Profit with a Purpose
Induna Adventures is taking a leaf out of the book of US company Barnhart Crane and Rigging and channelling some of their profits into the Sizabantwana organisation. Alan Barnhart of Barnhart Crane and Rigging
shared the following story of his attitude towards money:
I came to Christ in high school and soon after, went off to college.
Many people jettison their faith and morals during college, but it was just the opposite experience for me. I grew tremendously in my faith, and fell more and more in love with Christ. I was studying engineering with the intention of going back to work in our family business. But many of my peers were urging me to do something significant, like going into full-time ministry work. I prayed about it and I came to the realization that I could be a full-time follower of Jesus as an engineer and business owner. I didn’t need to be collecting a check from a non-profit to be truly following Christ.
So I came back to Memphis and went to work for my dad in the family business.
An important thing happened during those first two years working for my dad. Because I was going into business, I studied every verse of scripture that I could read about money, wealth, giving, and the poor. There are thousands of verses that talk about money and I catalogued each one.
This scriptural study of money led me to two basic conclusions. The first is that God owns it all. We’ve been bought with a price, and everything we have is not our own. Everything that we have and everything that we are belongs to God. Our job is not to figure out what we want to do with our stuff, but what God wants us to do with His stuff. We are stewards and our time on earth is an infinitely small part of our existence. We’re going to live forever, and we need to be good stewards now.
The second belief that became ingrained in me through the scripture was fear-a healthy fear of affluence and wealth. I saw so many wringing throughout the Bible about wealth. For example, Jesus explains that it is almost impossible for a rich man to go to heaven in Matthew 19:24: “I tell you the truth...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And in Matthew 13:7, Jesus tells a parable about the seed that fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Jesus explained that the plants were choked out by the care of this world and the deceitfulness of wealth. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I wanted to be like the good soil in Matthew 13:8 that yielded 30, 60 or even 100-fold.
I was 24 years old when I read these scriptures and I realized an important fact. I did not want my business success to equal spiritual failure. So when my brother and I started the process of transitioning from being employees in the family business to co-owners of Barnhart Crane and Rigging, we decided to establish safeguards against too much worldly success in our lives. The first thing we did was set a finish line for our lifestyle. We made a commitment to each other to keep our lifestyle simple and modest, and use any additional money we made to fund ministry. If God chose to prosper our business beyond what it would take to generate our middle class salaries, we would not increase our lifestyle.
Then we locked in our commitment by telling other team members in our company so they could keep us accountable. We explained, “This is the lifestyle that we’re going to live. If you work hard at generating additional revenue here and God prospers us, these profits will mean nothing to our lifestyle as owners but they will mean a lot to the Kingdom.” So many believers were attracted to our business because they wanted to be part of supporting Kingdom work through business. But it also built in accountability for us.
The next thing we did was put a system in place to do all our giving as a group called GROVE. Our desire is to keep personal pride out of the giving process and share the joy of giving. So we involved team members of the company and their spouses in the giving process and made decisions as a group. We started as a group of six and now it’s almost 50 people.
The first year we didn’t know if our new venture would even survive. We began with a small group of about 10 employees and equipment from the original family company plus the corporate offices, which were two bedrooms of the home I grew up in.
What happened next is pretty amazing. The company started to grow and the first year we made some extra money. We were able to give $50,000- more than my salary, which I thought was awesome! Our profit with a purpose group, GROVE, prayed and decided where God wanted us to invest His money. We established an international focus for our giving because we saw such a disproportionate need there.
To read more, see the link from Induna Adventures' website: http://indunaadventures.com/2012/08/11/profit-with-a-purpose/