Capstone Homes: Part Two


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To read the first installment of Capstone Homes’ story, click here

Ben and Rachel Minks knew God had told them to feed His sheep, so they started with the people in front of them – the people in their business.

As they changed their name from Minks Custom Homes to Capstone Homes, the Minks desired to change more than just their name.

“We chose the name Capstone because it represents Jesus as the stone the builders rejected, the stone we must build upon,” said Rachel.

That is just what they did, they started rebuilding their business upon Jesus.

Starting with small things like praying with employees at work, taking time to be more people-focused or finding ways they could meet needs in the community; Ben and Rachel slowly found ways to start making Capstone about God’s Kingdom, rather than their own.

For the following few years, Ben started praying and brainstorming ways to bring the change and freedom he had experienced in his own life, into his business.

“I remember thinking when I became a Christian, ‘well I guess I have to forfeit my business to go sign up for seminary or move to Africa, and we’ll just struggle to make ends meet for the rest of our lives’ because that is just what Christians seem to do,” said Ben.

“I wasn’t really enthused about that though, I love business. Nonetheless, I tried to be open-handed about it. In the end though, God made it clear that He wanted me to keep running Capstone,” said Ben.

As the years passed, Capstone continued to grow. Lives were being changed as a result of the business being surrendered to God, yet, the Minks felt there was still something more that God wanted to reveal to them.

Something was missing.

“As 2014 rolled around, Rachel started talking seriously about adoption again,” said Ben.

“I remember feeling so hesitant about it all. I prayed, ‘Either take this desire completely out of my wife’s heart, or make it so clear, that you bring a kid to our front doorstep,’” said Ben.

Two days later, the Minks got an email from an adoption agency. The email said they had not only one child, but three children (a sibling set of two boys and a girl). The siblings were already approved to come to the United States through a hosting program, and everything was paid in full. All the Minks had to do was say yes and the siblings would be brought to Minneapolis.

“God spoke about as clear as He ever had, so now it was up to us, whether we were going to put our hearts on the line,” said Ben.

They opened their hearts up to the unknown yet again, and as a result opened their door to James, Daniel and Katya, three beautiful children from the Ukraine.

“We ended up hosting these three siblings for three different one-month increments over the next year, which culminated in three trips to the Ukraine in pursuit of legally adopting them,” said Ben.

In the fall of 2015, the Minks were ready to make one last trip to the Ukraine to hopefully finalize the adoption. Rachel stayed home with Reese and Wes, so Ben made the journey to Eastern Europe on his own.

During this same timeframe, a complication had surfaced from the lawsuit of 2009.

“That lawsuit had been dealt with years prior, so we thought, but here we were with this issue rearing its head once again,” said Ben.

One of the weeks Ben spent in the Ukraine, he spent separated from the kids. He was on his own, with a lot on his mind.

“I was alone in this tiny apartment in the Ukraine with nothing but my water jug, blueberry yogurt and my Bible. I have never fasted and prayed more than I did that week,” said Ben.

Even though Ben had put everything in God’s hands, the lawsuit had seemed to come back from the dead to threaten everything he had built over the years prior. And on top of it, he and Rachel were feeling the all too real, terrifying vulnerability of not knowing if James, Daniel and Katya would be able to come home.

“You hear people pray ‘God, your will and not mine,’ but I feel like there are probably levels of honesty within that prayer,” said Ben.

“After a week of praying in that apartment on the other side of the world, I remember getting to this place of absolute, complete surrender to the purposes of God over my life. Something forever changed within me during that week alone with God. Whether the lawsuit ramifications went away, whether or not I brought the kids home with me… He was enough.”

Ben & Rachel with their children, from left to right: Wes (13), Daniel (13), Katya (11), Reese (16), and James (13).

A few weeks after that, Ben walked out of an orphanage in the Ukraine with complete custody of their three kids. Within 20 minutes of walking out of the orphanage, he received an email from his attorney telling him that Capstone had been totally exonerated from the entire lawsuit and all of its after effects, complete with an apology from the other side.

“I got my freedom the same day our children got theirs,” said Ben.

It was a moment of complete surrender, and complete freedom. The Minks and Capstone Homes were both entering a new season.

“I have always struggled with understanding the love of God throughout my life. I think at the moment I walked out of that orphanage though, I really began to start to understand it. And because of that, everything had to change – including our business.”

The Minks had made some changes to their business in the past, and had even been vocal about their faith, but they were entering a season where that was no longer enough.

“As soon as I got home, I started researching different businesses around the country who were wanting to do the same thing as we were. Betenbough Homes happened to be one of those companies,” said Ben.

After a trip down to Texas to see some of the things Betenbough Homes was doing, the leadership of Capstone became full of fresh vision and excitement.

