Christian Retailing

Leading chain launches Good Goers mission trips program Print Email
Written by Staff   
Thursday, 12 May 2011 11:16 AM America/New_York

Family Christian Stores' 'joint adventure' supports projects such as building homes and orphans care


Good-Goers-logoThe country's biggest Christian retail chain has launched a new initiative recruiting customers for missionary service.

Good Goers, described as a "joint adventure" of Family Christian Stores and its The James Fund charity has announced 16 service trips taking participants to Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and rural Oklahoma.

Centered on service projects such as building homes and working in orphanages, the trips are being led by Family personnel from the boardroom to the backroom.

Good Goers was established to further the work of The James Fund, which since it was founded in 2003 has sponsored mission trips with staff and given more than $2 million to organizations and projects supporting the care of widows and orphans.

"By God's grace, more customers are engaging with the mission," says the new effort's Web site, "Vendors are graciously helping to raise more funds; even artists are lending their voices to the cause."

The first trips listing runs through October, with teams visiting children at an orphanage in Monterrey, Mexico, building houses in Chichicastenango, Guatemala; and serving at Oaks Indian Mission in the Cherokee Nation in Oaks, Okla. Open to those aged 13 and older, the trips cost from $500 to $900, excluding travel.

Among Family personnel profiled as experienced trip leaders at the Web site is president and CEO Cliff Bartow, who has made almost 20 mission journeys. Good Goers "provides the opportunity to tend to the needs of the less fortunate, share the love of Jesus Christ and have a great adventure as well," he says at the Web site.

Also spotlighted is Peggy Hibbs, a merchandise systems manager and 26-year veteran of the business. Her two James Fund trips to the Dominican Republic "drastically changed my perspective on retirement and the things that I hold on to," she says.

According to the Good Goers Web site, the initiative is part of Family's desire for "a great role in ministry. Helping customers find, grow, share and celebrate their faith through our stores is incredibly enriching. However, we began to see that we were called to do more. For years, we prayerfully considered new opportunities to enter deeper into ministry life."

Meanwhile, Family has hired a leading e-commerce developer to design and develop a strategy to better sell products through its online store. Grand River will design and develop the Family Web site using Magento's Enterprise Edition 1.9—a system that offers a scalable, cost-effective, online retail solution with rich features, functionality and flexibility, company officials said.

"We chose Grand River based on their success developing multi-channel e-commerce solutions for retailers," said Derek Kloostra, director of e-commerce for Family Christian Stores. "It's our goal to provide the best selection of Christian lifestyle resources to help people find, grow and share their faith. We want to create an experience that delivers world-class service and fosters the Christian community."

The new Web site will make it easy to search, shop and buy products, as well as support The James Fund, the primary philanthropy of Family. Family has nearly 300 brick-and-mortar locations and more than 4,000 employees in 36 states.