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Boiler Room director grows spiritual community

Tim Collier takes over primary oversight of the Stockbridge Boiler Room and works to expand spiritual community through innovative mentoring and leadership programs.
Tim Collier in the kitchen of the Stockbridge Boiler Room.

Tim Collier in the kitchen of the Stockbridge Boiler Room. /Michael Walton

Stockbridge Boiler Room Info

713 5th Street NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49504

[email protected]



Vision Course

Bike Shop

The Bike Shop will start up again at the beginning of the school year.

The Bike Shop will start up again at the beginning of the school year. /Michael Walton

The Prayer Room at the Stockbridge Boiler Room.

The Prayer Room at the Stockbridge Boiler Room. /Photo by Michael Walton.

Seven years ago, Tony Tendero quit his job as an education professor at Grand Valley to open the Stockbridge Boiler Room. He bought and renovated a former crackhouse to turn it into a house of prayer and hospitality in the neighborhood. Now, Tendero says he is feeling called back into the education field. Tim Collier, a long time associate of Tendero's, will be taking over the Boiler Room and its programs like Vision Course and the Bike Shop.

Collier is a native of Madison, Wisconsin. After graduating high school 10 years ago, he went to college for computer science before realizing that it wasn't for him.

"I realized I didn't want to sit in front of a computer all day," Collier says. "I like to be with people."

While deciding what to do, Collier joined a program called Mad City Training Community that used to be run by the Mad City Church. It's a yearlong spiritual leadership experience that Collier says bears several resemblances to the Vision Course program being offered by the Stockbridge Boiler Room.

The Vision Course is a 10 month mentoring and leadership program for young adults that the Boiler Room will be beginning in September. Collier says it uses the core principles of "Live. Learn. Love." to nurture spiritual discipline and leadership in the younger generation.

"There are leaders in this generation," Collier says. "We need leaders."

Participants can either live at the Boiler Room or commute. Collier says that the Vision Course will be offering special internships for returning members who want to continue their spiritual involvement with the community.

Collier believes that his experience in the Mad City Training Community program helped him understand God in a more personal way. Collier was involved with the program throughout his college experience, including an internship with Mad City Church. He graduated with a degree in social work and became interested in the relation between the church and the poor.

“The church needs to be engaged in social work kinds of things," Collier says. "Mission is something that is part of the DNA of the church. And at the same time I felt like social work needed the church as well.”

Collier's passion for church-driven social work sparked an interest in Boiler Rooms, an extension of the 24-7 Prayer movement that began in England in 1999. The movement creates places of continual prayer, wherein community members sign up for prayer shifts so there is always a person present in the place. Stockbridge Boiler Room has a Prayer Room open 24-7 complete with bean bag chairs and djembe drums for praise and worship music.

Collier says that the Stockbridge Boiler Room also serves as a home for their interns. The yearlong internships take a somewhat monastic approach, living a life of hospitality with the goal of growing a spiritual family in the community.

"We'd have hospitality hours [in the house]," Collier says. "People just show up and we'd be like 'Hey! You want some coffee?' Then we'd just sit and chat."

Geared towards younger kids, the Bike Shop is an afterschool mentoring program that Collier introduced to the Boiler Room.

"I was inspired by this guy down the street who did this bike shop out of his garage," says Collier. "And that seemed so beautiful, to do something with your hands."

The Boiler Room's Bike Shop teaches middle school kids how to fix and care for bicycles in a semi-professional setting. The kids are paid in "bike bucks" that they can use to buy bikes or bike parts. Collier says the Bike Shop is currently on hiatus, but will begin again when the school year starts.

The Stockbridge Boiler Room has been dabbling in a number of different things over the years, but Collier says the main thread is always growing a spiritual family in the neighborhood. He says that the neighborhood is very important to him because it's the first place he and his wife bought a house. Collier says he feels like a part of that family and experiences a sense of comraderie with the people around him.

Check out the Stockbridge Boiler Room website for more information on Vision Course, the Bike Shop or the other services they offer.

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