Grant Skeldon

Director, INITIATIVE

1 Corinthians 4:1 - “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” – Stewards of the mysteries of God. We should take this title seriously and proudly. How are you doing this for the Lord? When you’re around people who are doing things on their passions, you too will do something. Show me your friends and I will show you your future. 

We are defined by our titles. Titles give us an identity. 

  • Freelancer.
  • Chief Financial Officer.
  • Intern.
  • President of the United States.

But one title transcends all of these: we are stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Timothy 4:12 - In this we are held accountable to our actions. Why do we not know what we want to do? We are critical, noncommittal, loose cannon people. Do we want to be a part of a movement that is not just temporary? The Church. We care about unifying the church and mobilizing the church. We also want to champion the church and build character. 

Michael Craven

Chairman and CEO, The Good-Works Company

“We are living in a period of great reformation – no less than the one 500 years ago,” Craven said as he opened his keynote. “The reason is millennials. They are disgusted with cultural Christianity and want something more muscular, and that is why I am optimistic about the future of the Church in the western world.”Craven says “business as mission” is often reduced to three concepts: 

  • Personal Piety (morals and ethics)
  • Evangelism (share the gospel with people in the workplace)
  • Philanthropy (give money to the poor if you make a lot of money)

This view is misguided because it reduces business to the meeting of another end; it implies that business has no spiritual value. But work will be the core of our lives in the new heaven and the new earth. God loves jobs; they provide an outlet for us to serve others and glorify Him. The free market glorifies God because it forces companies to serve other people, whether they are consciously Christian or consciously pagan. If our products do not meet a need or fulfill a desire, we go out of business. In essence, that’s what business is: humans doing together what no one can do on their own in service of others. Undoubtedly, this free enterprise system has been perverted as a result of the fall. But Christians should not abandon the marketplace; we should go and claim it for Christ. 

Perhaps the greatest redemptive work in the business world is its ability to alleviate people from poverty. Since 1970, more people have been lifted out of poverty than in the previous 1,000 years combined – because of the free market. The greatest poverty alleviation program has been and always will be a job. It is that reality that drove Michael Craven to found The Good-Works Company, which seeks to alleviate poverty, restore human dignity, and create flourishing communities through good work. The company has established three family companies in the Bonton neighborhood of Dallas:

  • Bonton Shade Works
  • Bonton Farm Works
  • Bonton Wood Works

These companies seek to serve their communities by providing meaningful work and decent wages for their workers, as well as providing vital services to their patrons at reasonable rates. They are for-profit companies, and Craven says there is nothing wrong with that.

“Making money is not the purpose of business, just as breathing is not the purpose of living. But try living without breathing – it’s not fun,” he said. “As Christians, we absolutely believe in the redistribution of wealth, but the voluntary redistribution of wealth, not forced redistribution by the state. Governments don’t create wealth; they take wealth.”

Panelists:

Michael Craven // Founder and CEO of The Good-Works Company

Joey Turner // Owner of Brewed Coffee

Kelsey McLain // Founder of ShopMieux

Byron Sanders // Executive Director of the Dallas Education Foundation

Trey Bowles // CEO of The DEC, Founder of the Mayor Star Council, Professor of                   Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University

Q: How can churches make a difference in the marketplace right now?

Turner: “It’s not about your church’s name recognition; it’s about Christ’s renown. People don’t need to know that it’s from your local Church in order for it to make a difference for the Kingdom.”

Q: How do you partner your business with the Gospel and helping others?

McClain: “We donated 20,000 pounds of clothing to a woman’s shelter ... I also came to realize that God gave me understanding of fashion and clothing, as well as talent with the internet, and I am called to use those two gifts as both a community and Kingdom effort.”

Q: What aspect of business builds the Kingdom the most?

Craven: “Setting right what sin has set wrong ... Business provides a context in which Christians can address the brokenness of the world. So, business provides the restoration of human dignity, and it helps them grow in their awareness of their identity.”

Q: In what moment did you realize that your business was making an impact?

Sanders: “I planned to climb the corporate ladder and do some good in the community. Then I read a book called ’30 Days To Live,’ and it became clear that I needed to follow my passion: tutoring and mentoring ... When God made it clear to me to leave my job, I didn’t have the right to say ‘Let me save up.’ He said, “No, go now. I’m not going to send you on a mission without the arsenal to finish it.’ ... You’ll never see God show up for you any more clearly than when you have stepped out for him.”

Q: If you could give advice to your 22-year-old self, what would it be?

Bowles: “I wanted to be a millionaire by age 30, but I was chasing after the wrong thing ... I was developing the Mayor’s Star Council when I heard about Free City International, a ministry that works with Refugees. God used this organization to correct my priorities. He said, ‘If you think for one second that your goal is to create a 50-year organization and hang out with the mayor, you’re wrong. In three years, a Sudanese woman will accept Christ on the soccer field with Free City International.’ And that’s his perspective. Worldly benefit is not the purpose behind our work.”

 

Mobilization

The Good-Works Company | http://thegoodworkscompany.com

Brewed Coffee | http://brewedfw.com

Movement Day Greater Dallas | http://movementdaygreaterdallas.com

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