VOL. I NO. 1
A CHRISTIAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE
THE INTEGRITY STORY ....... 3
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: NO WORDS CAN SAY .................
THE MISSING LINK.....................
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR STORY ..
THE BOTTOM LINE .................
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COLUMNS From the Publisher The Integrity Story 3 Lord, Help Me, I’m an Entrepreneur Organization, Schmorganization 11 Renewing Business Kingdom Economics 18 My Father’s Business The Bottom Line 21
7 MOUNTAINS OF CULTURE Media: Behind the Scenes Sound Ethics for a Solid Business Foundation 5 Arts & Entertainment: Rejoicing in the Lord No Words Can Say 7 Government: State of the Nation The Missing Link 8 Business: Biblical Business Management It’s All About Your Story 12 Being R.E.A.L. 25 Education: Equipping the Saints Teaching and Training Ourselves Out of a Job 19 Family: Household of Faith My Mission Found Me 22 Church: His Kingdom Come Health Partners International of Canada: A Mission of Health and Hope 24 Going About My Father’s Business 27
MAIN FEATURE Kingdom Business Apeeling Orange: Rebuilding a Business on Biblical Principles
THE EDITORIAL MESSAGE of Integrity magazine is based on two concepts. The first is business renewal. The second is the seven mountains of culture. Each issue will develop the concept of business renewal and the relationship between business and its six other cultural stakeholders. The Seven Mountains of Culture is a framework where culture or society is composed of the following mountains (Isaiah 2:2) or pillars: business, religion, government, family, education, arts and entertainment, and media. This framework comes from Marketplace Leaders Ministries headed by Os Hillman (www.marketplaceleaders.org and www.reclaim7mountains.com) who adopted the inspired framework established by Bill Bright, Loren Cunningham and Francis Schaeffer. Their message is if believers are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then they have to influence the seven mountains that are the pillars of any society. Business renewal is a biblical business management system of transforming and re-engineering the business so that it glorifies the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31), implements scriptural business principles (Colossians 3:10), attains business excellence and success (Matthew 5:48) and becomes part of the movement of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the marketplace (Psalm 104:30). Business renewal will be presented through the main business story, five regular business columns, and two scriptural business management teaching articles. The six other mountains of culture will each have a feature story.
ON THE COVER
The Lord brought together the Integrity Seven, gentlemen of different business disciplines that any serious company needs, to make this magazine possible. Left to right: Matt Whitman (Insurance and Insurance Advisor), Wayne Arkelian (Vice President for Operations at Halcraft Printers Inc.), Harm Geurs (President of Apeeling Orange), Jeff Lutes (President of International Harvesters for Christ), Gary Graves (President at Gary C. Graves Accounting Inc.), David Tonen (Marketing Navigator and Owner of Ministry Story), and Hermen Atienza (Managing Partner of MBA Advisory Services). Special thanks goes to Max Murphy who took the photo. A professional photographer and videographer, Max strives to put his abilities to better use by helping spread the word that there is a better way — God’s way.
Harm Geurs Publisher Hermen Atienza Editor-in-Chief Rissa Singson Kawpeng Executive Editor Mike Cortes Creative Director Max Murphy Photo Editor Integrity, a Christian business magazine, is a quarterly publication. PO Box 74, Ostrea Lake Halifax, Nova Scotia, B0J 2L0 902.878.0030 Inquiry@IntegrityMagazine.ca
Publisher Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity.We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. (1 Corinthians 1:12) BACK WHEN I WAS setting up Apeeling Orange (formerly Orange A-peel) after having recently left my advertising agency job, I was trying to figure out what I should be doing for the Lord with my business. I was giving to my church and doing all kinds of good works in the community. Anyone looking at me would know that I was living my faith. From time to time, I would run into this or that person and find out that they were Christian as well. It was almost like a big secret. Let’s not rock the boat, just keep going about our daily lives. I had also always wanted to do a magazine for the Christian community that could help people with these issues. This kind of lackadaisical attitude was frustrating, because I had felt that as Christians, we must take a stand for our faith and live it out through our actions. The idea behind Integrity was founded on these thoughts and is something that I feel the Lord wanted me to bring to the business community in North America. Everywhere you look, there is Christian counselling — for families, for pastors, for anyone in the community. But when it comes to businessmen, the most your pastor will tell you comes down to the tithe and offering. Talk to your network of business owners who are Christians and secular principles prevail in the way they run their business. Talk to your friends who are Christians and they’re clueless because they don’t run a business. Go online and you will find very limited resources for you as a Christian business owner. So there was a need. Through the experience of launching a magazine with Apeeling Orange, I knew that putting together a Christian business publication was going to be challenging and not even possible if I didn’t
The Integrity Story have the right team around me. So I had to wait. I asked God to “put the fleece out.” I prayed, “Lord, if you want this to happen — and I feel that you do — then you will bring one person along who is able to help me and has considerable experience in the business of publishing for the Christian community.” I had to wait for almost four years for that person. God knew that I first needed experience in putting together my own publication for Apeeling Orange. He knew that I had to lose everything in my business and give it back to him. He knew that I need to rely on Him alone for everything. In the summer of 2010, I ran into a gentleman by the name of Hermen Atienza. Hermen went to a prayer group I was also attending and I felt prompted to connect with him. When we met up for a coffee, I learned that he had extensive publishing and media experience in the Christian community in the Philippines from where he had just immigrated. He was also seeking direction from the Lord on what he should do. The answer to prayer had been met. Disclosing my vision to Hermen was something very special. I knew that the Lord had presented me with the person who would be able to bring my vision to clarity. Over the four years I’ve had of thinking about a Christian magazine, I had numerous discussions with my good friend Dr. Jeff Lutz. Jeff, who is an ordained pastor, also owns Harvesters Media and founded International Harvesters for Christ. One of the things which kept coming up in our discussions was the need for a Christian media outlet that serves all media. This media company would be all encompassing — including marketing, radio, TV or publishing. After meeting with Hermen, I wanted to bring Jeff in on the conversation. Jeff accepted to be part of this journey, for which I am humbly grateful.
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On January 1, 2011, I called a meeting of key people whom I felt could help with the launch of this magazine. I knew from the verse I had been given that the name should be Integrity magazine. I presented my idea to this group of gentlemen. I also put forward a request for a board to be formed from this group. However, I didn’t want someone to be part of it if they did not feel that the Lord was calling them to do this. I asked the group to pray about it and we parted ways, agreeing to meet again in a few weeks. The Lord brought in seven gentlemen of different business disciplines that any serious company needed. In the middle of January, the Integrity Seven had our first board meeting. As we plan to go to press, the love we have for each other as Christians comes through in every decision we make for the magazine. In our discussions, the vision for the Kingdom of Christ keeps growing. What has been even more interesting for me is that, as we move further into this project and see the unfolding of the vision the Lord has given us, the groundswell of support from the greater Christian community is overwhelming. We are finding that there is an apparent need for this kind of publication and that the Lord is guiding us in this project. To close, I share with you the Vision Statement the board has approved for Integrity. Integrity Magazine praises the Lord for making certain that, in His perfect time, it will: • Give glory to God as a successful international Christian business magazine (2 Corinthians 1:12); • Teach Christian business owners, executives, tradespersons and employees about real business success by the practice of biblical business management principles (Isaiah 48:17); • Reach out to the business world and share biblical business management as the best way to real business success (Luke 4:18); • Channel its surplus to establishing the kingdom of Jesus in the hearts of men and women (Matthew 10:29-30) • Effect a radical change in the business world through consistent and faithful practice of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12).
