Ted Cederblom’s personal mission is to lead an entrepreneurial community development movement across rural America, and he’s starting in Springfield.
Cederblom is the vision pastor for Life360 Church, a Springfield-based Assemblies of God ministry with locations across Missouri. In addition to leading Life360, Cederblom serves as president of Life360 Community Services, the nonprofit action arm of the church. The organization focuses on feeding, housing, educating and empowering local communities.
“I am proud to lead and be a part of developing a network of churches and ministers that are challenged to engage their communities and be a part of the solution to various felt needs,” he says.
Community development is a core part of Cederblom’s work with Life360 programs. He has set up regional groups of community development partnerships, engaging those leaders to “support and encourage one another in excellence for their communities,” he says.
Cederblom developed a system for recruiting, training and placing pastors and community leaders in at-risk and rural communities. His method is centered on establishing roots through police ride-alongs, interviews with public school leaders and partnership training with organizations like Convoy of Hope.
“This helps ensure the next generation of leaders have an outward-focused, community-partner mentality that is central to our corporate culture,” Cederblom says.
He attributes the success of the programs to his team’s ability and willingness to understand the needs of the communities they’re working within, especially in areas of high poverty rates and a lack of access to health care, nutritional foods, and safe and affordable housing.
“Our growth is not because we are taking over communities but, instead, the communities are welcoming us and showing us their strengths and gifts,” he says. “That has led to true solutions that will be sustainable beyond my years.”
Although a significant portion of Life360 Community Services’ work impacts rural and at-risk communities throughout the state, Cederblom and the church are actively supporting the Springfield community. Throughout the pandemic, Cederblom says the team served 3 million meals to local families in need. The organization also completed construction on apartment complexes and housing for at-risk youth and individuals aging out of the foster care system.
Outside of the Life360 network, Cederblom stays heavily involved in organizations that develop leaders and communities.
At Evangel University, he implemented ImpactUSA, a leadership development program for young individuals to live and work in rural communities. He also has served as the secretary and treasurer for the Springfield Police Chaplaincy Program, assisting with death notifications, ride-alongs and critical incident follow-ups. He serves on the boards for Park Crest Daycare & Preschool and Assemblies of God U.S. Missions, and he has personally trained and mentored over 40 pastors and associates across the state.
Ariake Sushi and Robata opened; Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GSBC) opened its newest branch in Springfield; and a longtime employee with City Utilities of Springfield went into business for himself with the launch of Van Every Drafting & Design LLC.