Who Really Owns Your Business?

Who Really Owns Your Business?

Special Feature

A foundational principle for a Christian entrepreneur is that God is the REAL Owner of the business. The stock certificates may have your name on them, but they’re really held in trust for the Owner.

Wise men seek truth, and the first truth about all things is that God created them. Our lives, abilities, wealth and opportunities are ultimately given to us by the Creator. The most reasonable thing we can do is acknowledge His lordship over our lives and businesses with thanksgiving and seek to let Him work through us to accomplish His purposes.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”

Psalm 24:1 NLT

Do you acknowledge God as the rightful Owner of your business? If not, ask Him to help you see that truth and act on it. If you do, how often do you thank Him for that tremendous opportunity?

How do your business strategies reflect God’s ownership? Are you confident you’re fulfilling His unique purposes for the business? Are you at least as committed to fulfilling God’s purposes for His business as you would want your trustee to be in executing your estate according to your desires?

 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV

Find more leadership resources at www.convenenow.com/resources. To learn more about Convene, contact your local convene chair.

-Harris Wheeler 

2017 Convene Chair of the Year

(205) 936-7038

hwheeler@convenenow.com

-An excerpt from “24 Ways You Can Build a Christ-Centered Profitable Business” by Convene Corp.

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A Volunteer Perspective on Service: Christian’s Place Mission

A Volunteer Perspective on Service: Christian’s Place Mission

Mission Makers

Brought to you by: Community Partner Tom Douglass,

Since its beginnings in December 2008, Christian’s Place Mission has served nearly 31,000 people in the Nauvoo area with food as well as medical and dental services. Join volunteers in helping every third Saturday of the month.

Every third Saturday morning of the month, Christian’s Place Mission (CPM) volunteers converge upon Nauvoo United Methodist Church (UMC) to give out food and clothing and spend time with about 450 people in the rural poverty-stricken area of Winston and Walker County. Matt Morris began volunteering at Nauvoo with his Sunday School class. Morris says the passion his friends had for this ministry led him to Nauvoo and what he experienced has kept him coming back.

“I’d expected a small rural community that we’d help pass food out to. What I didn’t expect was the number of people in need.  When I arrived the first time for a ‘serve day,’ I was immediately moved by the number of folks there in need. I wasn’t worried about whether or not I would be wasting my time…I must have spoken to and listened to 20 people over the next few hours. Time flew. I heard about what poverty was, and how hard it was without an industry or work. I heard about how much those folks needed the things that were provided from food to clothes to diapers, but more importantly I was moved by how much they just wanted a chance to vent, to explain their plight. And while I believe the things we talked about were important, I think just the physical act of being there and giving them someone to talk to was just as important. The thing I was most impressed with was that several of the people, despite their lack of sources for income, food on the table for their kids, or inability to even drive to a job should it become available (for lack of transportation) was their faith. They wanted to pray. They believed that this was a phase of life that would not last forever. Even in death, they knew that they’d eventually be with Christ, and that moved me. It moved me that the things one tends to believe to be important, aren’t. and faith can exist even in our greatest state of need. I was filled with the Holy Spirit to want to hear more. Too often we try to keep up with the Jones’, and ultimately we will feel empty even when surpassing them. These people, despite having nothing of material substance, were filled. Filled with something man can’t provide. It is these people that keep me going back to Nauvoo. While we give them food, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, they give us more. They give us the ability to listen, understand, believe that faith isn’t something that comes from being blessed. It is something we can have no matter our material wealth or good health. Something by the grace of God we can have- eternal life with Him. If you decide to volunteer at CPM you will be blessed in ways I find hard to put into words. It will touch your heart, mind, and soul.”

To learn more about CPM visit www.christiansplacemission.com, find them on Facebook @Christians Place Mission or call 205-410-7029. The ministry especially needs monetary donations and work/casual clothes.

-Brought to you by: Community Partner, Tom Douglass, Brik Realty 

www.TomDouglassRealtor.com

205-999-2780, tdoug@tdrepro.com

Member www.Convenenow.com

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A Heart for Husbands & Fathers

A Heart for Husbands & Fathers

Faith at Work

Scott Jones serves as facilities manager and chaplain at Brother Bryan Mission. He also volunteers at Sav-A-Life Vestavia and serves in a leadership role at Cultivate Church in Alabaster.