THE LORD’S INTEGRITY TEAM
Same Home Same Service Same Results All at a
Harm Geurs, President and Publisher
Dr. Jeff Lutes, Vice President
Hermen Atienza, Secretary and Editor in Chief
Gary Graves, Treasurer
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Wayne Arkelian, Board Director
David Tonen, Board Director
Matt Whitman, Board Director
Sound Ethics for a Solid Business Foundation By Dr. Jeffrey Lutes
HAVE YOU EVER tried to work with an employee who seemingly has no issue with lying? How do you respond to a company that will not honor a contract? These kinds of actions leave us feeling frustrated and violated. There are numerous other examples of breakdowns in trust and accountability we could list, but I’m sure few need to be convinced that the results of dishonesty have a catastrophic effect on business. We are left to ask ourselves in this post-Christian society, how are people setting their morals? On what do people base their sense of right and wrong? If integrity is not a key ingredient of our character and of those we are dealing with, how can we, with any sense of certainty, conduct even the smallest business transaction? I hope by reading this article we will gain a greater sense of the need for truth, honesty and accountability in our lives. Perhaps we will come to see that it makes good business sense to foster these qualities. Ethics is becoming increasingly important to employers. This is evidenced by the assurance they want that students graduating from business schools (whom they propose to hire) to have been instructed on basics such as accountability and honesty. If an employer cannot trust a person on the payroll then serious consequences may ensue. An underlying cause for problems in the workplace is that some think an action is not wrong unless they are caught. We are living in an age of so-called moral relativism. This questionable philosophy of life teaches that nothing is regarded as inherently right or wrong. Rather, what is taught is that what may be right for one person is not necessarily wrong for another. But smart business owners know that truth and accountability pay good dividends. These are moral absolutes that are keys to the success of any sound business plan. Pertaining to situation ethics is the view that the end justifies the means. When we place profit, for example, as the penultimate goal, we often disregard the essential building blocks of truth and honesty. Without these elements, a company or country is thrown into chaos. When proponents of this way of thinking state that there are no moral absolutes, the comeback can be, “Are you stating this absolutely?” Similar to truths in nature, there are absolutes in the business realm. If you put your hand to the fire, you’ll get burned. If you stay under water for an extended period of time without air,
you’ll drown. In the same way, ignoring the fact that what you borrow you must pay back, will result in a bank seizing assets for defaulting on payments. If our sense of right and wrong is different from our creditors, it’s just a matter of time before we awaken to the harsh reality of the truth. Moral relativism is a shaky foundation for any company. We all need a moral compass that points to the true north and the Bible is one reliable and practical guide for proper business practices. This subject begs the question of how society is developing its sense of right and wrong. If people have not been raised in an atmosphere of the church and the Bible has not been taught in the home, then what are they using as their moral foundation? The lack of morals portrayed in much of today’s entertainment industry is a cause for grave concern. We need to move quickly to challenge mainstream media and claim it for righteousness and morality. Otherwise, the consequences will continue to be devastating for all of society. Be it a business, home or country, the basic building blocks of honesty and accountability are crucial. How do we begin to counteract the deluge of negative, self-centered thinking that is being fed to people on a daily basis through the entertainment industry and mainstream media? Perhaps we can begin by setting out objectives in a company that reflect service and care for customers. A company can sit down as a group of workers and supervisors to formulate a mission statement. If profit is always put as the key goal, most likely, unethical business practices will ensue. However, if quality service and providing dependability are among the chief goals, then honesty and integrity will be the values demonstrated in the workplace. The end does not always justify the means. There are moral absolutes in life. When we take our code of ethics from the Bible instead of what is portrayed in the mainstream media, we will begin to see turnarounds in the morale of our companies. Higher job satisfaction may be the result, too. This most likely will result in higher productivity as well. This contributes to a better financial bottom line. Yes, honesty and truth are virtues that are worth pursuing in the business realm. Dr. Jeﬀrey Lutes is president of International Harvesters for Christ working with pastors on five continents and the Harvesters Media Group with a network of radio stations serving the Maritimes. Contact him at jeﬀ@jeﬄutes.com.
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Rejoicing in the
No Words Can Say By Annemarie Johnson GOD SPEAKS TO US volumes upon volumes through nature and the wonderful creations all around us every day. To know God, we just have to look around. His love is shown in every detail of an insect or a flower or the grandeur of a tree. Oh, how a picture paints a thousand words. Irene Lumgair, in her illustrated book, How to Draw and Paint Wave Action, writes, “Art is a form of communication and with it we can bypass awkward, inadequate language constraints and go right to the heart, the jugular, the button.” A man once studied Lumgair’s paintings for a long time then commented that she must like soft jazz music. The man, who was a musician, described how he could see the rhythm of the music in the painting. She was surprised by his insight as she always listens to soft jazz as she paints. Look at a man’s artwork and you will see into his soul. There is something so true about Luke 6:45 that says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” To that I would add, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the artist creates.” The arts speak to our spirit in a language that uses no words. In silence, the picture tells a story. Our emotions are engaged. We understand without explanation, reason or words. We just know. Even business people just know. In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek looks at how consumers make decisions to purchase a product. Simon points to the Golden circle — a drawing of a circle within a
with a shipping industry located on the River Clyde. They were declining in population and their young people were leaving home for better jobs in other cities. The town decided to do something about it. They invited artists to their town and started by initiating change with a $1-million budget. Today, a $100-million budget supports a vibrant local art economy. Glasgow has been transformed into a trendy metropolis of the arts and a holiday destination for tourists around the world. There is, therefore, a case for Atlantic Canada business to encourage the flourishing of art in the Maritimes in the same way that Christian business should encourage the flourishing of Christian art. In the Bible, two men were set apart and blessed with artistic giftings to build and beautify Solomon’s temple.
How the arts sees into the heart circle, much like a bull’s eye on a dartboard — to describe the different ways in which we make decisions. The outer circle he calls the neocortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for the rational and analytical thought and language. The center circle is the “limbic brain, which is responsible for all of our feelings, such as trust and loyalty.” What he learned was that we do not purchase a product primarily based on the information alone. Rather, a deeper feeling or conviction that often cannot be explained or put into words motivates us to choose it. If a product is in line with our beliefs, we are happier with our decision and we stick with our choice for a long time. Sinek says, “The part of the brain that controls our feelings has no capacity for language.” This is why it is hard to put into words the real reason why we do what we do at times. For example, why did we marry the person we love? We can explain it with a lot of words — reasoning produced from the neocortex. But this is not where the decision was made in the first place. It happened in our limbic brain, our heart. There is a second level of correlation between arts and business. It has been noted that art-centered cities have a higher level of economic development and therefore higher consumer purchasing power. Glasgow, Scotland, for example, was a gritty fishing town
See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills — to make artistic designs… and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. (Exodus 35:30-33) God not only chooses but also fills the artist with the Holy Spirit so that he or she has the skill and knowledge. It’s a calling. If we consider our marketplace as a living organism and look at how it functions, I would say that business is the engine and the arts its fuel. The arts bring the heart and soul to a region. The arts bring an element of the Holy Spirit who breathes life and gives inspiration for business creativity and competitiveness. As God speaks to our businesses through art, our hearts are touched and transformed and we gain understanding, in a moment, without a word being spoken. Annemarie Johnson is an award-winning professional artist and owner of Trompe L’oeil Murals. Email her at email@example.com or visit www.annemariejohnson.ca.
State of the
Photo by Max Murphy
The Missing Link By Gerry Leet
Downtown Halifax Harbourview
EACH DAY we brace ourselves for the morning breaking news and it is a repeat from yesterday’s news. There has been another murder in the community, a violent robbery, a prominent citizen charged, corporation fraud, sexual assault, drug gang shooting, or another drunk driver killing innocents. All these despite the best efforts of dedicated professionals, and government and police intervention. There is something wrong with us! There is a missing link in all our research and analysis of the factors causing crime. Let me list the visible causes for crime: • • • • •
Drug addiction Alcohol abuse Gambling compulsions Mental health issues Lack of educational opportunity
• Economic stress and poverty • Family breakdown • Violent video games and movies • Gloriﬁ cation of crime • Decline of values and morality
But there is also an invisible cause for crime. And while some will recoil at the suggestion that felony has a direct spiritual root, there is absolutely a connection. I know because I lived it! I am a former police officer and former offender who did not fit into the “visible” causes listed above. Billy Graham once said, “We are all capable of just about anything.” I proved that! My search for answers began with my own criminal behavior and how a well-respected former police officer like me could decide that bank robbery was the solution to his financial crisis. My appalling behavior shocked and devastated family, friends and my community. I would never really recover from the consequences, but I thank God for the opportunity to learn a truth about crime that I would have never discovered. I had a merciful encounter with God during the personal chaos of shame, torment and a total collapse of the life I knew. It was in this storm of consequences that I learned about the “invisible” world that has the power to destroy your life. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are two invisible forces at work — and whichever one you feed will master your behavior.
