Showing posts from July, 2009


If you died today what would people say about you at your funeral? With that one question, the discussion around the table took a decidedly introspective turn at a recent Bud’s Warehouse Bible study. That question cuts to so many other core issues in one’s life: When people look at my life what do they see? Where have I hurt other people? Does my life have meaning? What does it mean to live? Over the years, I’ve found that few other questions create such a healthy discomfort, challenging individuals to really examine their life. In a faith venture like Bud’s Warehouse, where individuals are rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, and felony conviction, such a question opens new possibilities to our program participants. First, it’s an opportunity to see one’s life as a gift. Too often, individuals rebuilding lives only see the mistakes that they’ve made. They don’t allow themselves the opportunity to believe that that they might actually have a positive impact on the world. Ju

More on the For-Profit or Non-profit Decision

In a blog post, Carla Javitz, the President of REDF, points to some extremely valuable resources and articles about the deci sion whether to incorporate as a for-profit or a non-profit. In particular, Robert Wexler’s legal discussion provides extremely valuable advice. This is an important issue for organizations wanting to create faith venture businesses that employ individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or felony conviction. I’ve explored this for-profit/ non-profit decision in past Faithventure Forum posts.

Faithventure Focus:

An innovative faith venture in Kolkata, India, provides hope and a future for disadvantaged women attempting to leave the sex trade. , a business as ministry program of Word Made Flesh , produces beautiful blankets and hand bags handcrafted by women living in the organization’s Kolkata safe home. Each product, available for purchase on the web site, arrives stitched with the name of the woman rebuilding her life. Over the last few years, SariBari, which means clothing home, has grown to employ 40 women. The organization’s mission seeks “the freedom and restoration of Kolkata’s red-light areas through dignity-giving employment opportunities for women affected by the sex trade.” Visit the web site to view items for sale and learn about ways to get involved in this creative life-affirming ministry to the poor.

Belay's Top Seven Future Bible Study Questions

It’s a maxim to live by. If you want to know…ask. Like your fifth grade teacher said, there are no stupid questions. Last week, our program director at Bud’s Warehouse decided to take the “radical” step and ask the staff in a survey what they wanted to learn in upcoming Bible studies. I thought the topics that arose are a fascinating view of what is on the mind of individuals rebuilding lives. And it’s a good reminder to those of us charged with developing programs for faith ventures. For maximum effectiveness, it’s important to listen to participants. In no particular order, here are the seven topics for future discussions: 1. How to deal with personal lives 2. How to develop patience and perseverance…God’s timing 3. How God sees premarital sex 4. How God views sin 5. How God view integrity 6. How & why God exposes things 7. Prayer These are great topics. I’m looking forward to our meetings.

Insurance Liability & Felon Employment

Last week, I answered my phone and heard the voice of one of our recent graduates at Bud's Warehouse . I could immediately tell something was not right. His new employer was having second thoughts about the wisdom of recently hiring him. It wasn't because of performance. My friend assured me that he had been over-performing in every aspect of his new job. And it wasn't the economy. This employer was experiencing success even when other firms were laying off. My friend feared his employer’s new found concern about his past felony conviction. Like any good businessperson, the owner was concerned about his insurance coverage. It had dawned on him that an employee with a past felony conviction might not be covered. Over the years, I've found this to be a valid concern but one that is often exaggerated beyond its true reality. Unfortunately, this issue, whether it is true or not, has become the biggest obstacle to employing ex-offenders. A couple of months ago, I shared this

Measuring Faith in a Faith Venture

I’ve written recently about the importance of measuring performance in a faith venture . In the past, our organization has relied on measurements like REDF’s Social Return on Investment as a way of capturing the social benefits of our mission. It is mostly straight-forward to measure social change in terms of the welfare dollars saved and the decline in rates of recidivism. But as a faith-based organization, we’ve struggled with measuring the “faith” side of our performance. A couple of months ago, I read the article “ Rediscovering Social Innovation ” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on how social innovation leads to positive social change. At the time, I found myself wishing for a study that would determine the added benefit of faith in a social enterprise. Over the years, we’ve staked our reputation on the idea that faith provides a much needed ingredient to help people overcome significant obstacles to employment success related to homelessness, felony conviction, and addic