THE JOURNEY OF SURVIVING TO THRIVING

by | Nov 1, 2017

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

It’s not easy to walk away from a job at the height of your career, but that’s exactly what I did.

Let’s back up for a moment and I’ll tell you the whole story.

I’d just had my biggest year as a banker, when suddenly, I felt a pull from God to steer away from that comfortable life. If you know me, you know that I’m not the type of person who lets my feelings dictate my theology or how I behave. I’m very intentional and goal-oriented in the way I live. But when God impressed His message upon me, I felt very conscious of how important this pull was.

Still, I didn’t act impulsively. I sought counsel with leaders at my church, and I discussed it with my wife. Deliberating over His message helped me realize what I was feeling inside: It was exuberance. “Wow,” I thought. “God is calling me to do something bigger than myself.”

I didn’t know it yet, but my business experience was going to be crucial to answering His call. In the meantime, I was embarking on spiritual journeys that fulfilled my life outside of work. Because of my incredible team, I was able to entrust them with day-to-day operations of the business, which allowed me to pursue missionary work in other parts of the world.

In 2004, our church made a trip to Bangkok where we collaborated with a pastor who shared our vision. Over a decade of partnership, we were able to launch 30 different churches in the area with 1,500 new believers. Watching this entire process unfold affected me on an emotional level, and I spent a lot of time trying to process what I was feeling. Once again, I sought counsel and spoke with my pastor back at home. “I’m very enthusiastic about missionary work,” I shared with him, “but I’m not a doctor or teacher, and I’m not sure what I have to contribute.”

He reminded me of the knowledge I’d been building. “You know a lot about building a business, don’t you?” He suggested I look into business mission trips, so I started doing research. In 2007, I was invited to Russia for a missionary trip. I went to training in Georgia, completed the training, and ventured out on my first business mission trip. We focused on launching entrepreneurial startups among believers and building His Kingdom through business. I remember thinking, “This is it. This is where God has been leading me.”

 

Proverbs 3:5–6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

I saw a vision for how this mission could multiply, and I began brainstorming with the group who organized the trip. They were gracious enough to give me their materials. We, a group of fellow volunteers and later a board of business owners and ministry professionals, started testing our vision in Serbia in 2009, in 2011 in the Middle East, and in 2012 and 2013 in Central Asia. We’ve continued to grow from there.

 

John 10:3–4

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

From the day I received the call from God, it took 10 years before I understood the bigger story, and that’s how we got to where we are today.

This is the story of iBAM.

Our approach is an alternative approach to growing His Kingdom because we have an alternative story. We are building the Kingdom through business.

I’m looking forward to having you join me for this journey. If you’d like to learn more about iBAM, feel free to reach out. You’ll hear from us in the next newsletter, but in the meantime, you can find out more at ibam.org.

Until next time,

S.A.
Founder and President