Faith Driven Entrepreneur
Conference content provides a glimpse of loving God and loving neighbor
This week I “attended” the first Faith Driven Entrepreneur conference. Virtual conferences are still a bit unnatural with their mix of live and pre-recorded content and the challenges of networking in a disconnected environment.
The organizers of FDE did a great job on the content side, signing up an impressive lineup of speakers with 19 speakers in 16 slots during the two general sessions (totaling about three and a half hours) plus 9 breakout panel discussions. Some great content was live and I don’t think is (yet?) available online, but I wanted to share three of the speaker slots that were pre-recorded that really challenged me (in a good way). I hope they can encourage you as well.
John and Ashley Marsh of Marsh Collective shared their story of how God redeemed them out of a very dark and broken place and how He is now using them to restore their small town. I think John summed it up when he said “God takes broken things and makes beautiful things.”
I really appreciated the humility of Vic Ho of Fivestars and his willingness to choose God’s way over the easy worldly way.
Pete Ochs is a fellow Kansan. The work that God is doing through his Seat King business is very encouraging. As one of his employees put it “it’s brought hope to a dark place.”
After this video, there was a live interview with Pete where he discussed how his companies have weathered the pandemic.
He explained that this is the 5th or 6th economic downturn that he’s been through, so he has seen them come every seven to ten years. It had been ten years since the last downturn, so he was pretty confident that we were due. For the first couple of downturns that he went through, his businesses really didn’t do anything to respond. That didn’t go well. During the mortgage crisis, they very actively managed their cash position, cutting costs everywhere they could and they survived.
Last year they were looking at acquiring a company that they were really excited about, but then they asked the question of what would happen in a downturn and they walked away from the deal.
But during this downturn, they saw an opportunity to do more. They asked the question — where is the need that we can meet? They understood that there was a shortage of protective hospital gowns and they could make them. But before pursuing that opportunity, Pete took it through his strategic decision framework. His team asked:
- Is this a principled opportunity? Will it honor God?
- Is it a real opportunity? Is it worth chasing?
- Can we win? Do we have what it takes to succeed?
- Are we really being good stewards of what God has given us?
They did the research. Pete reached out to those in his personal and professional network, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and executives in the medical industry across the country. The need was real and it was an opportunity to be a blessing to many, so they pursued it and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.
The conference was a small glimpse into God’s work being done in many places and in many ways. We don’t all look the same. We don’t all go to the same kind of church and we may disagree on different aspects of theology. But we are all seeking to love God and to love our neighbors. Praise God for the work He is doing through faith driven entrepreneurs around the world!