Best 5280 Fellowship Projects of 2019

by Brian Gray

Each year, the 5280 Fellows complete a professional project. They’re charged with solving one problem in their workplace or industry as an expression of “love your neighbor as yourself.” This year, the 5280 Fellows voted and the following were the best professional projects of 2019.


Stacey Squatrito
Corporate Accounting

What is your project goal?

I set out to develop and facilitate a workshop for my corporate accounting reporting team on the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) framework to bridge the communication gap and build relational equity between engineers and accountants.

What is your theological motivation?

Jesus came down into a broken world with broken people and systems. He brought healing and restoration to people. And the last part of the Gospel story is that He will come again to restore all things. But in the meantime, I am (and we are) here on Earth as His image-bearers and ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5). We have the privilege and calling to be God’s ambassadors to point people back to Him and the world as He intended it to be in Eden. My project aimed to point people back to systems and processes that are logical, comprehensively planned, and well-designed – all characteristics of who God is and how He operates

I wanted to use my unique gifts and interests as an image bearer to help build bridges between accountants and engineers. I also wanted to use the relational equity I had to facilitate opportunities for reconciliation and redemption of broken systems, processes, and relationships.

What were the results of your project?

  • Multiple people on the team provided feedback that they feel more knowledgeable about what the SDLC framework is and confident in how they might go about automating a process. It seemed like people enjoyed it overall.
  • The team asked me to do a follow-up session at our global team summit in June in Chicago to dive deeper into some of the topics we discussed. They must have really liked it because the follow-up session is scheduled for 3 hours (yikes!).
  • I received a peer bonus.

How did your project shape your own motivations for your work?

God has been working on my own perspective. Some of our fellowship readings, Saturday session community leader panels, and discussions with other believers at church have pushed me to consider the deeper opportunities and vision for what being an accountant means and looks like in my lifetime. I’ve become more interested in equipping accountants to do good, smart work that contributes to the redemption of all things–relationships, workplaces, communities, culture, and systems.


Britta Apple
High School English Teacher

What is your project goal?

My professional project was geared toward bridging the learning gap for at-risk youth in the city of Denver by crafting a supplementary language arts curriculum for Save Our Youth’s summer academy tutoring program with metrics to assess growth in order to (1) to equip students and provide opportunity for those who have difficulty succeeding, (2) incite energy and excitement around the SOY summer academies, and (3) to engage students from a variety of backgrounds.

What is your theological motivation?

First Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” As Timothy learned to be bold in his proclamation of the Gospel, so I hope that SOY interns (and potentially Valor students) and even mentees might grow in confidence and boldness despite their youth as they engage in a work God is doing in and through Save Our Youth’s ministry efforts.

What were the results of your project?

As a result of reaching out to Trudy Swain, co-founder of Save Our Youth, about my idea to focus my DIFW professional project around their summer academies, I’ve gotten to collaborate with Keith McVaney, SOY’s educational director, about adjusting and augmenting SOY’s summer academy curriculum and staffing most of the academies with certified teachers.

How did your project shape your own motivations for your work?

Because the intent behind DIFW’s professional project is so focused and purposeful by nature, I felt empowered to take on a leadership role that I might not have otherwise assumed especially because the need I wanted to address wasn’t within my own work environment. I saw a need that reflects what needs to be redeemed in the larger realm of education, and it was incredibly rewarding to get to participate in shaping a solution for that need.


Matthew Langford – Musician, Composer, Artist

What is your project goal?

As of May 2019, I envision a curated experience of art intentionally and compassionately shared and reflected upon both individually and communally.

What is your theological motivation?

“In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1). One only has to look at the huge variety of creativity in the cultures around the world to see this- clothes, food, languages, dance, visual art, music, etc. God is a Creator. Next, we could show how God has given man dominion over the whole created world full of raw material to build, innovate, and create with, both for utilitarian and creative purposes. We could list all of the references in scripture where man’s creativity shows, starting with the very first task God gave Adam- the naming of the animals. Then we could list off the creative acts that took place in the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25), the Lord’s temple (I Chronicles 28, II Chronicles 3, 4, I Kings 7), David’s choir in I Chronicles 23:5).

What were the results of your project?

On May 9, I organized a curated event entitled, “(No) Rest for the Weary,” on May 9 at Converge Denver. “In an overwhelmed world, we crave spaces to rest amidst the turmoil. Spaces to meditate. Spaces that encourage us to slow down, look inward, outward and forward. Join us for Remnants, an immersive evening featuring the visual art of Jeremy Grant, and the premiere of a new musical composition by Matthew Langford performed by members of the Colorado Symphony and other local professional musicians.”

The 5280 Fellowship is just one program of the Denver Institute for Faith and Work designed to engage the City of Denver. All these programs are made possible by donations from people like you. Join us in this work and give today!

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Brian Gray

Brian is the COO here at DIFW and also leads our 5280 Fellowship program.  Prior to landing at DIFW, he served in pastoral ministry for thirteen years and at Denver Seminary for four years. His vocation includes moving ideas out into life through relationships and conversation – whether that applies to God, work, the Church, good beer, or Liverpool Football Club. He married way out of his league, and spends most of his free-time being parented by his two daughters.