Showing posts from November, 2009

Catalytic Change

At times, I’ve been guilty about trying to do everything myself. That point has become abundantly clear over the last year. And it’s apparent that God is calling our organization to something greater. I’ve learned over the years that your biggest strength can also be your biggest liability. I love the excitement and the activity that surrounds a new faith venture start-up . I also like rolling up my sleeves and diving into the various pastoral situations that arise in the midst of individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and felony conviction. It’s why I do what I do. But my love of those activities can get in the way of building an organization that’s bigger than just one person. Five years ago, I mentioned to a friend that Belay’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” was to create 100 faith venture businesses over the next five years . I really thought God wanted us to aim towards that number of new businesses through our micro-enterprise, coaching and internal business incub

Five Thoughts on Urban Business as Mission

Last month, I had the pleasure of presenting with Rudy Carrasco of Partners Worldwide at the Christian Community Development Association conference in Cincinnati. Our workshop was an introductory presentation on Business as Mission (BAM) with a look at both the theory and the practical application of the movement in an urban setting. It’s now been a month later. Here are some thoughts related to the workshop: Urban Ministries are interested in BAM Without a doubt, there is a growing interest in the area of applying business as mission to urban settings. The current recession has emphasized the need and value of employment-based job training programs. It’s not enough to just provide job-training and job placement services. Urban communities and organizations also need sustainable vehicles of employment in order to help individuals with severe barriers to employment, such as felony conviction, homelessness, or addiction, succeed in the workplace. The large number of attendees at our work

The Gift of Work

Work, in many ways, is a gift from God. The Bible’s first words bless the inherent goodness of creative work: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NIV) God worked at starting the Universe. He created light, water, food-bearing vegetation, the sun and stars, and all the living creatures of the earth. His six days of work culminated with the creation of man in God’s own image. All that God created was very good. Then God rested on the seventh day because he “had finished the work he had been doing.” (Genesis 2:2, NIV) The Bible teaches that the Sabbath day is holy because of its relationship with work on the prior six days. (Genesis 2:3) But a key teaching of the Genesis creation story is the idea of man being created in God’s image. As an image-bearer of God, man shares God’s inherent affinity for creative work. This trait becomes damaged as a result of sin entering the world. In Genesis 3:17, work’s creative goodness takes on a component of toil beca

Good Soil Industries: A Southern California Urban Business as Mission

(Updated 7-6-11) I had the good fortune to attend the Christian Community Development Association’s annual convention this past month in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of my favorite experiences at the event was spending a lunch with Ryan VerWys of Kingdom Causes in Bellflower, California. He leads an innovative community development organization that has incubated a promising landscaping business as mission called Good Soil Industries . This project is a true faith venture that seeks to employ homeless and economically disadvantaged people in a self-sufficiency discipleship and job-training program. If you are a business owner or property manager in the Bellflower area, you should consider helping individuals rebuild lives by contracting Good Soil Industries for your landscape maintenance needs. For more information, call Joel Holwerda at 562-688-5010 or Taylor Seger at 562-502-7716. I also enjoyed brainstorming with Ryan about future faith venture projects. One exciting project has

Social Enterprise Confluence 2009 Teleconference

The Social Enterprise Alliance is hosting its first ever virtual conference on December 9, 2009. The Social Enterprise Confluence 2009 event is an opportunity for practitioners and interested individuals to participate in a high-quality learning experience without the expense of travel. I am excited to be presenting in the Faith and Enterprise teleconference with the former CEO of SEA Jim McClurg of Bethany Community Church. This session will run from 12pm to 1:15pm EST on December 9th. We plan to explore the unique roots and characteristics of organizations that combine faith and enterprise. Besides our session, there are four other informative sessions including one from a hero of mine, Carla Javits of REDF . The cost of the event is $75 for members of Social Enterprise Alliance and $100 for non-members. Space is limited so register before November 30, 2009!

Reducing Recidivism Makes Financial Sense for State and Federal Budgets

I returned to my office at Bud's Warehouse to a waiting phone message. One of our former program graduates was trying to get a hold of me. My heart sank because I had heard rumors that he was facing troubles in his life and I feared the worse. The rumors were wrong. He shared some very good news. After close to 20 years in prison and 3 years on intense supervised parole, he shared that the parole board had released him from active monitoring. He no longer had to wear an ankel bracelet or check in daily with his parole officer. Success! This results from combining employment, job-training, transitional housing and faith. Someone who statistics says should be the most likely to return to prison is on the path to a productive second half of life with built in support systems to rely on when life gets difficult. Ex-offenders are bound to face challenges, but with the support of the church, mentors and other faith programs they are equipped to make better choices and overcome common p

Business as Mission: Unleashing the Enthusiasm of Christ-Following Entrepreneurs

Over the last few years, I have been involved in several discussions about how to encourage people to use their gifts in service for God. Inevitably, the conversations turn to Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 about the types and roles of spiritual gifts in the kingdom. More often then not, these discussions take place in the context of how these gifts can be used to build up an individual church. I believe that this inadvertently makes the Gospel too small and overlooks Jesus’ own stated mission of coming to build the kingdom of God. After 10 years in urban business as mission, one area that excites me the most about building faith ventures is the enthusiasm such an approach unleashes in Christ-following business people. It opens a whole new realm of service for particular followers of Christ in the church whose gifts and talents have sometimes felt unneeded by the local church. My recent participation in Partners Worldwide’s annual gathering in early October reiterat