The month of October was FLUSH with opportunities to be involved and share and learn more about the needs of my community and how I could help and listen for God’s voice. Did He ever speak.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, you have to have opportunity eyes, being able to see what potential there is for serving others. But it’s also having the ears to hear what He wants you to hear.
So let’s begin at what has happened.
Oct 1st, I held a Fish Tank Startups Workshop for a Christian non profit, Inside/Out Ministries, that helps ex offenders become productive citizens again. It was well received by all who attended and gave hope to those that were there. They have a 91 percent success rate of keeping people from reoffending. Their organization is along the lines of Chris Conway’s Spring Back organization that gives the down and out and homeless jobs recycling beds, but his is a for profit company. I met Chris at a BAM (Business As Mission) church meeting and he invited me to visit his company the week after my workshop. God is at work at work.
Are you seeing a trend the God is leading me? It didn’t stop, it kept coming, wave after wave, weekend after weekend. It took time to digest all that I came in contact with.
Two weeks later during that Friday morning I saw a FB post by a friend about another BAM meeting, Heaven in Business, put on by Andy Mason who wrote God with you at Work. I responded to my friend that I could not attend because of funds, but was invited to come any way. It was put on by Andy Mason of Bethel Church. There were about 50-60 Christians there learning how to listen to God and to ask Him to help them with their business.
The following Friday I was again writing and took a quick look at my FB wall and saw that there was another Code for the Kingdom “Hackathon,” where Christian software engineers and programmers use technology to further the gospel and solve problems. It’s a takeoff of Startup Weekend, but for Christians. I went last year, but was more of an observer and in a learning mode to see how Christians were taking a secular idea and applying it for God. That Friday night I met Nikole Hahn, a missionary from World Venture, at their world headquarters who uses “social media and mobile technology for global engagement and discipleship” (see her FB Group “Technology and Missions”). Like last year, I wanted to watch and learn, but during the Friday night presentation part, the idea sparks flew and, with Nikole’s help that night, I was able to outline how to use technology to help FTS Workshops and fellow Christians interested in starting a business. My friend Paul Holper, who came just to visit, was inspired, too, but had to leave because of other plans. Needless to say, it was a FULL weekend, but there was even more to come and a LOT to digest.
All of the information was becoming overwhelming, I needed a rest, but NOOO, God was not done.
After that loooonngggg 45 hour marathon weekend working at the Hackathon, the following Friday I met with the RHEMA Business for the Hopeless and Homeless at a small church that helps the homeless. We met for a few hours and listened to how to help the homeless move from panhandling to the potential to sell stuff on the street corners. We learned that one organization in Chicago has a model that is very successful at getting people back into society.
However, as with any organization, I saw that most non profits operate in silos, only seeing themselves and “lone wolf” organizations and not seeing other organizations that could be both collaborators, but also sharing resources.
Of primary concern is that there was little to no communication between various non profits or Christian businesses, but of grave concern is that an increase of communications will provide others with the want to centralize things, which is the wrong way to handle things. Decentralized is the way to go, but more communication is needed.
All in all, I still have much to digest from what I learned and will work on having something by early 2017 to handle and use the information I gathered. Pray for wisdom as I continue to step out.
Prov 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.
There is much work to do.