The solution to crime that we avoid
War Between Good and Bad We can measure by empirical data how the visible conditions contribute to social disorder and dysfunction that connect to criminal behavior. However, we are unable to perceive how invisible spiritual elements could be a direct link to criminality. We read in Hebrews 11:3 that “by faith we understand that the universe were ordered by the Word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.” Note that some Bible translations replace the word “universe” with “worlds,” which indicate that both the invisible and visible are different entities, but still true realities in fact and purpose. This truth is further supported in Colossians 1:15-16 where we learn that God created all things on earth and in heaven, both the visible and invisible. We also learn in Ephesians 6:10 that our battles are not against flesh and blood (the visible) but against the rulers of darkness (the invisible). If criminal behavior has its prime source and origins under the authority of the power of darkness, then how do we escape such a powerful force? In Colossians 1:13, we are enlightened that it is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who will deliver us from this evil influence. The visible conditions I have quoted above are key factors that contribute to crime but are secondary to the condition of the human heart. The primary reason for crime can be found in a revealing quote from the Bible in Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Here are some recent examples of deceptive hearts: • Nova Scotia MLA’s are caught pocketing or abusing their expense account; • The leader of Italy is accused of having sex with a minor; • Cyber-bullying contributed to a young girl committing suicide in Truro, NS; • a St. Francix Xavier University professor is murdered by her spouse demonstrating that domestic violence continues to be an alarming malady in our society; • Floridian Casey Anthony is acquitted from charges of murdering her five-year-old daughter. There is something wrong with us! It is invisible but very real.We have a heart problem. The first recorded murder is found in Genesis of the Bible where Cain killed his brother, not because of any of the social challenges or problems, but because of envy and jealousy. Our social sciences cannot qualify or record any “empirical” data on envy or the Seven Deadly Sins, but these are definitely a reality in the roots of crime. Our society suffers with natural heart disease that kills many, but we also struggle with an invisible heart disease that is hidden from the human eye and the science of medicine. It is just as deadly as cardiovascular disease. Impacting Community by Collaboration and Partnership Here is where City Centre Ministry comes in. We had been
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challenged why the Church was not more proactive in the process of identifying the solutions to crime in our province. We knew that the Church was involved in the social factors that contribute to crime and social deviance but somehow were not “seen” or “recognized” as active participants with other stakeholders in this challenge. We had to change the perception! Just as our centre is nestled in the hub of downtown Halifax with the financial towers encircling us, the ministry is located in the heart of the daily issues of our city. We have offered the Alpha Course, a Crime Prevention Outreach, in our office for the afterwork downtown crowd. We also have a weekly study called “Transforming the Workplace.” We provide coaching to the downtown community and regular prayer times for our city. City Centre Ministry has been actively collaborating with numerous agencies that provide expertise and care for those who need various resources, including the offenders and victims of crime. We are forming “Walk About” teams to visit different communities. Jesus said, “You will have trouble in this world.” But He added, “Take cheer; I have overcome the world.” This means that following Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him each day, and for that matter, each moment, we will overcome and tame our flawed human characteristics. This is the “Missing Link Solution” in our crime prevention efforts. Until we can accept this truth, we will never have the success we desire. Gerry Leet is the Director of Development of City Centre Ministry. He is also a coach, speaker, author and pastor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.gerryleet.com or www.citycentreministry.ca. Where Haircuts Open 7 Days a week are Cool and 406-7074 Fun Rules!
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Lord, help me,
I’m an Entrepreneur
By Frances Leary
THIS MORNING I did my standard commute to work. This is the process I go through two or three days a week when I don’t have meetings scheduled. I woke up, sent my daughter off to preschool with her dad, poured myself a cup of coffee and got ready for my five-second commute down to my office. I must say I’m lucky to be able to run a successful business from home. Not everyone has this luxury, and I’m thankful for the lack of overhead and the short travel time. There are downsides, however, which brings me back to my story. I did my five-second commute downstairs only to discover that some sort of disaster had struck my office. For a moment I was unsure about what had happened. I pondered whether a thief might have ransacked the place or if a tornado had localized so that it damaged my office and not the other parts of the house. Just then my coffee kicked in and I realized that my office disaster had been my own fault. So I grabbed my laptop and proceeded back up the stairs to my “new office,” otherwise called the living room. Sometimes working from home is not as luxurious as it seems. I am only accountable to myself, which while great in many ways, also means I have no one else to keep me on track and ensure that my office, my house and my schedule are as organized as they should be. Hmmm… so, what to do about this? I do comprehend the strategies that are required to succeed at organization. Plan out my week in advance. Make out a schedule. Be specific. Schedule in time for everything from office work, business development and meetings to laundry,
Organization, Schmorganization Just knowing how to organize isn’t enough cleaning, mommy time and that ever-evasive “free time” we all need so much. I know all these so why have I relocated my office to the living room? Obviously, there’s more to it than just knowing what I need to do. I actually have to do it. Maybe this means leveraging my time and hiring an organizer or a housekeeper or both. Maybe this means just striving hard to stick to my schedule and not allowing myself to get sidetracked. Maybe — and this is the most likely answer — it’s a combination of both. Dear God, I realize you cannot come down here and clean my office, although that would be fantastic. I know you are present in every part of my life.You are with me 24 hours a day guiding everything that I do, and my commitment is to glorify You through it all. I realize I’m falling short in the area of organization, and I lift this up to You. I know what I need to do and I’m ready to do it. With Your help, I can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle standing in my way. Thank You for Your revelations and Your guidance. Help me always to be a light that reflects Your love to the world — even in my office. Frances Leary is a published author and experienced public speaker. She owns Wired Flare, which develops and implements exclusive online marketing campaigns for companies that want to increase exposure, increase traﬃc and ultimately increase sales. Email her at frances@ wiredflare.com or visit www.WiredFlare.com
It’s All About Your Story By David Tonen
MARKETING IS VERY MISUNDERSTOOD. If I were to ask you to define it for me, your response might include something about logos, branding, advertising, selling, and you might even describe a Herb Tarlek-like salesman — a tacky guy with a smarmy sales pitch. Most people I talk to immediately equate marketing with advertising. Advertising is a sub-discipline of marketing and a very important one at that. But think of it this way — I completed a four-year university degree in marketing from Saint Mary’s University, but I only took one semester on the topic of advertising. Advertising is the manifestation of a lot of strategic planning that goes on prior to the creation of the print, web, radio or television ad that you see. Marketing = Story There are many “textbook” definitions of marketing but in it’s simplest form, marketing is just telling your story. The story of your business, the story of your church, the story of you. In great marketing, people respond to great, compelling stories. As Christians, we have the greatest story on the planet to tell — the life-transforming story of Jesus. Shouldn’t we then, be telling that story and using whatever tools possible to ensure that it is told with the greatest level of effectiveness, impact and excellence? Jesus commissioned us: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Storytelling and discipleship can only happen through relationship. If I just walk up to someone I have never met and start trying to tell them the story of Jesus, there is a 95 percent chance of failure. Why? Because, I have not earned the right. To begin the disciple-making process, the receiver has to trust you. You earn that right by following three key relational steps. First, you must get to know the person. They need to know a little about you and you need to become familiar with them to build a level of comfort. Second, they have to begin to like you. Otherwise, no bond will be established in the relationship. Finally, once they like you, with time, trust will begin to form. Where trust resides, then you have earned the stage to tell your story. That is the core of marketing psychology.
Marketing is as simple as storytelling — and you need it for evangelizing too
Advertising Jesus Churches often shy away from marketing with the hesitation to “advertise” Jesus. I understand that tension completely. When you look at marketing through the lens of storytelling however, it now is much more practical, viable and necessary. Take some time to think about your church. When someone first sees your sign — what story does it tell? The way people are greeted, the bulletin, the decor, the music, the message — they all communicate something about your church culture, history, and the way you care for your ministry. True, those may be peripheral elements to the story but they wrap it up and frame it in the
context of your ministry. They become the stage upon which the story is told. The story of Jesus is presentenced through the package of those elements. Does the environment captivate the person with passion and excellence so that they are engaged? But let’s not forget one very important element — the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a power in the middle of this story that only God can bring to it that no human communication, marketing, strategy, or environment can match. We absolutely need (and want) that power! It is the key differentiator that transcends environmental factors and any human storytelling technique. I thank God that He works in unique ways inside a person that compensates for all the shortcomings that we or our church have. However, I personally feel that I need to give every effort of excellence that my church and I can manage, to partner with the Holy Spirit to tell the story of Jesus as effectively as we can within the confines of the resources at our disposal. Tell Your Story in the Marketplace As a Christian in the workplace, you and I also have a responsibility to tell the story of Jesus as effectively as we can. This does not mean that we have to be “preachers” but we do have to live our lives with spiritual transparency and integrity to demonstrate the change, impact, and growth that our genuine relationship with Jesus is making within us. I realize the challenges this presents in today’s politically correct, human-resources-run workplace. I worked 20 years for non-Christian publishing companies that highly discouraged discussion of spirituality in the office. That said, there are many ways to be who you are as a Christian as you share the “events” of your personal life — the way you serve in your church, the meetings and ministry you participate and engage in, and the stories of the changed lives of people you know, including your own. Our culture has little respect left for religion but people are looking for hope, peace and purpose. They are trying to fill the God-sized void at the core of their life with alcohol, drugs, relationships and entertainment. What they are discovering,
however, is that no matter how much they spend on those pursuits, they are always left wanting because nothing can substitute for God. Business essentially exists to serve a consumer need.The job of marketing then is to tell the story of how a product or service meets the needs of its target consumer. Since people’s core needs are spiritual, a businessperson should seriously consider matching a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical needs with the benefits that a personal relationship with Jesus brings. It’s a challenge, but if you look at what you offer through your business and partner it with God’s mission for you, I believe you have an unmatched solution that will radically change the lives of your customers. So when the opportunity arises, tell your story of how God has intersected your life. The marketplace is your ministry. Stop looking at your job as just a means to pay bills. Allow God to leverage the network and relationships you have to tell your personal spiritual story. That may happen one sentence at a time, but they are watching, listening, and are definitely interested. People will respect you when you live what you believe and when they see that consistency in your life. I have personally experienced that when you dedicate your business to God and let Him orchestrate your corporate activities, the benefits far outweigh the fears. God is waiting for us to live our relationship out with Him beyond Sunday morning and walk every day in our workplace with Him. When you start to do that, you will be amazed with the connections He makes, the opportunities He reveals, and the success that He brings into even the most menial of tasks. Marketing you, your church, your ministry, or your business is all about great storytelling. Take the time to craft your story with excellence and it will have impact in people’s lives (and your own) as God anoints your business activities to offer people around you the fullness of life that they are so desperately searching for. David Tonen is the Marketing Navigator at MinistryStory.com where he helps church and business leaders to tell their ministry stories with greater eﬀectiveness, impact and excellence.