“I love sharing God’s grace,” exclaims Scott Jones. Eight years ago, he and his mentor, the late Russell Worrell, began volunteering with the Sav-A-Life Vestavia ministry. At that time the ministry primarily served women, supporting and building meaningful relationships with them through pregnancy. Jones and Worrell were the first male volunteers, offering encouragement to would be fathers. Seeing his passion to minister to men, Worrell encouraged Jones to start working with Brother Bryan Mission of Birmingham, knowing Jones would be a perfect fit. “He knew my heart for helping fathers to become who God created them to be,” says Jones.

To help meet this need, Jones started teaching classes at the Mission to help men become better fathers and husbands to their families. Jones has offered these men living proof that there is life after drugs, and because of his dedication and service, he has seen men’s lives change. He can tell story after story of the regeneration he has witnessed, from alcoholics becoming sober to families being reunited. “My favorite story,” says Jones, “is of an atheist who not only accepted Christ but now his mom, step-dad, sister, brother-in-law, and niece all go to my church weekly.”

As facilities manager and chaplain at Brother Bryan, Jones oversees the maintenance of two buildings, staffing, and discipleship. He leads morning chapel every Tuesday for the men at the Mission and oversees a chapel service and lunch every weekday for the homeless community. Jim Etheridge, Executive Director at Brother Bryan Mission, says, “Scott represents the best of our staff’s care and concern for those who come under our influence.  Through firmness and love Scott prods others to seek a better life.”

Besides working at Brother Bryan Mission, Jones continues to serve as a volunteer at Sav-A-Life Vestavia, leading a Daddy Boot Camp. “The importance of volunteers like Scott is the fact that they just ‘get it.’ They understand the impact their volunteering makes and how it changes lives,” explains Shaun Barnes, Sav-A-Life Vestavia, Fatherhood Ministry Coordinator.

Through his volunteering at Sav-A-Life and his work at Brother Bryan, Scott explains he has received a huge gift. “I feel I have personally grown as a leader, as a Christian and as a man. I have learned how to share the love I have experienced through the forgiveness of God.”

Learn more about how you can make a difference at Brother Bryan Mission and Sav-A-Life Vestavia. Visit www.bbmission.org and www.savalife.org.

-Regan Green

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Service Recognition: Prince of Peace Hoover

Service Recognition: Prince of Peace Hoover

Church Leaders

Outstanding Church Activity Award presented to Prince of Peace’s Gerald Buford (right) at the Knights of Columbus Alabama State Convention.

The Prince of Peace (POP) Catholic Church Knights of Columbus received four awards at the recent Knights of Columbus Alabama state convention. Vic and Bette Graffeo received the “Alabama Family of the Year” award for their dedication and service to the POP community. Nick Cvetetic was awarded “Knight of the Year” for his service to the POP Knights and the church. In addition, the POP Council received an award for their efforts in connection with the “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest in which POP school student, Natalie Sandlin, was a contest runner-up. Finally, Grand Knight Gerald Buford accepted the very first state award for “Outstanding Domestic Church Activity” on behalf of the POP Council. The honor was bestowed upon the Council as a result of the many service projects that the Knights completed throughout the year as well as their fundraising activities that support not only the school and church’s needs, but also to the special needs community throughout Birmingham. †

Alabama Family of the Year award presented to Vic and Bette Graffeo, a founding family of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Hoover. (L to R) Vic Graffeo, Griffin Shreves, Bette Graffeo, Gerald Buford, Jeff Allen.

Prince of Peace’s Nick Cvetetic (center) receives Knight of the Year.

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Sowing the Seeds of Christ-Centered Learning in Fairfield

Sowing the Seeds of Christ-Centered Learning in Fairfield

Mission Makers 

Volunteers from Briarwood Presbyterian serve dinner to Foundations’ parents. Other churches that volunteer and/or provide financial support include Cathedral Church of the Advent, Independent Presbyterian, Altadena Valley Presbyterian, Oak Mountain Presbyterian and Christ Church.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”Proverbs 22:6 

With a dedication to Christ-centered teaching and service, Foundations Early Learning & Family Center has quietly grown from an ambitious vision to a thriving preschool in Fairfield, Ala. Foundations opened in 2013 to provide at-risk families access to a quality preschool education in a Christian environment where children can develop academically, physically, socially and spiritually.

