Showing posts from April, 2011

Explore International and Domestic Business as Mission at Denver Area Breakfast on May 6, 2011

Traditionally business as mission has been limited to cross-cultural expressions in third-world settings. The impact and effectiveness of Christ-following business people using their business talents in two-third world settings is an innovative approach being implemented increasingly by mission groups. Organizations like Partners Worldwide are gaining momentum by linking domestic Christian business people in mentoring relationships with developing businesses in disadvantaged countries. The future is very bright for this approach. But business as mission can also have a domestic expression when Christian business people advance ways to share the gospel in their own organizations or develop faith ventures with the specific aim of employing the disadvantaged. My organization, Belay Enterprises , has been partnering with the church in the Denver area for almost 17 years to incubate businesses that create opportunity for individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or priso

The Gift of Brokenness

You've been given a gift. Carefully, I sometimes say that to someone sharing that they are struggling with addiction.  Spent time in prison? You've received a gift. Dealing with a broken relationship? Facing an illness? Gift.   On the face of it, these things are awful. God never wants us to experience the pain of addiction, prison, broken relationships, and illness. But we live in a broken world. A world where our single-minded pursuit of self-- a what's in it for me world-- has tragic consequences for all of us. When we come face to face with our own brokenness, we experience our need for God and the forgiveness that comes through Jesus. Today, it's possible to miss our fundamental brokenness and need for someone to save us. We are the wealthiest nation in the world...and if you earn more than $10 a day you are richer than 80% of the world. We can bury our inherent need for God under the trappings of our success, pleasures, food, relationships, homes and pursui

IRS Focuses on Unrelated Business Income Taxes in Social Enterprise Audits

Two years ago, I read in the Wall Street Journal that the IRS was planning to audit more charities operating business ventures. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “wouldn’t that be a lot of fun.” A few weeks later, I received a letter from the IRS and the good times started rolling with our own nonprofit audit. I wasn’t worried because we pride ourselves in operating with the highest ethics and transparency. Sure enough, we passed with no deficiencies a few months later. But the audit raised a couple of interesting issues for social enterprises and faith ventures . The IRS was most interested in collecting the Unrelated Business Income Tax which is required if the nonprofit is operating a business that is “not substantially related to furthering the exempt purpose of the organization.” Over and over, they asked us to show that our businesses served our social mission verses just being an unrelated income source. My favorite moment was when the agent asked one of our project directors

Denver Business as Ministry Breakfast on Friday, May 6, 2011

I am pleased to announce that Partners Worldwide and my organization, Belay Enterprises , will be hosting a Business as Ministry breakfast at 7 am on May 6, 2011, at Confluence Ministries , located at 1400 Quitman Street in Denver. If you are a business person desiring to make a difference with your calling, this is an excellent opportunity to learn about how Christ-following business people are helping to alleviate poverty in the world and in the Denver metro area. Partners Worldwide is an international business as ministry organization that encourages, equips and connects business and professional people in global partnerships that grow enterprises and create sustainable jobs, transforming the lives of all involved. Belay Enterprises is a Denver area organization that partners with the local church to create businesses like Bud's Warehouse that employ individuals rebuilding lives from prison, addiction and homelessness. Please RSVP by commenting here, emailing us, or

Ideas for Impact Challenge Semi-finalists Announced

Earlier this year, some friends of mine in New York City with a desire to create a social enterprise that employs ex-offenders hosted an idea contest that received over 125 entries. On Monday, they announced their five semi-finalists: Jurrien Swarts – Farm fresh food prepared into microwavable meals for locovores and people living in “food deserts” Heather Burkman – Digitizing small business records and storing hard copies off-site Nickalas Goettling – Seal coating asphalt roads and parking lots Kendra Pierre-Louis – Restoring brownfields through phytoremediation Michael Cozzolino – Manufacturing decorative architectural wood wall panels On June 1, 2011, Spring Into Action will announce the finalist, a task I do not envy in light of the five excellent finalist ideas. At first glance, all seem to fill innovative and sustainable market niches while providing rich opportunities for employing individuals rebuilding lives.  I am especially intrigued by the architectural wood