Rebuilding a Business on Biblical Princi
The cover of Mingle Magazine is designed to reflect the content of each edition.
By Frances Leary
SITTING DOWN FOR COFFEE with Harm Geurs brings to mind a time long gone by — when people stopped to say hello and neighbors sat in rocking chairs on their porches sharing stories, when people weren’t in too much of a hurry to stop and help a stranger who was stranded on the side of the road. Thankfully, in Nova Scotia we still see glimpses of that time now and again, and it’s people like Harm who cause us to pause, embrace the present, and take joy in the smaller details of life. It’s people like Harm who spread God’s love and joy through their subtle yet meaningful deeds.
Of course, Harm’s humble spirit takes no pride in doing this (although he would tell you that pride can be his greatest downfall). He simply lives the life he’s been called to lead — a life that is devoted to serving God. But getting where he is today was quite a journey. FAITH AWAKENING Originally from Holland, Harm immigrated to Canada with his family when he was four years old. As a child, he was immersed in biblical doctrine, and anything and everything in his life
iples revolved around the teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church. After high school, Harm did what many young people do: he rebelled. Harm moved to Nova Scotia for a fine arts education at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and he wanted nothing to do with his former faith. His studies led him into the field of advertising, which gave him the opportunity to work with some of the biggest agencies in Halifax. Harm met and married his wife, Holly, during this time. While he was working in upper management at a local agency, Harm’s grandfather passed away. Before he died, the old man spoke with Harm about his faith and about the love of Christ. It stuck with Harm, causing him to reflect upon his upbringing and ultimately realize that he needed and wanted a relationship with God. Harm dedicated his life to Christ, and Christ became everything in his life. This new direction, however, made him question the accounts he was working on and the agencies he dealt with. In 2006, Harm was fired because his conscience wouldn’t allow him to carry out his work. Soon after, Harm opened the doors to Apeeling Orange.
Harm Geurs and Apeeling Orange mixes business with God’s pleasure of giving
PAYING THE PRICE When he started the company, he based it on biblical principles. The goal was not about money but rather about showing love and respect, and giving back in all the work they did. That was how he set the benchmark with everything he wanted in his business. He wouldn’t work with clients whose motives were not honest and good. Business was going well. The money was coming in. And so did the temptations. “I left behind the principles of giving and being light in the dark world for financial gain,” Harm explained. The sin of pride had taken hold. Harm didn’t realize this in time to stop the damage. He ended up paying a steep price. Within a short period of time, all of Harm’s sales dried up. Forty thousand dollars in contracts were put on hold. For all practical purposes, his business was dying. Then his daughter was born, and Harm had to refinance their house. All the equity that he had built up had to be thrown into keeping his family afloat. He used all his own personal assets to keep the business open and his family from losing everything. In typical God fashion, Harm received messages about how to move forward and what to do. A number of people approached him to say they were being led by the Spirit to advise him to seek God’s path. Then his family went on holiday and Harm had the opportunity to talk seriously with his father-in-law, who was also his business coach. Harm was forced to answer some difficult questions. Did he want to walk away from his dream? Did he want to stay and fight to fix it? If he kept the business, what did he want to do with it? How could he best make use of this time when business was slow? Harm realized that he had let his pride dictate his choices and that his love of money had become more powerful than his love of God. He knew he had to make a change. He also admitted to himself that what he really wanted to do was to start a magazine that would bring businesses together and help small business owners. Those realizations were all fine and good, but that alone would not have made a difference. Finally, Harm did what he had needed to do for some time: he prayed.
BRINGING BUSINESSES TOGETHER Harm rededicated his life and his business to Christ. Soon after that, he launched Mingle Magazine and had a new lease on life. Clients were coming in, bills were being paid, and he no longer had to bleed from his home finances to pay for the business. Eventually, Harm got so busy with Apeeling Orange that he needed to hire Derek Kaye as director of operations. In Derek, Harm found someone equally committed to the vision of Apeeling Orange: giving to help others first. Mingle Magazine was instrumental in Harm’s process of redefining Apeeling Orange. “Mingle is all about bringing businesses together,” Harm explained, “by serving as a vehicle for businesses through networking, advertising and more. It’s about giving back to the community and creating exposure for all the businesses we touch. Whether we make money on it or not, it comes back many times over through good will and referrals. People see the good work we do.You can’t out-give God.You give and He’ll give back to you tenfold.” That biblical principle of giving has become the benchmark for everything that is done at Apeeling Orange. “It doesn’t matter who we hire, whether Christian or nonChristian,” said Harm, “our goal is to help small businesses. If you come to us and need help getting exposure, we’ll work with you to create some sort of system whether it costs you money or simply helps you tap into our networking events to start making connections so you can start your business the right way.” ‘RULE OF 10’ Two Scripture passages have been most powerful in leading Harm and his business growth over the past years. First is Malachi 3:10, which reads, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” The tithe refers to the “Rule of 10” as
Harm puts it. At Apeeling Orange, they apply this by giving away at 10 to 13 percent of their total time and revenue back to small businesses and charities — by counseling businesses on how to market themselves successfully and by taking on certain projects that they believe in for little or no money. “It feels good doing it,” said Harm. “You’re making a difference. Whether people see it that way or not, the spirit of giving is what it’s being built on.” Integrating the Rule of 10 as a standard business practice has also opened up many doors for Harm to share his faith with others. “We’ve been given our network, our business associates, and every person we come into contact with as someone we can bring the gospel to,” he said. “Giving opens the door to start a dialogue. If it opens the door for me to have a conversation about the love of Christ in some way, shape, or form because they ask why, that’s awesome. It’s the perfect door opener.” This principle of giving has had significant impact on Apeeling Orange’s business growth, not only in the form of the good that they do but financially as well. One client, for example, connected with Harm at a networking event soon after he had severed his partnership in 2008. Apeeling Orange developed the brand for this not-for-profit organization at no cost to them. That simple act of giving turned into a long-term contract that resulted in Apeeling Orange growing over 300 percent in a year’s time. The second Scripture passage that Harm holds close is Psalm 91, which reads in part, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” For Harm, this reminds him of his most challenging time as a man of God. He chose to take a stand for his faith, and in doing so he realized that he was no longer meant to work in a well-paying job but was being led to step out in faith and go out on his own to build a business based on biblical principles. “I didn’t know where I was going, and this psalm reminded me that if I stay under the shadow of God’s wing, He’ll keep me there. He protects us so nothing can get to us,” Harm shared. “That was a real comfort to me when I had nowhere else to turn. There were no options at the time, and the Lord provided.” Clearly, the Lord is still providing for Harm and his family and for the team at Apeeling Orange. It has been a long road with peaks and valleys, but Harm feels blessed to be able to put his life, family and business in the hands of the Lord. Harm and his wife, Holly, now have two children, ages 7 and 2. There are times when they both feel the squeeze that not having a steady paycheck brings, but as Harm puts it, “How do you walk away from a dream and a vision that the Lord’s given you when He’s proven it time and time again?” Overall, they know their family is strong because God is guiding them through it together. HERE AND BEYOND Harm currently co-owns Apeeling Orange with two local businessmen: Derek Kaye and Jeff Brooks. This business relationship has allowed Harm to more thoroughly devote his gifts to the glory of God. Previously, Harm had been too busy in the sales process to be involved with the more creative elements, and it
took him a long time to realize that using his skills as a creative person is what God really wants him to do. Finally, he is able to do just that. Giving will continue to remain as the guiding principle of all that they do, and all three owners are committed to seeing this happen, even when it means turning down lucrative contracts that go against their mission. They are also in the process of growing a team of employees that are equally committed to their vision and purpose. “We’ve been burned sometimes from people taking advantage of us,” explained Harm, “but we’re not bitter. The challenge is that we stay on that focus of the biblical principle of giving and giving back. We are! We love the business culture here. That carries over to everything we do. All of our staff at Apeeling Orange has to reflect those same principles. It’s not always about the sale or about making the deal to make extra money. It’s about putting yourself out there to show that you care about the people first. That’s very important to me.” So, where will Apeeling Orange go from here? God’s will hasn’t been revealed in its entirety, but He has blessed Harm with this vision: to take his business model of giving beyond local endeavors and
From left to right: Laura Napier, Harm Geurs, Jeff Brooks, Derek Kaye and Nadine Purdy.
