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 incubation activities on behalf of the urban poor. Somewhere along the way, for numerous good reasons, we fell very short of that aim.

But in this particular situation, there have been bigger benefits from not accomplishing the goal. At the forefront, it points us to the truth that we can’t do it all by ourselves. There is a bigger role out there for Belay as a catalyst for faith venture business as mission verses just as an incubator of our own activities.

The reality is that there are much better Christ-following entrepreneurs out there looking for opportunities to use their gifts and talents to help God in his mission of rebuilding our broken world. For some talented, successful followers of Christ, the church isn’t guilty of asking too much but of asking too little. The church hasn’t provided a big enough challenge to capture the hearts and latent talents of some of our communities most capable leaders.

The goal of 100 businesses in five years wasn’t too ambitious. It was just too premature with Belay’s internally-directed approach. If we are willing to release control of our approach and inspire others towards using their business skills on behalf of disadvantaged communities, another run at the same goal will have a better chance of success.


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