Showing posts from February, 2010

The Hood-Check: Creating a Community of Caring in a Business as Mission

I was recently asked in a meeting of executives what was one thing I would recommend to a Christ-following business owner wanting to bring his or her faith more directly into the workplace. Without hesitation, I immediately recommended what we call the “hood-check.” This particular discussion was interesting because most of the participants came from the for-profit world and they were really struggling with how to appropriately increase the role of faith in their companies without alienating employees or running in violation of discrimination rules. I have a slightly different perspective because our non-profit organization, Belay Enterprises , was specifically set up as an urban business as mission incubator. We actively combine faith and business as instruments in rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or prison. Sometime other business owners seem to think that this special perspective from our unique “DNA” makes our approach not immediately replicable in a tradition for-prof

Partnering with Government in Faith-Based Job Training

I think one of the most interesting changes occurring over my last ten years at Bud’s Warehouse has been government’s new willingness to partner with our faith-based organization. When I started in my role there was a definite wall between government and faith-based organizations that went both ways. Government didn’t want to work with faith groups and we returned the favor. Many religious organizations didn’t want to work with government because it added layers of bureaucracy and threatened an organization’s independence. But without doubt, that wall has come down. Recently, I was told by a government case manager that they loved working with Belay because we were the only organization in town that would employ and job-train individuals with certain types of felony convictions. In a metro area of 2.7 million, we’re the only training program in Denver for felony ex-offenders trying to find the skills for gainful employment. I love the fact that employees in government are comfortable

10 Most Popular Posts on Faithventure Forum

Faithventure Forum was started in August of 2008 to encourage the creation of businesses to employ individuals or communities rebuilding lives from poverty, addiction, or prison. Here's a list of the ten most popular posts since the start of this community: #1: Mattress Recycling: A Faith Venture Business as Ministry Idea #2: Belay Enterprises: Incubating Faith Ventures & Connecting Entrepreneurs with Business as Ministry Opportunities #3: AT&T Commercial Focuses on Faith Venture Toms Shoes #4: Faith Venture Focus Events: Oct. 16 and Nov. 6, 2008 #5: Business as Mission: Unleashing the Enthusiasm of Christ-Following Entrepreneurs #6: The Insurance Issues of Hiring Ex-Offenders #7: Reducing Recidivism: The Importance of Employment #8: Faithventure Forum Introduction #9: Neil Johnson’s Business as Mission Book Hits the Stores while His Student Assists Denver Area Urban BAM. #10: Business as Mission 101 at CCDA Conference

Opportunity in a Blank Page

Seth Godin pointed out the short documentary Lemonade in his blog yesterday. It's an inspiring look at how individuals have rebuilt their lives after unexpectedly losing their jobs. I really enjoyed it because it's a reminder about the power of optimism, ideas, and can-do entrepreneurial spirit. Spend 35 minutes, watch it here and jump-start your creative mind. Imagine the power that can be unleashed on behalf of disadvantaged communities if we can inspire this type of activity by or on behalf of people rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or prison. As I've written before, entrepreneurship is one of the best routes to self-sufficiency for ex-offenders . And urban business as mission ventures are also powerful ways to create jobs and training for individuals otherwise shut-out of the employment world because of past mistakes. I pray others will catch this vision for creating opportunity in the name of Christ for individuals society often judges as undeserving of

Ex-Offender Cabinet Manufacturing Business as Mission Update

Five years ago when we rented a new location for Bud’s Warehouse , we dreamed about 25,000 square feet of wide aisles and immaculately organized sections. We had visions of becoming the “Home Depot” of thrift stores by dramatically increasing our retail appeal. But two days before we moved into our meticulously organized new warehouse, we received a call from a national cabinet manufacturer. They were changing product lines and had 10 semi-loads of cabinet doors to donate. It was too good to pass up so we decided to make space. Gone were the dreams of clear aisles and neatly racked product areas. In its place were cabinet doors, cabinet doors and more cabinet doors. We were literally drowning in cabinet doors. But our impulsive yes was born out of experience. Swelling to accommodate this unexpected influx allowed us several years of great sales as customers sought the doors for cabinet resurfacing projects. Fast-forward four years to last spring. We received a call from the same manufa