Showing posts from March, 2010

The Important Relationship Between Transitional Housing and Employment Services

Individuals rebuilding lives from homeless in a transitional housing program often have a difficult time finding employment even in the best of economies. Yet, when they have a job they are more likely to succeed in the transitional housing program. Leaders of such programs intuitively know the positive relationship between housing and employment from experience. Indeed, the importance of healthy employment environments for transitional program participants was one of the reasons behind the formation of Bud’s Warehouse and Belay Enterprises 15 years ago . Yet, we’ve found it difficult to find studies that substantiate what seems so obvious. I recently became aware of a 2007 Urban Institute study of L.A. Hope , a federal housing and employment demonstration project in Los Angeles. This study gives empirical evidence that when homeless residential providers connect housing with intensive employment services individuals with large barriers to employment succeed in jobs while maintaining

Recycling On Its Way Back as Faithventure Opportunity

About a year ago, the commodity market for recycled materials like cardboard, metal, and glass crashed along with the economy. At the time, we were looking at expanding our operations at Bud's Warehouse into those areas because of the significant revenues we were starting to see by recycling appliances that were in too bad shape to sell in our thrift store. We also saw some potential income from the flood of cardboard that arrived with our donations. In the last few weeks, the commodity market for recycled products has recovered to rates which can sustain a business. I've always been a big fan of start-ups with a focus on recycling as being an excellent faith venture business to create opportunity for individuals rebuilding lives. If you're exploring the potential of starting such an urban business as mission, I recommend you take a look at recycling of cardboard, metal and even auto parts. I think God smiles at faith venture operations that seek to recycle lives while rec

Short Video on the Bud's Warehouse Career Development Program

Our talented intern Andy Magel just completed a short introductory video on Bud's Warehouse . It provides an excellent overview of our home improvement store and job-training program. Introduction to Bud's Warehouse from Andy Magel on Vimeo .

God-Based Planning in a Faith Venture: The Miracle of the Over-Flowing Cup

The proverbial cup is either half-full or half-empty. Like individuals, faith venture organizations need to choose which way they will see it. An important secret to success for business as mission projects is to decide to see the cup as over-flowing. In Matthew 14: 13-21, Jesus’ disciples see a dramatic mismatch between the hungry crowd of 5000 before them and the five loaves of bread and two fish in their possession. Experience tells them that they don’t have enough food for everyone. In their eyes, the cup is definitely half-full. But Jesus sees otherwise. In the reality of God’s kingdom, five loaves and two fish miraculously become sufficient to meet the needs of 5000 people. The cup over-flows. In today’s world, deficit based planning looks at what an organization lacks as it decides how to approach the future. Asset-based planning examines what an organization already has. A faith venture trusts God to use those assets with others still unseen to build the future. At Bud’s Wareho

Here I Am. Send Me.

I'm probably the last person to have discovered this excellent video from the 2008 Willow Creek Leadership Summit. What if followers of Christ, answered the call with their unique talents? In keeping with the faith venture theme of this blog, what if Christ-following entrepreneurs used their specialized gifts on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged? Enjoy it here on YouTube.

Kingdom Purposes

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me for Belay Enterprises ’ kingdom purpose. I was participating in a round table Convene discussion with several CEO’s from for-profit companies. I thought this was where my non-profit business as mission organization was going to shine. Of course, our kingdom purpose is Belay’s mission statement, so I shared that we aimed to partner with the church to create businesses that employ and job train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or prison. That was easy. Or so I thought. But then the moderator asked me to dive in deeper. He challenged me to share what I thought was the fundamental eternal purpose of Belay Enterprises. If as followers of Christ, we believe that God created the universe and as a result is the only true owner of everything, then all organizations whether for-profit or non-profit are ultimately owned by God. We are merely stewards responsible for achieving the best out of the resources God has temporarily give

A Morning T.R.I.P. through the Bible

I have a confession to make. Occasionally, I show up to our morning Bud’s Warehouse Bible study and I have no idea what I am going to talk about with the group. I used to feel guilty about my lack of preparation, but over the years, I’ve come to really trust God to show up in places where I leave space for him. So some mornings, I ask the group for topic recommendations. Inevitably, we find ourselves in a rich discussion about some passage extra relevant to our lives. Other days, I rely on the Moravian Daily Texts for leading us into a Spirit-filled discussion about a particular Bible verse. For the last 280 years, the Moravian church has been publishing world-wide a Bible verse specially selected for each day. (You can subscribe for a free Daily Text email here .) There is something extra-rewarding about examining the same verse as many thousands of Christians are doing throughout the world. (I also enjoy the fact that the Moravians were the first pioneers of the Business as Missio