“I think when we first started making these major changes after Ben’s trip to the Ukraine and Texas, there was some fear of how we would be perceived with all this talk about God at work. We weren’t even sure if it was legal,” said Stephen Bona, Vice President of Land. “However, we saw the potential of what could happen if we gave all of this to God, we knew our business could change so many lives.”

It was no longer enough to kind of be known as Christians, the Minks and the leadership of Capstone Homes wanted their business to reach into the darkest places, the most broken lives, and declare God’s Kingdom. All by building homes.

One example of the radical generosity that Capstone has begun to pour out can be seen at Christmas time.

“We have started throwing a big Christmas party every year,” said Rachel. We invite all of our employees and their families, but also our subcontractors. Last year we had about 300 people attend. We try to make this the big event of the year and really bless those who come with excellence through the food and everything we do.”

Last year at the party, they gave away brand new winter coats to all of their subcontractors, along with the Jesus Story on DVD, in the different languages spoken by their subs.

A Capstone employee helping out with Subs for Subs.

Rachel has been a key player in making some of these big cultural changes within the business, as she serves not only as owner, but now also as the Director of Community & Culture.

“I used to work in non-profit, and I always thought that when the kids got older, I would go back to do something similar, so it was a paradigm shift to realize I could take my heart for ministry and pour it into our business in these really practical ways,” said Rachel.

Along with the Christmas party, Capstone has also started doing Subs for Subs, a day where their staff and volunteers take sandwiches out to their subcontractors working all over the Twin Cities.

“Not only do people get blessed with a free lunch, but it has given us opportunities to pray with people and meet other needs we learn about during our time with them,” said Rachel.

Beyond the events, Capstone has also started weekly Bible Studies that employees are welcome to join in on if they want, as well as corporate prayer times.

Capstone employees enjoying lunch during their Women’s Bible Study.

“When I started our Women’s Bible Study last year, many of the women who attended told me they had never really read the Bible because they found it overwhelming,” said Rachel. Over the course of this last year though, we have seen many of our female employees start reading their Bibles, and actually enjoy it! Some now even read the Bible with their kids at home. To see this growth among our people has been amazing.”

One individual who has been impacted as a result of working at Capstone is Brianna Bruzer, their Online Sales & Marketing Manager.

“I had been staying home with my two kids and wasn’t even looking to go back to work at the time I started at Capstone, but I fell in love with the Minks and their vision for this business,” said Brianna. “I knew Ben’s heart was for God first, and I could see he wanted to invest in people not only professionally, but personally as well. It was a culture I wanted to get onboard with.”

“I think something that makes Capstone really different is that we’re not just being nice to people because we live in Minnesota and are ‘Minnesota Nice’ as they say, but because we know the people we come in contact with are children of God, and we want to have a culture that reflects that,” said Brianna.

This culture is indeed noticeable if you spend any time around the Capstone staff.

“One of the biggest things that has changed in the ten years I have worked here is our focus on people,” said Stephen. “We try to build our people up as much as possible not only because we believe that is what God wants us to do, but honestly, it just makes sense from a business perspective. It starts with taking care of what is right in front of us. That is how we grow.”

Stephen pointing out various communities Capstone builds in around the Twin Cities.

Stephen has been a follower of Christ throughout his time of working at the company, but he has seen his own faith continue to grow as a result of learning how to lead a business in a Kingdom Style.

“A big step I have taken recently as a result of the teaching I’ve received through the Global Leadership Summit and the Kingdom At Work workshop, has been truly giving up the big decisions to God. I used to get home from work and stress over big land deals, I was not giving them over to God in prayer. It is one thing to say we do that, or think about doing that, but then there is truly doing it,” said Stephen.

“The process of learning to do this has brought me, and our company, a lot of peace. Even when a decision is hard or painful, we know that we are hearing from God,” said Stephen.

When you ask someone at Capstone about what’s next for them, you’ll hear a similar answer.

“We know God has big plans for our business. We don’t always know what tomorrow will look like, but we just want to keep saying ‘yes’ to the Lord”, said Ben.

“We have been on a long road of learning,” said Rachel. “Ben and I are both strong personalities with big dreams, and at the beginning, those dreams were not surrendered to the Lord, so there has been so much humility to learn along the way.”

To transform our business, God had to first transform us,” said Rachel.

“God could have let me run my life off a cliff,” said Ben. “Instead, He took hold of me and placed me in a long process that prepared me for future fruitfulness.”

That process can be seen in the fruit of Capstone Homes. Not only does the business build beautiful homes, but it tells the story of what can happen when a single life becomes completely surrendered to God and His Kingdom.

 

 

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