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Using Our Business Skills to Extend Our Impact: Corey Cleek

Have you ever wondered if you can use your business skills and experiences in an overseas missions context?

Have you ever wondered if you can use your business skills and experiences to serve your local community?

Have you ever wondered if you can use your business skills and experiences to serve your church?

Think about it. You and I are gifted with skill, passion and experience in an area that is in demand in our churches, communities, and many parts of the world: business management.
Our day-to-day work in business provides opportunities to serve every day within our companies and within our communities. Our work in business is ministry. This is a beautiful thing.

What additional opportunities do we have to serve? How can we extend our impact?

Churches need to be run and managed with excellence. Local and national ministry organizations need to be run and managed with excellence. Business leaders, church leaders, and other non-profit leaders need business management support and training in other parts of the world.

How can we serve these organizations and leaders? How can we utilize our gifts and passions in business to serve others? What are some specific examples of what these opportunities are - what does it look like to serve in this way?

Up until 8-10 years ago the mission trips and service projects I had participated in either provided physical labor (i.e. a local project building a small park in our community) or supported medical services as a part of medical mission trips to other countries.

I enjoy participating in projects and trips like these, and I'm blessed by serving in this way, but I began to wonder how I could utilize my passions and skills in business.

As I began to be more attentive to opportunities around me to utilize my business skills and the business experiences and strengths of friends around me, I realized there are tons of opportunities to serve.

Within a couple of years, I've had the opportunity to use my passions and skills in business to serve my church, in my community, and overseas, and this has transformed the way I think about business, ministry, and the intersection of business and ministry.

I've participated in three Ministry Consulting projects where groups (3-5 people per project) of business people from Silicon Valley Fellowship (a marketplace ministry organization in the San Francisco Bay Area) came alongside various non-profit ministry organizations in the area to address specific business needs (writing a business plan, developing a fundraising plan, reviewing financial statements and making recommendations). Each of these ministry organizations had limited personnel and resources, so the opportunity for us to come alongside of them for a short-term project to address specific business needs was very helpful to them and very rewarding to us. I also ended up joining the board of one of the organizations.

There was a young adults pastor at my church who asked if I would meet with him to review his plan for developing the young adults ministry in our church. He invited 2 other business people in the church to join us as well. He appreciated our insight and our perspective, and we enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the development of a new initiative in our church.
A few years ago, I went on my first Business Mission trip to South Africa with an organization called Rep (formerly known as equip). This trip was life changing, and it further clarified for me that business is a tremendous platform for ministry. Rep is based in the Silicon Valley. Rep trains and takes groups (10-12 people per trip) of business leaders from the Silicon Valley and from around the U.S. to other parts of the world (India, South Africa, Indonesia) to provide consulting and to train business leaders how to manage and build their businesses based on Biblical principles.
These are just a few examples (from what I'm seeing and experiencing) of the ways we have, as business people, to serve in our churches, communities, and overseas - there are many others.
What opportunities do you see? What can we do to uncover and create additional opportunities like these to use our business skills to serve others and have an impact on the people, organizations and communities around us?

Corey Cleek has held various U.S. and International Marketing and Business Development positions at eBay and Amazon.com, and he is presently the CEO of Uloop.com, an online classifieds platform for colleges and universities. Corey is the general editor of Devotional Ventures, 60 Inspiring Devotionals by Business Professionals for Business Professionals, by Regal Books. For additional information about Devotional Ventures, visit www.devotionalventures.org

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posted by Justin Forman | 2.27.2008 - 7:00 AM


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