expand it across Canada. “The next step, for example, could be taking our business model to a national level by using Mingle to set up networks in communities across Canada in order to help small businesses nationwide,” Harm said. “It would all be focused on the principle of giving, just as it is here in Halifax. How we do it… well, we’re still working on it, but the vision is there.” Until then, Harm will continue on his journey to do God’s work and follow the path He has laid before him. “My own philosophy is first God, then family, then work, and following that puts a lot of things in perspective.You have to put everything you do in business against those filters. Is it honoring to God? Respectful to my family? Is it everything God would want it to be?” he said. Clearly, businesses can be built on integrity. Although he’d never admit it himself, Harm’s business endeavors and personal strides are an inspiration to many.
By Hermen Atienza
ECONOMICS is a relatively new discipline that became a science in the 1900s. However, economics has always been an important concern in all periods of history. Before their inglorious exit from Eden, humans stood at the head of creation. In Genesis 1:28, God gave man the responsibility to “subdue the earth” which, the Amplified Bible translates as “using all its its vast resources in the service of God and man.” This is Kingdom Economics. Economics comes from the Greek word oikonomia (oy-kon-om-ee’-ah) which means “household stewardship” or “management.” Aristotle defined it as the management of the household in order to increase its use and value to household members. If we expand household to include the community of people with common geography, resources, systems, institutions, language, and history, then we have a good definition of early economics. Over the centuries, Economics evolved to become a social science, defined as the science of allocating scarce resources for alternative uses. It is concerned with man’s efforts to attain satisfaction when his means are scarce. It also implies that some human needs must be denied. There are two notable differences between today’s economics and Kingdom Economics. First, Kingdom Economics believes in vast or abundant resources while
Going back to the Economics of Abundance the world’s economics assumes scarcity of resources. Second, modern Economics serves man alone while Kingdom Economics serves God and man. Roots of Scarcity Economics Scarcity economics, as we know it today, has its roots in two biblical events. The first event is Lucifer’s fall from heaven. As reported in Ezekiel 28, Lucifer or Satan was thrown out and down because of pride and his business practices. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned (v 16)… By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries (v 18)… By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud (v 4-5, emphasis added) Indeed, even before the beginning of time as we know it, some angels gave in to the temptation and trap of love of money, the root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:9-10). The second episode that led to scarcity economics was instigated by the serpent — the fall of Adam and Eve. As they were being escorted out of Paradise, the Lord told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life…. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.” (Genesis 3:17-19) The fall ended man’s time of abundant resources and birthed the regime of scarcity. Man’s desire to be free of the curse of lifelong toil, his knowledge of the (Con’t on p. 20)
Teaching and Training Ourselves Out of a Job I JUST SPENT TWO MONTHS in Uganda. It was during this time that there were a few days of rioting in the city of Kampala, which was near us. On one of those days, I had to get off the bus I was taking into the city and turn around because the police and military had blocked access to the city centre. People were upset with the country’s leadership and were showing it. It was clear that much of the population perceived President Yoweri Museveni as a leader without a vision for the country. They saw him as one who no longer cared about them. He was removing younger leaders from around him for fear they may threaten his position one day. He was beginning to rule the country by force through the police and military. Museveni is a man who goes to church. He is thought to be a Christian.Yet, from all appearances, he is not a spiritual leader or a leader who is spiritual. Much of the population is questioning if he is even a good leader. Our society today, if not our world, is short on good leadership. I say “good” because there will always be leaders but not always good ones. I define a leader as someone who is taking one or more people from point A, our current reality, to point B, some place believed to be better. There will always be those who know what they want and where they want to go. For example, we’ve all heard of someone who had the next great idea that would make them rich. Some of these ideas work — like Apple, Facebook, and Nike to name a few. These are the stories that make up our modern-day folklore. But most other ideas do not work at all. Regardless, people with these ideas were clear on two things. First, they knew where they stood in that moment. Second, as far as they were concerned, this idea was going to take them somewhere better. Inevitably, there will be those who buy in and follow. People like this are leaders. But not everything people want to accomplish is good and profitable — whether it is financial, moral or ethical. We will always have leaders, but we will not always have good leaders. And just having good leaders is not enough. We need spiritual leaders. By this I do not mean more or better pastors and priests. I mean leaders who are spiritual. Christian men and women in society who have a relationship with God through Jesus and it is reflected in their lives and in their leadership. They listen to God and they obey God. Spiritual leaders require training and equipping. Generally, they need to be taught. They need to be taught as children. They need to be taught as young adults. They need to be taught as young professionals and young parents. Consider Proverbs 22:6. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. No one ever just becomes something by osmosis. My context for this is at the universities. I have been working with Campus for Christ, a ministry of Power to Change, for 15 years. I’ve spent nine years of that time working with students at the University of Calgary, and since then at Saint Mary’s University, Dalhousie University, and to a lesser extent, Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick. Over this time, I have taken student teams on missions trips to Central America, Asia and Africa. I have found that students typically fall into one of two categories. They lack discipline and direction, or they are driven by big dreams but have a secular context for achieving them. Something I have learned since coming to work for Campus for Christ is the need to develop spiritual leaders or, as we prefer to refer to them, spiritual multipliers. We are to raise up leaders who themselves are able to raise up other leaders and so on. In the Bible, Paul teaches Timothy that there are leaders out there, but they need to be found and developed. … what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2) (Con’t on p. 20)
By Chris Harman
20 (con’t of “Kingdom Economics”)
scarcity of world resources, and his desire to satisfy his needs and wants set the stage for man’s desire to “amass gold and silver” (Ezekiel 28:4) at all cost, even to the detriment of his neighbor. All through the era of scarcity economics, Satan used love of money to control economies and kingdoms. He even bragged to Jesus that he could give wealth and power to anyone he wanted to! I guess this was true because Jesus did not dispute his claims (Luke 4:6). Many businesses, even those owned by Christians, have to operate in the dog-eat-dog world governed by the economics of scarcity. These businesses may not be aware that Jesus had released the abundance of Kingdom Economics and this is now available to business owners. As John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”(italics mine). Business Renewal Any business has the option to operate in the economy of abundant. Any business can have real business success by becoming a part of the Kingdom Economy. Any business can operate in this world but not be of this world (John 15:19) when a business is dedicated to Jesus and when the Holy Spirit is allowed to renew the business. In 18 years of biblical management consultancy, I have counseled many companies that had loss-to-profit turnarounds and major earnings gains as they became renewed and operated in God’s economy. While companies cannot be born again, they become successful when managed with the objective of glorifying God in all aspects of the business (1 Corinthians 10:31). It ought to be pointed out that business renewal is not an overnight fix. Rather, it is a long term, day-to-day process. Companies allow the Lord to grow it into one of excellence and success. It eventually becomes the best business it can become, as it is “inwardly being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16) and as it “puts on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10). The renewing of an enterprise, trade or corporation entails mentoring and counsel. It is a demanding transformation and reengineering process where scriptural management principles are integrated and implemented and, as the Lord is glorified, business success follows. “Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war obtain guidance,” says Proverbs 20:18. Renewal is championed by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, renewed business becomes an active part of the movement of the Holy Spirit to institute Kingdom Economics in the marketplace.
When we capture who you are, we will capture their hearts.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:30) (con’t of “Teaching and Training Ourselves...”)