Parental engagement at Foundations is a cornerstone to its mission. Parents are encouraged to participate in bi-monthly Parent Involvement Meetings (PIMs) – evening programs that include dinner, childcareand speakers addressing topics on parenting, health and wellness, budgeting, and more. Volunteers from areachurches play an important role in the success of the PIMs by sponsoring or preparing and serving dinner for families and assisting with childcare.“Because parental involvement is key to our mission, it’s important for us to make it as convenient as possible for the families to be involved. PIMs provide a Christ-centered social setting where parents form lasting friendships and draw on the encouragement of each other,” says Foundations Early Learning & Family Center Head of School, Kathleen Drake.

A Foundations’ student shows off her lesson.

The Foundations roots date back to 2010, when Dr. Tanja Malone identified a gap in family services in the course of working with Fairfield families while pursuing her PhD at UAB.  Rallying community resources including PreSchool Partners, Better Basics, UAB, Hope Health Center, Child Care Resources, Harris Early Learning Center, Fairfield City Schools and Restoration Academy, Dr. Malone and her team launched a program that became Foundations Early Learning & Family Center. Since opening five years ago, Foundations has served more than 200 children and their families. “It is remarkable to see the way Christ is working in this school. It is truly a testament of grace and love,” explains longtime volunteer Eleanor Roberson. Learn more at www.foundationsearlylearning.org.

Melanie Berry McCraney

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Lending a Hand: North Shelby Baptist

Lending a Hand: North Shelby Baptist

Mission Makers

Member of North Shelby Baptist Church recently traveled cross country to Washington to help a church family in need.

Manual labor is the avenue members of North Shelby Baptist Church are using to share God’s love. In 2018, the church has 10 projects underway or in the works that involve “construction evangelism.” A team of about 20 church members recently spent a week pouring their physical and spiritual energies into helping Alder Street Baptist Church in the small town of Centralia, WA obtain a fully functional church building. The church sustained substantial flooding damage several years ago and has struggled ever since to get the church building back to a usable state. North Shelby Baptist volunteers replaced windows, hung doors, ground concrete floors, and applied commercial epoxy flooring. The team also led worship and provided a Sunday afternoon “block party” for the neighborhood of the church. The 2018 trip to WA was a follow up to a trip last year in which North Shelby Baptist volunteers insulated and sheet-rocked ceilings and walls, repaired the baptistery circulator/heater, and replaced two heating systems for the church, sanctuary and education space. †

 

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Safe House Ministry Continues with Help of HEART Fund

Safe House Ministry Continues with Help of HEART Fund

Mission Makers

After Tropical Storm Nate pummeled a safe house for girls in Nicaragua, a HEART (Humanitarian Emergency Aid for Rebuilding Tomorrow) Fund grant is helping it get back on its feet — and helping it offer crisis care to its neighbors. The $2500 gift couldn’t have come at a better time, said Landa Carnes, a missionary serving at Emmanuel Home of Protection, a ministry run by Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International. Missionaries at the safe house in Diriamba, Nicaragua, are still working to repair damage from the October 2017 storm and recoup their finances after stretching resources thin to help storm victims around them in dire need. The HEART Fund grant will help cover these compassion ministries plus help to replace roofs, windows, walls, and doors at Emmanuel Home of Protection, which serves victims of sexual abuse or trafficking. The needs in the Diriamba area are “almost insurmountable,” said Cindy Walker, a board member for WMU Foundation, which stewards the HEART Fund. “Poverty is rampant. Hopelessness is evident everywhere you look,” she said. But Walker also noted that she had heard story after story of people in the area who had been won to Christ because someone from the safe house reached out to them and met their physical needs. The home “is a beacon of hope and light in a dark area of our hemisphere,” she said.

The HEART Fund was created in response to Sept. 11, 2001. Since that time, the Birmingham based WMU Foundation has granted more than $473,000 from the HEART Fund to disaster victims in the United States and around the world.

-Grace Thornton

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Q& A with Dr. Kristi Sayers: Candidate for Shelby County Superintendent

Q& A with Dr. Kristi Sayers: Candidate for Shelby County Superintendent

Faith at Work

Sayers has been a part of Shelby County Schools since 2009 as a teacher, an assistant principal, a curriculum specialist for all high schools, a central office leader responsible for the professional development for the entire system and currently as principal at Oak Mountain High School.

Q. How has your faith impacted your desire to serve our community as an educator and an elected official?

A. My faith impacts every decision I make.  I know that God placed people in my life along the way to act as a support system.  Those people were teachers, my parents, my friends’ parents, and church leaders who were servant leaders in the community.  I have been able to accomplish many goals because of that support system along the way.  I believe it is my calling to provide the same kind of support system to students in Shelby County.

