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In a small thrift store tucked next to a motel near a California interstate, Will wrestles a duct-taped vacuum cleaner out of its box. He has worked at the thrift store for two months—the same amount of time that he's been sober and has lived at the Inside Out Men's Home, a rehabilitation center for chronic alcohol and drug abusers.

Will speaks carefully about the decisions he made before coming to Inside Out. "I chose alcohol over her," he says, when asked about his gold wedding band. "But I never touched her. I never did that."

"She said she didn't want to see me anymore," he adds. "But she hasn't moved or changed her phone number."

Will has kids, too—and hope for getting his life back on track.

Main Place Christian Fellowship, which operates the thrift store in Tustin, California, and the rehabilitation center in nearby Santa Ana, traffics in the hope that encourages Will to try to change his life. As a plant of Saddleback Church 20 years ago, Main Place's ministry has burgeoned, planting seven churches of its own and expecting to birth a dozen more by 2020, says pastor Rich Mathisrud. As a church planter, Main Place spends much of its time running businesses to locate and serve the downtrodden. Its church-planting abilities surprisingly come from starting nonprofit businesses.

"We want to use resources to reach as many people as possible," says Mathisrud. "We're just a little church with a big vision trying to honor our great God."

In two decades, Main Place has started a total of six businesses in Orange County and planted seven churches. Its businesses include the thrift store, half of which sells office supplies; a bookstore; an elementary school; and two theaters, Curtain Call Dinner Theater and, most recently, ...

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March 2008

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