loren Eric Swanson: Transforming Community Through Business

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Transforming Community Through Business

Since Wednesday I've been hanging out at China Challenge (formerly known as East Asia Challenge) with Sam Williams, Bob Swenson, Joe Thompson, Liz and Libby Crafton. Sam had a friend that graciously gave us access to his 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom house right on Newport Beach that we all stayed in. Had a great time on all accounts. Probably spent too much time at the Chart House instead of meetings but it's all good. There's no place like Newport Beach for the famous Balboa Bars. Yesterday, before leaving the China Challenge Conference I ran into Bob Norsworthy. I met Bob a couple years ago at China Challenge but after a couple minutes of talking I understood that he was working on some real cool approaches to transforming community so I asked him for a few minutes of his time...which he graciously ceded. Bob leads a ministry called...hmmm let's see now...it should be on his business card. Well, let's just go with www.repurposing.biz. No actually it is called Equip.

Bob and a few others with Equip work with groups of business leaders who meet for fifteen weeks for 4 hours / week for 12 of those weeks and for 2-3 all day sessions where they look at all the aspects of their business from a biblical perspective. This team of leaders then travel together to another country to work with Christian business owners and do a rigorous breakdown and analysis of this owner's company. Believing all segments of society need to be changed, they seek to influence all of these sectors. The best information is on the Website so I'll just share a couple of things Bob shared with me yesterday.

Everything begins with purpose. Part of what business people discover is that the purpose of business is to glorify God to create resources to advance his kingdom. During one of the sessions a top-notch graphic design company repurposed their mission to: "Captivating the hearts of children with values that glorify God." Once purpose is settled...the rest (principles, profits, products, people, process, etc. falls into place. Some outcomes include a chain of 7-11s in S. Africa stopping selling profitable lottery tickets since that contradicted their purpose. The largest kitchen remodeler in Capetown (1500 kitchens / year) is blessing the families in the townships by installing the used kitchens in homes of the poor by teaming up with churches that will maintain long term relationships. One oil company, after noticing that the truck drivers were doing nothing while gas from their tanker trucks was pumped into the underground tanks at gas stations, decided to hire / train drivers who could share their faith and plant churches in these gas stations. Very cool stuff!


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