Transform Scott County, a barely two-year-old ministry, is moving from Nathaniel Price’s kitchen table to a 600-square-foot office space.
“The purpose of this building isn’t so much so that I or anybody who works for us has a place to work as much as for a place for relationships to happen,” Price said as he gave a tour of the one-time barber shop that faces Hiawatha Trail in the building that houses MyChurch.
“We’re going to put in two privacy rooms in case people need to have confidential conversations,” Price said.
Then he talked about the front of the shop.
“This is all going to be open. We’re putting in a kitchenette, and this is all meant to be a living room, a family gathering room, where mentors meet with their mentees,” Price said.
“We imagine loud music, laughter, Cokes being drunk and people getting together here,” he said.
But it’s not about partying.
It’s about changing lives, one life at a time, through mentoring high school students in personal crises, as well as helping low-income parents learn to control spending.
For Price, it’s a personal mission.
“What brought me back to Georgetown was to work on staff at my home church, Central Church of God,” where for years he was a music leader.
But something nagged him.
“In the midst of that [leading music], Transform Scott County was birthed,” Price said.
He saw people struggling, and he believed too many churches were not responding effectively.
“There’s no quick fixes in helping people. It’s a myth,” he said.
“We don’t help people just because we gave them one thing, walked away and gave them a thumbs-up.
“We help people by being in their lives, journeying with them, sacrificing with them,” Price said.
In 2015, Price established a nonprofit, “Transform Scott County,” to build a mentoring program. It began its actual programs in 2016 and just completed its second full year.
The programs involve mentoring for high school students and “Faith & Finances,” aimed at developing budgeting skills for low-income adults.
Nearly two dozen people have gone through Faith & Finances, Price said, and the mentoring program has brought successful adults into friendships with struggling students.
“At the heart of Transform Scott County, what we do is we’re trying to connect people of faith, hope and stability in relationship with people experiencing instability, fear and doubt. That’s the nucleus. That’s the heart,” Price said.
And it was working.
It wasn’t enough.
Last summer, Price and his wife Katie decided a deeper plunge was needed.
He informed the pastor at Central Church of God that his last day would be Sept. 24.
And on Oct. 1, Price became the executive director of Transform Scott County, taking on the ministry’s work full-time.
“Conviction, calling, passion, restlessness led me to a point where my wife and I knew we had to make an even deeper leap,” Price said.
“This is what wakes me up in the morning and puts me to bed at night,” he said.
“We’ve partnered with several local nonprofits, the housing authority, Hospitality House, the Gathering Place, Habitat for Humanity, local churches. We’ve done a jobs program in partnership with Parks & Rec that was hosted at the Ed Davis Learning Center,” he said.
“All these mentoring programs, we’re working with local churches right now, in conversations with how we can improve benevolent activity that churches do so they can more effectively help people.
“All that centers on that one idea of ‘healthy relationship,’” Price said.
One big supporter is Price’s longtime friend, Landon Holder, pastor of MyChurch.
“We grew up together, known each other for decades. Nathaniel’s always been a man of integrity, he’s always been a Christian as long as I’ve known him,” Holder said.
There’s no question in Holder’s mind that Transform Scott County fits with MyChurch and other churches’ community responsibilities.
“This program is the business of the church. I think Nathaniel’s an extension of the church,” Holder said.
“Acts of compassion, you know, Jesus was compassionate. When he came out and saw people, what he saw was like sheep without a shepherd, He saw people who were in need and he was out there to meet the need.
“I think the church is an extension of that: the hands and feet of Jesus,” he said..
“Our support is however we can support: financially, in prayer, volunteering in ministry. We have people in the church who have volunteered with Transform Scott County,” Holders said.
For Price, the new physical location for the ministry occupies much of his current focus, getting it ready for the activities and relationship-building it will house.
“March 1 is the tentative timeline for opening,” Price said.
“We hope great things will happen here,” he added.
Dan Adkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.