Reshaping the Church

Life 360 serves the least of these

Posted August 16, 2023

by Jolie Lloyd

Residents are surrounded with love, yet challenged to be independent. Photo by Brooke Dizmang.

When we hear the term “missions,” many of us think of going overseas to help struggling communities in remote locations. But we often overlook those living among us who desperately need help — financially, emotionally and spiritually. Brooke Dizmang, founder of Life360 House in Springfield, Missouri, was called to serve this population whom Jesus called “the least of these” right in her own community.

Life360 House is affiliated with Life360 Church, a family of Assembly of God Churches with 21 Locations in Missouri and Michigan. Life360 House serves its local community for Jesus Christ's glory, providing a safe and affordable housing option for young adults who have few options and are susceptible to homelessness and addiction.

Dizmang’s calling to start the ministry became clear when she volunteered with a group of older foster kids. She felt God speaking to her heart, giving her an urgent passion to advocate for the youth.

“Well, we've got a church, Life360 Church, that has a heart for this. And my husband and I have rental properties,” Dizmang said, explaining how this journey started ten years ago.

Dizmang and her husband own rental properties with the capacity to house 22 individuals. While she and her husband knew opening their properties to vulnerable young adults may not appear to be the most prudent idea business-wise, they knew it was God’s calling for them.

Life360 House began as a ministry exclusively for young men. Many in Dizmang’s community were confused by her choice to help this demographic, as she is a woman with no background in this area.

“But God just blessed it,” Dizmang said.

While they started as a ministry for young men, today Life360 House serves a diverse population of young people, both male and female, from a variety of situations.

Many of the young people who come to Life360 House are facing homelessness as a result of a variety of struggles including addiction, post-incarceration and mental health complications. They often have very few options in terms of housing.

“Many, many of our guys and girls are living in a car or on the streets or in a tent,” Dizmang said.

Life360 House is not a traditional homeless shelter. Rather, it is described on the ministry's webpage as a “launching pad.”

The ministry's website further explains, “At our houses, we provide our residents with the community, accountability, resources and social capital they need to thrive on their own.”

In a family-like environment, Life360 House provides community for their residents while fostering accountability through house rules. While Life360 House provides necessities, they also require residents to learn self-sufficiency.

Young adults thrive in a loving, family atmosphere. Photo by Brooke Dizmang.

“We just live like a family,” Dizmang said. “We become their support group: their big brothers and sisters and moms and grandmas, and even their like-minded friends.”

When young adults first come into the houses, they are given the basics: a room, clean bedding, food and water.

While these basic needs may seem insignificant, they represent something deeper – finally belonging to a community of people who care for the well-being of one another.

“Sometimes they cry,” Dizmang said. “They've never had something so nice. They're overwhelmed with love.”

Rather than just provide free resources and housing, Life360 House’s sustainable model empowers residents to work towards financial independence and learn responsibility.

“Everybody gets their own room, but everybody has to work and pay rent, so they just live like they will be living as a responsible young adult,” Dizmang said.

Life360 House requires their residents to pay rent as a form of accountability to prepare them for real world responsibilities However, rent is only $110 per week, giving grace to residents who need this extra support.

Dizmang described how the ministry helps its residents find jobs and makes sure residents have everything in place to get hired: “A lot of times they come in with just the clothes on their back. So we help them get an ID and find their social security card, or we get it reestablished. Because you can't do anything, you can't even get a job, if you don't have that.”

Weekly life groups feed body and soul. Photo by Brooke Dizmang.

Accountability is taken seriously at Life360 House through the enforcement of house rules. Dizmang’s rules push residents to take ownership of their decisions.

While forgiveness is a foundational pillar to the Christian life and to this ministry, there are still consequences for breaking house rules. Residents are required to stay sober and have a strict curfew. If they are repeatedly breaking these rules, they are dismissed, but second chances are always offered to those who demonstrate growth.

The grace extended to residents mirrors the grace Christ provides us. If Life360 House turned residents away without offering them a second chance, as many homeless shelters do, residents would not see a model of God’s forgiveness.

Fortunately, most residents abide by the rules, and many have experienced complete spiritual renewal. Dizmang makes sure that everything done at Life360 House points back to Christ and the Gospel.

“I require them to go to church.” Dizmang said. “They can go to a variety of churches, but I want them to be exposed to the Gospel, because that is the whole reason we do what we do — to connect them to Christ.”

Many residents from a variety of backgrounds have come to know Christ through Dizmang’s ministry, and one thing draws them in like nothing else — love.

“So many of them have never been loved before, not with that unconditional love from a family, and being part of the body of Christ. And it's just a beautiful thing to see,” Dizmang said.

The Gospel is never forced on residents of Life360 House; it never has to be. Residents see Christ’s love at work and desire to accept it for themselves.

When asked what percentage of residents end up with deeper faith after the program, she shared that 90 to 95% of people leave with a relationship with Christ – whether it was a renewed relationship or the birth of their spiritual life.

A growing walk with Christ is at the core of Life360 House life. Photo by Brooke Dizmang.

Dizmang expressed her desire for other believers to listen closely to God’s calling on their lives. She explained her own story and how she did not feel ready to start this ministry, but obeyed the clear calling she heard from the Lord.

“He's got perfect timing,” Dizmang said. “He won't give us stuff that we're not ready for yet.”

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells a parable in which a group of people stand before God the Father receiving judgment.

He rewards those who are “righteous,” explaining, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

While our salvation is based solely on faith in Christ, a heart to serve others is tangible evidence that our faith is present, genuine and active in our lives. Dizmang’s work exemplifies obedience to God’s calling. A heart for serving others flows naturally out of this obedience. Life360 House can inspire us, every day, to remain attuned to what God is leading us to do.