It’s not enough to raise up leaders who know how to read their Bibles and make it to church on time. Spiritual multipliers are leaders who wants to make a difference in the world for Christ and they are working at transferring this vision and passion into others. My colleagues in Uganda are witnessing the opposite of this. President Museveni is removing young leaders instead of developing and promoting them. He is doing this out of fear for his job. In actuality, a good leader will train himself out of a position. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I a leader (an influencer), a good leader, or a spiritual leader (spiritual multiplier)?” This is not a job just for the campus minister. Nor is this an ambition only for the university student. This is for every person in the church. As a business person and/or professional, you are a leader. What you say and do is seen, recognized, and followed. This is also not a job to be left to the clergy. Our pastors and priests are shepherds. They guide, they encourage, they nurture. They are not experts in everything. Due to life experience, there are pastors and priests who can take their shepherding to another level. But it does not change the fact that their role is to shepherd. This requires us all to be students of Jesus who are able to teach others. We need someone ahead of us in the faith journey to mentor us and, eventually, we then mentor others. The world is short on spiritual leaders. Spiritual leaders are taught and they are to be taught by us. The next time you consider a business investment, consider also who you can invest in. The next time you consider how you will climb the corporate ladder, consider who you can bring along with you. Chris Harman is campus director of Power to Change Ministries. He and his wife, Heather, have ministered in the academe for the past 15 years in Calgary and now at Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie Universities in Halifax. Email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enlighten Laser more than skin deep Serving you with 5 locations Sydney Halifax Area King’s Road Joseph Howe Bedford/Clayton Park Downtown (Market St.) Tantallon
My Father’s Business
by Bruce Havill
PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENTS are important to men and women in the marketplace. Positive numbers can insure a future for many companies and can lead to big incomes for the top-level executives. But what if we as Christian business people could see a bottom line that was not visible to the average businessperson in the world? Let’s consider the possibility that there is another kind of bottom line that forms the foundation of our lives. Scripture tells us that a good reputation is more desirable than great riches (Proverbs 22:11). Is that the way you see your reputation? Is that what you aspire to in your business activities? Recently, I met with some property managers in a building in Halifax. Water had come through a ceiling in one flat and leaked onto two sofas in the unit below. There was a very nasty mark on one of the sofas and it looked like it could have been caused by the leak. The landlord asked the tenant if the stain was due to the leak or if it was preexisting. The managers would have had to accept whatever his reply was and maybe have to replace the sofa. But the young man said that the stain was not caused by the leak. I was delighted with his honesty. That young tenant may well be on his way to living a life of integrity and character that could ultimately lead to the building of a good reputation. In Psalm 24, one of the descriptions of a person who may enter into the presence of God is that he or she “tells the truth even when it hurts.” There is no question that being truthful in our business dealings may cost us a sale now and then. We choose not to exaggerate the benefits of our products or services when our competitor may be “stretching” his claims and getting the customer. These losses may seem large at the time, but in the long run, they won’t hold a candle to the quality and depth of life to be experienced by doing what pleases God. Those choices we make to tell the truth will make it easier to tell the truth the next time we face a similar situation. Every habit, good or bad, has a repetition component. One of the most gratifying experiences in business is dealing with people who never have to question what you’ve said; they never have to second guess whether you will keep your commitments. They know that your word is good, and they trust you because you have earned that trust. To me, this is a great blessing. My company is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and our new motto is: “Start with Trust.” I like it. As an organization, they have always held that qualities of honesty and integrity are assets that they value. To be a member, one has to subscribe to their code of ethics. If a member fails to fulfill the mandate of ethical business practice, he or she will be removed from membership. One of the benefits to me is that I can refer potential clients to the BBB to check on us or any of our competitors. Simply offering this option to a potential customer, even during a phone call, will often put them at ease. Many times they have said, “Well, if you’re not afraid of what the BBB might have in their report about you, then I guess there isn’t much to worry about.” This is another benefit of doing truth-filled, ethical business: you never have to lose sleep about what others will say about you or your company. I do not want to give the impression that my company never experiences problems with its clients. Things do go wrong at times. What is important when this happens is that we do all in our power to fix what we have done wrong and never abandon our customer. Owning up to problems or mistakes is part of the way we get that “good reputation,” and going the extra mile will only enhance what our customers think about us. Most people are very reasonable and do not expect perfection. When they see that we take responsibility for our products and services, when we show up to ensure that we serve them to the best of our ability, and that we have treated them fairly, they often become more loyal customers than if the problem had never happened. It’s very gratifying when those very people recommend our company to their friends. The good decisions you make now will be a great help to you down the road. “What Would Jesus Do?” is still a good question to ask yourself. And even if you never make a fortune, you will have a good reputation — and an incredibly good “bottom line.”
The Bottom Line What if our bottom line had less to do with the numbers and more to do with how we live?
Bruce Havill owns and operates Roto-Static, a carpet and upholstery cleaning company. He is also a church elder. Email him at email@example.com or visit rotostatichalifax.com
Household of Faith
My Mission Found Me By Dennis Mercado
I HAIL FROM THE PHILIPPINES where millions of heads of families or their spouses have to work abroad to make ends meet. Many of them accept jobs where they are overqualified. My wife and I were fortunate enough that we didn’t need to work outside the country. Despite the amount of money that these overseas workers remit back home, the quality of life of their families do not improve considerably. Their hard-earned bucks are often misspent and end up being used for the latest fashion or the newest mobile phone instead of basic necessities. In many cases, the hope for a better future may have been jeopardized by the absence of a parent. Children grow up having no father or mother. Spouses separated by economic migration inevitably leads to infidelity and broken families. It’s a situation that is not encouraged by Scripture. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 11:19-20) If the family does survive until the worker finally comes home, he or she realizes that living together again is something a couple and the family will have to work at. On the darker side, there are increasing reports of sexual abuses committed by fathers whose wives are away for months and years on end. Indeed, separation of spouses — even for economic needs — is not the Lord’s plan for marriage. Values to Strengthen the Family Back then, I was an architect and a business management professional. Immediately prior to our move to Canada, I held the reins a large real estate development project in Metro Manila. Aside from my professional and business activities, I was involved in running programs meant to instill Christian values in families where a parent left home to work overseas. Our ministry’s goal was to help families stay together while a parent is away and prepare them for his or her return. Under the same program, we provided spouses with training that allows them to create small businesses to supplement the money remitted to them from abroad. We also provided counseling to children so that they’d stay in school. At a certain point, I came to a personal conclusion that the deployment of Filipino workers abroad will not do the country good in the long term. We could very well be a country having the most number of broken families. Never mind the fact that it was the significant remittance from workers that greatly helped the Philippines during the economic crisis of the late 1990’s and 2008 to 2009. However, my focus on these family ministries also meant less time with my own family. There were endless meetings to attend the whole week. There were outreach activities for the poor to carry out on weekends. So, while I had the satisfaction of helping others, I started to feel that I was drifting away from my daughters. In 2004, we made the decision to try it out in Canada. What made us decide to do so? The Philippines was being challenged by a seemingly endless cycle of corrupt administrations, a deteriorating peace and order situation, population explosion and crowding in cities. We felt it was time to seek a better environment in which to raise our daughters. However, when I landed in Canada I faced adjustment challenges. I could not practice architecture because my Philippine license was not recognized here. Furthermore, Nova Scotia didn’t seem to be a place that could make use of the kind of Christian outreach activities that were much needed in the Philippines.
Balancing work, family and ministry
Alleviating the Labour Shortage In my first two years in Halifax, I went around checking out potential businesses. I even went to the US to look into several franchising opportunities. After much consideration, research, and some trials in some businesses, I finally settled on manpower recruitment. “It should be a no-brainer,”
a recruiter from the Philippines once told me. Canada needs workers. In a recent lecture, Dr. J.D. McNiven, Prof. Emeritus at Dalhousie University and Senior Policy Research Advisor of Canmac Economics Ltd, said that Atlantic Canada would run out of available labour resources in about eight years. Blame it on low birth rates. He also said that NS needs to have a rate of 2.1 births for every fertile woman. Today, NS’s birth rate is 1.39. He does not expect this situation to change and he estimates that the labour shortage will be about 68,000 by 2026. To alleviate this problem, he said that NS should bring in more people through immigration, encourage people to postpone retirement and, wring out more productivity from the existing workforce. But postponing retirement and increasing productivity are only stop-gap measures. In the end, NS simply needs more people. Immigration now appears to be the long-term solution. The Philippines has a seemingly endless supply of skilled, hardworking people who are only too happy to beg and borrow to the hilt to pay for a chance to work outside the Philippines. How ironic that I am now in a business that I used to think of as one that breaks up families. Will I be another recruiter who takes a parent and deploys him or her to Canada, away from the family? Reuniting Families As I struggled through this inner conflict, I chanced upon a recruiter who deploys Filipinos from the Middle East into western countries instead of directly from the Philippines. In the weeks and months that followed, I came to know that a lot of Filipino workers are mistreated in many Middle East countries. Many work for extended hours without overtime pay. But perhaps the worst part of it is that workers cannot be permanent residents in most countries where they are deployed. That means an endless cycle of short job contracts and time with families
limited to a month or two every two years. In addition, many are unable to conduct Christian activities openly. I saw a golden opportunity to do some good here. First, I am bringing workers to Canada where they will get fair wages for the amount of work they do. Second, they will be working in a better environment. Third, and most importantly, Canada gives workers the chance to become permanent residents. When they become so, they can bring their families to Canada as well. I found my mission — or my mission found me: to reunite families! Here is also the opportunity to bring these families closer into the fold of Jesus. Little did I know that the Lord would come calling me back to do work for Him. Romans 11:29, which says, “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable,” happened to me! It’s been four years that I’ve been working on this. There’s a lot more that needs to be done to help workers. One would be to eliminate recruiters who charge placement fees from them. But what about my own family? Nova Scotia is a gift from the Lord to our family. Since we had to start all over and help each other adjust to a new life, we became closer to each other. In the Philippines, it was difficult balancing work, family and ministry or outreach activities. But here, the pace of life is slower and we have more time together as a family. Balancing work, family and ministry is more manageable. As for the foreign workers, I hope and pray that those I help to come here to Canada will someday soon be reunited with their spouses and children and be a family again. Dennis is a part owner and managing director of Bishop and James Consulting Ltd., which recruits skilled foreign workers and provides business development consulting for foreign businessmen who would like to do business in Canada. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bishopandjames.com.
