Yesterday, I attended a luncheon celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Providence Network. Over my last 9 years at Belay Enterprises, Providence has been one of our top partners in urban ministry. Many of our job-training employees have been residents of one of Providence Network’s transitional homes. We have discovered over the years that individuals have a much higher chance of success at rebuilding a life when they receive 24 hour care between our two organizations: they work at one of our projects and they live at a Providence home program. The next benefit of our relationship is the gradual step-down of services between our two organizations. An individual usually either graduates our program or the Providence Network program first, allowing for a gradually integration into full self-sufficiency.
The speakers at yesterday’s event offered a couple of lessons learned from 20 years of Providence Network experience which apply to traditional non-profits or faith venture business as ministries:
When God moves he brings together like-minded people
Andy Cannon shared that one way to see that you are headed in the right direction is whether God brings a team of people around you with the same vision. In the messy world of urban ministry, not too many individuals make it as lone-rangers in ministry. If you are in ministry to the disadvantaged, you will face obstacles. And at those darkest hours of need, God will bring alongside key individuals to help.
It’s all about relationships
Bob Skold told about how Bo Mitchell once taught him that relationships were the key to any business. Whether you are selling a product or raising funds, it all comes down to the relationship forged between the two parties. And if the relationship is strong, it naturally allows a fundamental shift in the fundraising approach: You now aren’t asking for money but providing the potential donor with an opportunity to bless others.
Money follows God-given vision
Bob Skold reminded that if a mission is from God the job becomes one of casting the vision. And the funding you need will follow.
Good things come out of Bible Studies
Providence Network was born 20 years ago out of a small group bible study led by Bob Beltz. A few men in that study became passionate about helping the disadvantaged in down-town Denver and raised the money for Providence’s first home. 20 years later, hundreds of lives have been directly impacted by the step of faith. This story mirrors the experience of Mile High Ministries starting from a bible study at Bear Valley Community Church, which then led to Belay Enterprises. Good things come when people gather to study the Word of God and then work to apply it to their own lives and the world around them.
Congratulations to Andy Cannon, Derek Kuykendall and all the rest of the staff and volunteers at Providence Network on your 20 years. Yeah God!