Q. How do you believe your faith will help you serve our community as an elected official?

A. I believe we need officials who are grounded in faith. The God I serve calls me to be a servant leader, to help others, and to make sure that I do what I can to ensure that children are safe, responsible, and successful. God gives us all talents and I have been blessed with knowing and working with hundreds of students in my career. I will always do what I can to ensure a student leaves a school better and more prepared.

Kristi Sayers with husband Steve, son Will, daughter Haley and son-in-law Jay. The Sayers have lived in Shelby County for almost 17 years and are active members of Christ Church United Methodist, WW.

Q. How did you come to the decision to run for Superintendent?

A. I have been praying about this decision for over a year. I talked with my husband and we prayed about it together. I talked with other educational leaders and I realized that I know children in SC deserve someone who will work with them, with their teachers, with their parents, and with their communities to ensure that every school in Shelby County is labeled an A school.

Learn more about Dr. Sayers at www.sayersforsuperintendent.com.

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May Cover Story: Scott Dawson

May Cover Story: Scott Dawson

A New Path of Service: Scott Dawson

At a campaign rally in March, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told the crowd that Dawson has what it takes to be a “comforter and a chief,” both vital roles of a governor. Photo: Alan Matthews

Scott Dawson has already left his mark on all of Alabama’s 67 counties. As the founder of Birmingham-based Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, he has preached, spoken in schools, organized events on football fields, and hosted students and youth leaders at conferences. He jokes that perhaps ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann is the only person who can claim he knows more Alabama backroads than he does. After being in full time ministry for more than 30 years, Dawson shares how he sensed God calling him to follow a new path of service: politics, specifically using his experiences and gifts in the leadership role of governor of Alabama.

Dawson spent his childhood on the west side of Birmingham in Ensley, his mother a day care worker and his father a truck driver. He says his best memories of his youth include a modest budget, traditional values and plenty of time outdoors. “It was a neighborhood. You get on your bike; you just take off. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we did have a lot of fun because you’d go outside and play all day,” he recalls, noting that his father umpired and coached baseball in the community. “It’s a different day now, but I remember back then if you messed up, it didn’t matter if your parents saw you or not. If somebody else’s parents saw you, you were still gonna get it because it was just more of a community atmosphere. You had the art of friendship back then.”

As a teenager, Dawson’s first job was at Shoe City in Five Points West. He also worked at Western Supermarkets, starting out bagging groceries on the front end of the store. After high school, he began studies at Samford University and continued with Western as an assistant manager. The value of hard work was something demonstrated for Dawson for much of his youth. He often tells the story of how his father was laid off from his trucking company when it closed after 28 years in business. “I didn’t see my dad complain once. Every day he was going to find something to do, a job. A work ethic is something that you may despise learning the lesson, but once you’ve learned it, you’ve learned something valuable in life.” Dawson says the adults in his life—parents, bosses, coaches—also taught him the difference between being busy and being effective. “You’ve got to do something to start moving yourself forward.”

In matters of faith, Dawson says he “received Christ” at a Nicky Cruz crusade in Birmingham in the early 1970s, not long after his parents’ conversion at an in-home Bible study. “I’ve seen the transformation Christ can do in anyone’s life because I saw it in my parents,” he explains. “He brings peace. He brings hope. He brings a new way of thinking, new opportunities, new goals. I tell everyone, Jesus is not what I do, He’s who I am, and I don’t think we wear religion on our sleeves. Everyone in our society is fatigued about that. [They] want to see the difference He’s made in my life, and that’s what I saw in my parents.” In high school, Dawson developed a passion for sharing the Gospel with his peers. The first time he preached before a crowd at a worship service, he was 15 years old and had prepared “day and night, night and day.” “I usually tell people I went from Genesis to Revelation twice in 12 minutes,” he remembers with a laugh. “I think it was a 30,000-foot view, but the ultimate message was you can have hope.” When people responded to his passion from the pulpit, he says, “it was kind of like when you go fishing and catch your first fish. You’re just hooked, and I never looked back.”