Health Partners International of Canada Partenaires Canadiens pour la Santé Internationale
Health Partners International of Canada: A Mission of Health and Hope By Glen Shepherd
A DEBATE OVER HEALTH CARE in Canada typically involves the issues of wait times and treatment options. In developing world countries where Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) serves, the debate revolves around scenarios of life or death. In Malawi, a young boy named Chester arrives at a rural clinic suffering from cholera due to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and repeated famine. In Zimbabwe, children are often carried into a hospital with bacterial meningitis because they don’t have access to routine vaccinations kids receive in developed countries.Visal, a bright young boy living in a Cambodian slum, has debilitating epileptic seizures and there is no medicine available. HPIC is a not-for-profit relief and development organization based in Montreal. We work with a vast network of partners, without discrimination and according to Christian values, to increase access to medicine and improve health in the developing world, particularly for women and children. Over 20 Years of Healing The story of HPIC began with one project in 1990 — to help the survivors of the earthquake that struck northwestern Iran in 1990 that left 40,000 dead and Partnerships with pharmaceutical companies 60,000 injured. HPIC rallied the enable HPIC to provide medicine and supplies support of the pharmaceutical to over 100 nations worldwide. industry, and through an initial partnering with a small number of research-based pharmaceutical companies, we were able to respond to needs on the ground with over $1 million of medicine. Since then, HPIC has grown into an organization that has provided more than $345 million in donated medicines and supplies to vulnerable communities in more than 110 countries around the world. HPIC’s Projects HPIC approaches donors of medicines and medical supplies annually, and presents them with a needs list for our various projects that bring health and hope to people in the developing world.
During emergencies like the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, HPIC mobilized over $9 million dollars in medicines and supplies to provide disaster relief to the victims. We help hundreds of Canadian health care workers and NGOs, who travel to communities in the developing world to offer their services for free, by equipping them with the supplies and medicines they need with our Physician Travel Packs (PTPs). These mobile medical kits contain an assortment of primary care medicines and supplies that can provide up to 600 treatments for children and adults. HPIC also partners in community development programs by providing continuous large shipments of medical aid to hospitals and agencies in the developing world. Local doctors can then carry out their work of saving the lives of people who normally can’t afford medical care. While having a long history of distributing medicines in response to needs identified by partner organizations, we recognize the need for long-term solutions to ensure improved access to health care for people in various countries. The largest project HPIC is managing at the time is our Capacity Building and Access to Medicines project in Afghanistan. The multiyear project is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and supports the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health to provide consistent access to high quality medicines for the people of Afghanistan — particularly women and children. Strength in Partnerships HPIC’s strength stems from its diverse and ever-growing list of partners, who share a vision of healing and bringing lasting change to vulnerable communities. We count on the active partnership of 50 companies from the research-based and generic pharmaceutical industries, as well as manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies, and the biotechnology sector. (con’t on p. 26)
Biblical Business Management
Being R.E.A.L. By Thomas Nolte
SUCCESS IN BUSINESS and in life is based on many factors. Sales and organizational skills, being an expert in your field, knowing your competition, sufficient funding, and things of this nature come to mind easily. Other factors play an important role as well. Things like communication skills, staffing, the industry we’re working in, the economy, rules and regulations, politics. More easily overlooked but absolutely essential are our people skills and personalities. Who we are and how we treat others contribute tremendously to our success. Although godly character is no guarantee for success, it is the best foundation. Becoming more like Jesus and following His amazing example in dealing with people will give us a security and a firm foundation for our success. The Bible teaches that God gives glory, honor and wisdom to the humble man. Following Jesus in living a righteous life brings the joy of a clear conscience and a good night’s sleep. It eliminates fears and worries and gives us hope for eternal life. Our focus changes from what we want to what God wants. We begin to see how He wants to use us in the lives of those around us and He wants to help us in the challenges we face. How we define success for ourselves will determine our goals and what we do and how we do it. This series of four articles proposes that success will come when we are R.E.A.L — Righteous, Eternal, Authentic and Loving. If our leadership is based on these four factors, we will do well. Today will focus on “R” — being righteous and relevant.
something objectionable to a colleague because it was good for business. Sometimes, we ourselves do something that’s not truly legal to benefit us or someone else. Without righteousness in all that we do, there is no security, no true joy. Even if no one finds out in this life, God certainly does and He will hold us accountable. Whenever we deal with money — like paying taxes, giving wages to our employees, and settling bills — there are many opportunities we can choose to do right or wrong. Since money is so close to our hearts and we work for it, it easily reveals our true character. Ask yourself: Could anyone audit my finances and how I deal with money at any given time without me ever losing sleep? Being righteous with money can often mean that we pay more than we would like. At the same time, the desire for righteousness means that we will speak the truth no matter what the cost or consequences.
Righteousness isn’t just a spiritual virtue. It also guarantees our success.
Being Not Doing Righteousness is defined as doing things correctly, being honest and striving to be holy. The focus on “being,” not “doing” is very important. We can all do the right thing at times but if it is not who we truly are, then more often than not we will fail and not do what’s right. Temptations come from all directions, especially at work and in business. People sometimes compromise their own values, doing
Recently, I was confronted with this issue when my wife and I became shareholders of a local corporation. We had promised to give any income originating before the date of acquisition to the previous owner. When an unexpected corporate tax refund brought about $17,000 several months later, I knew that we, being the new shareholders, could legally keep this money.Yet I also knew that we had given our word as explained above. Though in my heart I struggled and tried to justify not having to tell them, fully expecting to have to remit it to them, I informed the previous owner of the refund and offered to send them a cheque. God blessed this decision to honor my word rather than talk myself out of it for the sake of keeping the money. The former shareholder surprisingly did not accept the tax refund but saw it as company funds that now belong to us. I was, to say the least, encouraged and grateful. Consistent Living Furthermore, a desire for righteousness also means not allowing (con’t on p. 26)
26 (con’t of “A Mission of Health...”)
Without a steady source of quality donated medicines and supplies from them, HPIC would not be able to effectively carry out this mission of health and hope. We rely on our partners on the ground to distribute and administer these generous donations of medicines and supplies; organizations like World Vision, the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, Samaritan’s Purse, as well as the hundreds of doctors who carry PTPs every year. Future Projects In the spring of 2010, I traveled to Zimbabwe to meet with the Zimbabwean Association of Church Hospitals, a network of 126 hospitals across the country, as well as partners from the Salvation Army’s Howard Hospital, one of the health care facilities that regularly receives shipments from HPIC. We have embarked on joint development projects to build capacity in Zimbabwe’s health care system by providing continuing medical education for the network’s doctors and health care workers and improving the hospital’s supply chain management. Mother and child health in the developing world has become a global priority due to alarming and unacceptable statistics. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly three million children under five die each year from diarrhea and pneumonia. In Africa and Asia, only half of all mothers have a skilled health worker present during the birth of their babies. HPIC is working with partners to provide solutions at a community level. One of our goals is to design and provide a mother/child health kit, which would equip health workers with the right tools, such as multivitamins and rehydration salts, to combat health threats. Making the Difference Mary, a 29-year-old pregnant woman waited under a scorching sun in southern Sudan to be seen for a cough that wouldn’t go away. At the same clinic, Achien, a baby suffering from diarrhea and a cough was brought in by his distraught mother. Both Mary and Achien were treated with medicines provided by HPIC. The look in the eyes of baby Achien’s mother expressed a profound gratitude for the gift of life that was given to her baby. That is the difference HPIC makes. Glen Shepherd is president and CEO of Health Partners International of Canada. His long-standing commitment to dealing with poverty is reflected in his appointment by Orderin-Council to the National Council of Welfare, an advisory group to the federal government on issues of poverty reduction in Canada.
