Here To Serve: Philanthropy In Work Life
Many already know that my leadership background includes almost a decade at the helm of a Christian nonprofit. That organization was founded in simple obedience to the Lord’s calling. It wasn’t complicated. In the beginning, there was no strategic plan, long-term vision, or Board of Directors. Just a clear assignment from God and an invitation to listen to Him, take steps of faith, and simply serve. Our mission was clear: to reach unchurched moms and families in our community.
While Christians may feel enthusiastic about spreading the gospel, many assume that everyone is largely familiar with the do’s and don’ts of attending church. I tried to imagine how I would feel coming to church for the first time with no previous experience and two kids in the back seat. Thoughts would crowd my mind: Where do I park? Where do I go? Do my kids come with me, or somewhere else? Where is that somewhere else? Am I really welcome? When I put myself in a stranger’s shoes, I realized that the overwhelm of the whole experience would mean that moms who need Jesus might find first-time church attendance a barrier to meeting Him. The Lord charged us with busting through that barrier.
I realized that if we were going to give moms an opportunity to meet Jesus, we would need to focus on their needs and not our agenda. We spent time loving on moms and their kiddos, serving, and assisting with basic needs. We developed programming that met in familiar places in our community where moms and families could spend time together, develop relationships, and be part of a faith-based group without attending a church service or opening a Bible.
We committed to programming without proselytizing, seeking to earn the trust of families and build relationships with community partners. We kept our commitment through programming like exercise classes, cooking classes, educational playgroups, and our diaper closet. These programs didn’t mention Jesus- we trusted the Lord to do His mighty work in the hearts of those we served, praying for an opportunity to share His good news outside of charitable programming. Over the course of a decade, we saw evidence of God’s ministry meeting real needs and families falling in love with Jesus.
When I transitioned back to the corporate sector, I thought long and hard about ways my work life could be focused on philanthropy. I believe that God gives everyone assignments, both in how we connect with people in the workplace AND how we choose to serve our communities in off-hours.
Leadership Consultancy is committed to promoting and supporting initiatives of individual employees, providing company-sponsored volunteer opportunities, and incorporating the joy of giving. Philanthropy is one of our core values-- the “why” behind what we do.
We are experimenting with a radical form of “conscious capitalism”-- running a for-profit business focused on people, not cashflow. On the surface, our business model looks pretty normal. We cover our business costs, pay team members fair wages for their work, and pay taxes. After that, we use our profits to support charitable work.
Will this model attract more clients? Honestly, I’m not sure. We serve a national corporate client and its franchisees and our contracts are based on trust. I’m not confident that anyone would consider working with us just because “we are really nice people.” After all, Chick-fil-A is an industry leader in excellent customer service, cost-effective pricing, and results. If Operators and their teams hold themselves to a higher standard, then those that partner with them need to meet their criteria as well. We strive to exceed expectations in all these areas. The non-traditional “give-it-all-away” business model is at best a potential tie-breaker if they are ever offered a matching proposal. Our radical commitment to doing business differently is solely based on love for people and our responsibility to be good stewards of all God has entrusted to us.
The Leadership Consultancy team is also committed to using our accumulated business acumen to support charitable community projects that could benefit from our skills. We have recently been honored to provide pro bono consulting services to organizations that serve at-risk youth and the homeless in our community. Team members, each select individual causes to support with their financial resources and practical help. Some examples are a toy drive, public and private schools, local churches, and youth leadership programs.
This December, Leadership Consultancy has many reasons to feel blessed. We’ve grown to a team of eight. We have the privilege of partnering with those who serve Jesus daily in both the big and little moments. We cover clients in prayer during big interviews, challenge each other to live out our beliefs, share the good news of Jesus Christ during Leadership Launch classes, and pour our time and talents into organizations that do good work. Most of all, we are grateful that we belong to Jesus, the perfect servant leader. We strive to reflect his glory. We serve because HE first served us.