When Dawson enrolled at Samford, where he would eventually earn his Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School, he continued to regularly preach the Gospel at Youth Revivals, speaking in high schools during the day and youth group services at night. He and several area youth pastors discussed the need for Christian teenagers to experience a time away from the regular scheduled church services. Their vision–a formal retreat. Jesus took his disciples on retreats, they realized, but he always had a goal in mind. “If you read Scripture, every time Jesus took his disciples off on a retreat, when they came back they moved forward the ministry. It’s not supposed to be something on the calendar, it’s supposed to be something that’s motivation in the heart.” Dawson’s father called Minneapolis, Minn., and got in touch with The Rev. Billy Graham Evangelical Association, who helped them organize their vision and incorporate the Scott Dawson Evangelical Association (SDEA).

Dawson met his wife Tarra (Blackmon) Dawson as a teenager while attending Green Acres Baptist Church. Their son Hunter (22) and daughter Hope (18) are graduates of Spain Park High School and current students at Samford University. Photo: Alan Matthews

Since then, SDEA has grown to a comprehensive outreach organization with 15 full-time members on staff and a budget in excess of $3 million a year. SDEA winter student conferences have grown from less than a hundred in attendance in 1987 to one of the nation’s largest with over 12,000 in attendance annually. Dawson has also written books about traditional faith and evangelism and has pioneered new ministries in digital technologies that train others in spreading the Gospel worldwide. Last year, however, Dawson chose a change of pace. He would take a leave of absence as CEO of his ministry to refocus his leadership skills on Alabama politics, specifically a campaign for governor.

Not an experienced politician, Dawson readily admits he declined suggestions he run for governor twice before prayer—and a revelation about the biblical figure Nehemiah—changed his mind. “I knew Nehemiah did the impossible—he built a wall—but [there was] one thing I never understood about him even though I’ve preached Nehemiah, I’ve read Nehemiah. Nehemiah wasn’t a construction worker. He was a cup bearer to the king. His heart was broken; he was grieving for Jerusalem. You have to grieve over our state with the history of politics in Alabama. You know the stories. You know the corruption we’ve had. Two, Nehemiah knew what needed to happen. I just sense that I’ve got a clear direction for Alabama.”

At a campaign rally at Pelham Civic Complex in March, Dawson told the crowd how he sought out advice from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee regarding running for governor of Alabama. “He was someone who was in my lane, a pastor who went into politics,” said Dawson. Huckabee shared with the crowd that what makes Dawson uniquely qualified for governor is that he is not in government. He also spoke of Dawson’s “real, honest humility.” “He is willing to be a servant, a vessel, through whom God can do something of value,” said Huckabee. “There are four things a person has to have to be an effective pastor or political figure.

  • You have to have a message you are passionate about.
  • You must be able to motivate volunteers.
  • You have to understand all forms of media and how to use it. How to use a microphone, how to speak in front of a crowd of 10 to 1000. How to stand in front of a camera. How to use the internet.
  • You must be able to raise money and be a good steward of it.

People think it’s a big jump from pastor to politics but it is not.”

“A biblical worldview allows me to address people who do not agree with me in matters of faith or in politics because Scripture says to treat every person with respect,” says Dawson, who has served in ministry for more than thirty years and is campaigning for governor of Alabama (www.scottdawson.com). “When did we allow civility to die in our country? We used to be able to sit across the table and agree to disagree, still able to live in community.”

Dawson credits much of his success to not being afraid to chase his dreams in his youth. He learned how to organize an effort, inspire people toward change, manage contracts and budgets, and communicate with passion while planning his first conference a teenager, before SDEA was even a formal organization. “I learned more in that conference with 89 kids than I learned this past year with 12,000 students,” he says. “Back then it was me, my parents, and maybe one friend working everything. I had to know how to do reservations, I had to know how to read contracts, I had to know how to mobilize students and get them from one place to the other.” The experience, Dawson suggests, will carry over into success as governor. “I’ve been around the state for 30 years. I’m used to grinding it out with doing high school assemblies, speaking at night, doing multiple different events to multiple different audiences. That has proved very valuable for this campaign because I’ll walk in and do a Kiwanis Club, then do a GOP forum, and then go speak to businessmen. And you’ve got to be able to adapt a message to every age group and every part of society.”

The most important lesson Dawson carries into his campaign is that in order to be a godly leader, he must remember he’s not in the “God business.” Yet God has blessed him with leadership and visionary skills. “[God] is in business for himself. You’re in the people business because if people don’t like you, they will not follow you where you need them to be. If we’re going to move our state forward, you’ve got to have a leader that can articulate a vision. You’ve got to have a leader that can build consensus. You’ve got to have a leader that can draw people together. Without vision, people perish. We’ve got to have a direction for Alabama to go.”

  • Camille Smith Platt

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