Lynn Dean, CFA Financial Advisor 3260 Barrington Street Unit 107
Halifax, NS B3K 0B5
Bus. 902-444-7584 TF. 866-944-7584 TF. Fax 877-335-8759 Lynn.Dean@EdwardJones.com www.EdwardJones.com
Life Insurance Agent for Edward Jones Insurance Agency
(con’t of “Being R.E.A.L”)
any “white lies” — saying something that we don’t really mean because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. I find that this happens often in business under the disguise of being “friendly” and “accommodating” in an effort to avoid confrontation, but it leads to shallow relationships lacking in mutual trust. Being righteous also means that we do not exaggerate or skip part of the story. It also means that we watch what comes out of our mouth, the way we speak and what words we use. The goal is to be righteous, not to be “right.” First Corinthians 6:7 gives a tough challenge: “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.” Living and acting in this way will make us and our message relevant to those around us. They watch us as leaders in business and in life. How we conduct ourselves has a huge influence on how they will think about God, about wanting to become disciples of Jesus and about wanting to be part of our success. If what we teach and publicly confess is different than how we live, we lose respect and influence and will certainly be considered a failure, no matter what we visibly achieve in this life. Consider just one example from Ephesians 4:1. We are called to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received” and to “be completely humble and gentle, being patient, bearing with one another in love.” How different would our relationships and our joy be if we applied this one verse in everything we do? With our children, our staff or coworkers, our spouses — just think of the many opportunities we fail and the times we do well when it comes to being humble. Righteousness as a key factor to success is much more a state of mind and an attitude of our hearts than an action. If we desire to be righteous, God will certainly help and bless us. Though it is the easiest way to live our lives and leaves no regret, it often appears difficult to do in everyday life. Success is inevitable if we base our lives on righteousness, with eternity in view, being authentic and loving in all we do. Thomas Nolte was born in Germany. He is married and has two kids. He has been following Jesus since 1993 and is part of the Halifax Church of Christ. He owns and operates Curves Franchises in HRM. He is a “biblical fitness coach” helping others to be fitter and to walk closer to God in their busy lives.
His Kingdom Come
Going About My Father’s Business
Photo by Max Murphy
By Russ Conway
Pastor Russ greets members of the congregation after Sunday service at Rock Church in Lower Sackville NS.
CRUNCHING MY HEAD into an uncomfortable position, I strained to drink in the view outside the tiny airplane window. Nearing the end of a rather long travel day that had started in Halifax, Nova Scotia some 12 hours earlier, there I sat, crammed into the small seat of an Air Canada Jazz Bombardier CRJ100, en route from Vancouver, British Columbia to the northern interior of the province. My thoughts ran away on a journey of their own, stampeding like a herd of horses turned loose. As the plane began its descent over familiar territory, I was taken back in time — engulfed in wonder at the goodness of God to me and my family. A Solid Awareness of God Fifteen years ago, my wife and I and our first two boys (then three and one) embarked on the journey of a lifetime. I’d been raised in Fort Saint John, a city in northeastern British Columbia that was birthed as a trading post in 1794. The discovery of high grade oil in 1951 set Fort Saint John on a high speed course to becoming British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Capital and the largest city in northeastern British Columbia. My father, an electrical contractor with entrepreneurial talent, was known for his unrivalled reputation in oilfield electrical repair and maintenance. He started his own company specializing in electrical service and repair for residential, commercial and oilfield applications. I grew up working afternoons and summer school break for his company. When I graduated from high school, I turned down the opportunity to follow in his footsteps by not enrolling in the electrical apprenticeship program, choosing instead, to put my efforts into business management and accounting. I was blessed with the perfect learning platform and practicum — managing my father’s business operations. I thoroughly enjoyed my job and as the only son in a family of six children, I was assumed the logical heir to the family business. I, too, considered this to be my life’s journey. One problem continued to present itself in my early adult years. A significant part of our family’s nurturing had been rooted in the knowledge of God and His direction in our lives. My earliest memories as a child include a solid awareness of God and His plans for my life. I had been blessed with a close relationship with God from a very young age. As a result, I was consumed with honouring Him in everything I did. As I finished high school and began to work in my father’s
businesses, I was pursued relentlessly with the knowledge that there was something missing from my life — that there was something more. Unable to make sense of the conglomeration of feelings bombarding my heart and mind, I pressed on, ignoring the ever growing reality that I was living below my purpose and had been called for something more than managing my father’s businesses in the hopes of one day owning them. I took a break away to enrol in Youth With A Mission, a short-term missions opportunity. While serving at their campus in Cambridge, Ontario, I met and married my wife. We returned to Fort Saint John where I resumed employment for my dad, immersing myself over the next five years in my duties as business manager and controller. Inner Turmoil During that time, my wife and I started our family, experiencing the thrill of becoming firsttime parents. Around that time I began riding an emotional roller coaster of vacillating feelings and desires. At times I thoroughly enjoyed my business role and was fulfilled within. These times consistently collided with a consuming desire to follow the inner compulsion that God was calling me to full-time ministry. The result was a tumultuous period of time in my personal life. I felt trapped between wanting to please two highly respected authority figures in my life — my dad, who had begun to rely heavily on my expertise due to a health crisis he was experiencing at the time, and my heavenly Father, whom I felt I was ignoring. My attempts to justify my choices and to reconcile these conflicting feelings were futile, causing me extreme inner turmoil. My solution was to become heavily involved in serving our home church. For a time, this was doable and seemed to lessen the effect of the inner frustration I was experiencing. I served in a number of departments, from worship ministry and children’s ministry, to taking on the role of interim youth pastor when a resignation from the congregation presented the need. During this time I was invited to speak at a number of youth and kids camps. I believed I had discovered the solution — balancing both desires without sacrificing either. It was tough and required a huge amount of time and energy, but I seemed to be able to manage.
In 1995, I was invited to a Family Camp in Moosomin, Saskatchewan where I was asked to minister for seven days as the youth speaker. I was introduced to Pastor Ted Yuke, Senior Pastor of Rock Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was the camp’s keynote speaker. Through his messages, God confronted me head on, challenging my outlook on life, my commitment to Him, and my unwillingness to give up the life I enjoyed to embrace His call.Those days were turbulent as I wrestled with the cost of leaving the job that I found so fulfilling, the benefits that were so precious to me and my family, and the weight and fear of following God’s call into unknown territory. Heading into the Unknown The summer of 1995 was a “burning bush experience” for me (Exodus 3). As a result, my wife and I made a solid decision — that I would resign from my position as controller of my dad’s ever-growing and expanding group of companies, which now included real estate, oilfield rentals, restaurants and more — and together we would embrace the inner knowing that God was summoning us for His purposes for our lives. We spent the next year training replacements at the office, selling unnecessary personal items and downsizing in preparation to move. In September 1996, we boarded a Canada 3000 flight from Edmonton to Halifax, stepping into the wide open territory of the unknown. It was a scary time for us, but we knew that God had called. He was trustworthy. He would provide for us. It’s been 15 years. How had I finished Bible School while working a job at minimum wage? How had I managed to support a young family and pay our bills with so much less than I had been used to? How had it been that God had seen fit to take me on a journey which now had led me onto a new path — two years into my new role as the lead pastor of Rock Church in Halifax, the same place He had called us to many years ago? As the plane descended, I watched the view unfolding before me — a river winding its way through the hills and valleys. I was reminded of the all too familiar words in Psalm 23 where the Shepherd of our souls, our Lord, leads us beside still waters, restores our souls, and leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, there is no need to fear evil because He is with us, bringing comfort and correction with His rod and staff. Fifteen years ago I had made the ultimate decision to “be about my Father’s business,” trusting my earthly father and his business into the hands of the Lord. What lessons I have learned throughout this time. That no matter what venture I am in and what enjoyment I find, it is of ultimate importance that I take time to know my Father’s business plan — and invest my life wholeheartedly into it. The dividends that pay are immeasurable on this side of eternity but are stored up in His store room. Russ Conway is the lead pastor of Rock Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He graduated from A.S.K. Bible Training Center in 1998. Pastor Russ is married to the love of his life,Yanna, and has four teenage sons, Garret, Morgan,Tristin, and Spencer.
Join us for a weekend of worshipping the Lord, and learning about His plans and purposes to reach the world today, one community at a time. For more information, visit www.jesustothenations.com.
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Published on Oct 15, 2011