Something happened as Lisa Popeck and her daughter April Grizzle listened to Southeast Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman teach about Southeast’s five mantras last year. Suddenly the barber shop they owned became more than just a place to make a living.

“When we heard Kyle preach about stretching your faith in the sermons ‘Wreck the Roof’ and ‘Grip the Plow,’ we wanted to use what we have to impact the community. What we have is a barber shop and shears,” Popeck said. “We knew that could make a difference.”

The Mantra sermon series included five mantras based on the life and teachings of Jesus. They are: Be the Branch, Catch the Wind, Wreck the Roof, Grip the Plow and Empty the Jar

Popeck said she struggled most of her life to put faith into practice.

“The last couple of years, I’ve really tried to live the life God called me to,” Popeck said. “That means things are different.”

The mother-daughter team reached out to Indiana Campus Pastor Bryson Koch for advice on how to grip the plow and use their skills to help others. They brainstormed ideas and contacted other ministries in the community.

Before restrictions of COVID-19, the women offered free haircuts to men in the recovery program at Re:Center Ministries in downtown Louisville.

“That was a great day,” Grizzle said. “These men are getting back out into the community. They’re interviewing for jobs. A good haircut can make a difference. It was one way we could encourage them.”

Soon after the women purchased the barber shop in Sellersburg, Indiana, a men’s Bible study group asked if they would close the shop for a day and give free haircuts to kids going back to school.

The women ran with the idea, calling schools and nonprofits in the area as well as asking clients for support. They put out fliers and invitations on Facebook.

The day of free back-to-school haircuts became a big event as numerous families showed up. There were free doughnuts in the morning, and volunteers grilled hamburgers and hotdogs in the afternoon while children played games. Local police departments and fire houses brought their trucks and equipment.

It was another great day.

“I know what it’s like to try to provide for your kids when you’re a single mom,” Grizzle said. “It’s hard. Everything is so expensive. We thought we could help with that and help these kids feel better about themselves as they begin a new school year. We saw a lot of kids with crazy hair or bad buzz jobs because that’s all their families could manage.”

Kids were happy. Parents thankful. One mom cried when she saw her son’s haircut.

Since giving away free haircuts, the women have discovered there’s a boomerang effect to giving.

“Every day, someone at the shop asks us about the free haircuts,” Grizzle said. “It’s amazing how it’s opened doors in the community.”