Community Networking is a proven way to connect God’s purpose to local people who can help you impact young lives for Christ.
I sat at my desk and began to ponder how my community could truly be a part of my passion and cause. Like so many in ministry, my family and I had come to live in a new area with few community relationships outside our own ministry base. I began to visit with local business owners, nonprofit directors, politicians and civic leaders and decided with our pastoral team to make it a priority to find “a place” where we could share our vision and add value to the community on a regular basis.
I was soon invited to a business group by a friend where I was warmly greeted and invited to observe and participate. I listened intently and learned that Business Network International was a “referral” based organization that met weekly in my community but also had over 100,000 members in 40 countries. BNI members were intentionally engaged in bringing profit to their partnering businesses/charities. As time passed, I became a founding member of the “Commonwealth Chapter” and represented our local Christian non-profit in that group for many years. In a short period of time our group of twenty had generated over $2,000,000 in net profits among its members and had brought each member’s cause to the front lines of community awareness. I was surrounded with businesses that significantly supported our cause by giving thousands of dollars to scholarship students in our local Christian school.
One day I received a call from a local businessman named Brian. We had founded a referral group together and had shared many successful days around the conference table. Now, he was asking if we could meet because his life was in a tailspin. Brian came to faith in Christ and soon began to worship with my family. He became involved in rescuing his own family. As Brian and his wife, Christy, began to see things differently because of their new faith, a Christian education became a priority for their children. Soon they enrolled their sons in the local Christian academy I represented in our group meetings. Christy became employed there as well. The business relationship I had with Brian allowed me to give guidance in their time of crisis and lead to a path of redemption for their family.
Years have passed. I still have close working relationships with many local businessmen and women like Brian. I still work with the Frazier family, owners of the BNI franchise in Southwest Virginia, who have shown much kindness to RENEWANATION. We continue to see benefits from daily investment in others while giving opportunity to partner to make an “eternal” difference for children in our community. This relationship has made it possible for many children to get help.
Real People + Real Purpose = Real Promise
I have often wondered what would happen if leaders of churches and Christian schools would take the time to work with local businesses each week in order to help students in their communities. Many business owners would gladly help underwrite a portion of the funding needed, especially when they realize that their support will help to raise up a new generation of citizens who will work and lead with integrity!
We constantly direct profitable referrals to businesses who are motivated by the vision of RENEWANATION and we watch them respond to help children receive a Christian worldview. The premise of this business concept is a principle that we practice as an organization: “Givers Gain.” Many benefits come from our investment in these long-term relationships. As an example, our offices are partly underwritten by one of our business friends who has also invested thousands of dollars in student scholar- ships at a local affiliate school.
Networking with businesses is not a quick fix and it definitely takes an investment of time and energy. However, it is a real, down-to-earth, proven way to connect God’s purpose to local people who can help you impact young lives and offer them a Christian education.
By Dan Coy, Vice President of Business Partnerships, RENEWANATION
This article originally appeared in The RENEWANATION Review, Volume 5 Issue 1. If you would like to become a member and receive a print edition of the magazine, please click here. If you would like to learn about other ways you can get involved, please click here.