers. The more cheese sells, the more likely the store itself is going to purchase more product which further aides the ministry.
It’s a simple marketing strategy with a purpose: selling cheese for soul—and it works.
Now while we cannot advertise the ministry itself, those who really know our product do. For those who don’t they are always welcome to take a brochure with further information, and contact info about tours—oh yes, there are tours!
As I mentioned before, it’s a marketing strategy with a purpose to restore broken lives through the love of Christ.
This is why for us here in Heartland, selling cheese is important. It’s the fuel—the life blood so to speak, of the ministry. Of course the recovery programs are not the only faucet in the organization. There are missions trips to foreign countries like Moldova and Mexico which are a topic all their own.
Nevertheless it’s a ministry opportunity—an open door to further the spread of the Gospel (the life and work of Jesus Christ).
I’ll echo the words of my pastor:
“Every cow we milk is for a soul. Every gallon of milk is for a soul. Every block of cheese we sell is for a soul.”
Every team sent out, every person sent out to a store is there for the sake of a soul.
Looks like it’s off to selling cheese for souls on the weekends for me!