Car dealer facilitates conversations that matter

Posted: December 1, 2011

Paul Neustaedter knows the power of a conversation.

The Briercrest College and Seminary alumnus, who owns Steinbach Dodge Chrysler Ltd., has made his living conversing with people about automobiles, but his real passion is talking to people about their destinies.

He found the opportunity to do that by studying a book with several people at his car dealership.

“I don’t think what we’re doing is anything that special,” Neustaedter said. “It’s just us doing what I think we need to be doing.”

It all started at his staff Christmas party last December.

“I always share the meaning of Christmas with our staff and read the Christmas story from Luke,” Neustaedter exclaimed. “I (also) felt like it would be a good thing to share the prequel of the book Soul Craving by Erwin McManus. I ordered a booklet for every staff member and spouse.”

The 59-page booklet, distributed by Power to Change, helps people enter into a discussion about the core longings of the human soul — the desire to be significant, to belong and to find meaning in life.

“I said whoever would like to get together in the month of January, we would have a luncheon and talk about the book and review it together,” Neustaedter said. “So we met . . . every Friday. We worked through some of the questions in the book and had conversations about those different topics.”

Ten people attended the weekly meetings. The group ranged from mature Christians to spiritual seekers.

“The booklet is (written) in a great way for somebody who’s not churched,” the businessman remarked. “(It’s also good) for people who maybe have had a negative church experience. It’s brought a lot more opportunities for conversations over coffee break.”

Neustaedter is a natural for his line of work. He felt the calling to a business career when he was a boy.

“I knew at the age of 12 that I wanted to go into business,” he remembered. “I wanted to get into a car dealership.”

The desire wasn’t a strange one. Neustaedter’s father was a car dealer. After working his way up in the industry, he bought his father’s dealership in Steinbach, Man. 13 years ago.

During his college years he wanted to make sure that his plan for a business career was also God’s plan for his life.

“When I was at Briercrest I remember talking about going into business,” he remarked. “But I also wanted to be willing to go into missions if that’s where the Lord led me.”

As a result, Neustaedter went on a 10-week mission trip to Japan to get a missions experience and to seek God’s direction for his future.

“It was really clear after that that the Lord had a clear purpose for me going on the mission trip,” he said.

The Steinbach businessman says his experience in Japan helped him to understand missionaries and inspired him to be a better servant within his own church and community.

The small group that meets weekly at his dealership is one way he does that. 

After the  group  completed their first book, Neustaedter decided to see if they wanted to continue to meet.

“We put a sign-up sheet out for 12 people and 16 people signed up,” he said.

The group has been going through the Campus Alpha series—a seven week course that gives people an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. “The Lord has blessed us with a group that has grown a lot,” Neustaedter said. “The growth we experienced included: a new person added to the Kingdom, young believers gaining knowledge and faith, and mature believers being encouraged to do evangelism. People were willing to share their story.”

Neustaedter feels sure that his destiny is to make a difference where he is as a man of faith in the marketplace.

“I have a clear sense of calling,” he stated. “This is where the Lord has me.”