Q Ideas Live … Happy Christians are living them here!


Today, I was listening to an online session with Gabe Lyons of the Q Ideas group. Their point is that Christians need to be about making the world the kind of place God intended it to be … which is a very good point.

What was interesting during the talk was the side discussions.

Someone would throw out a question on Twitter: “Does anyone know of someone who is using a restaurant nonprofit to teach job skills?” And I could answer: “Milestone Culinary Institute, Durham, NC — owner is blind.”

“How can you do restoration in the interior design industry?” another asked. I answered: “Raleigh designers group does rooms for women’s and children’s shelters.”

Then there’s …

The city employee who once a month takes books to kids in public housing: they call her The Book Lady.

The pro basketball player who runs a week-long camp in the inner city neighborhood where he grew up.

Housecleaning entrepreneur gets $1m to redevelop old mill

The woman who, by her mid-30s, had gained so much cred as owner of an inner-city-based housecleaning company that she was able to leverage nearly $1 million in loans and government funds to renovate an old mill as a business and nonprofit incubator, in the same inner city neighborhood.

The businessman who knew that his workers were not only worth their wages, they’d become more valuable if they had more coming … so he opened stock ownership to a large percentage of the company and on retirement from a much larger, thriving firm boasted that his relatively small percent was worth much more than his one-third share ever would have amounted to.

Frustrated software consultant finds his niche

The Fortune 500 software consultant who got so frustrated trying to find opportunities to serve in his community through his church that he did what all good Fortune 500 software consultants do: raised $1 million in capital, designed and built a software tool to let church members sign up for immediate service needs in their community, ran a top secret beta test in a limited market for two years, and is finally starting to let churches install it as part of their own websites, so it’s their church’s ministry to the community through local partners, not his program.

The water resources engineer who intentionally seeks long-term assignments from her company in “10-40 window” countries.

The suburban church where saint and former sinner meet on such equal ground that a woman can interrupt a guest’s conversation to say: “Excuse me, I just wanted my daughter to meet Mr __. Honey, Mr. __ is the man who led your daddy to Christ when he was in prison.”

The usual urban church where the pastor was a founder of SNCC and has served on many boards related to education and social services; a choir member has held one senior position after another in the county and state social services bureaucracy; the membership encompasses many students from the HBU the pastor attended.

Urban church pastor holds office, runs community center

And the usual urban church where the pastor continues to rise through elected office, and also has a job at a university, and also is raising a large family with his wife, and hosts a JobLink site and a preschool at the church and is working to partner churches to beat substance abuse in the neighborhood.

And the usual urban church that has a counseling center with certified staff, a full K-12 school, the usual swarm of uniformed ushers and deacons and nurses, and don’t forget the carpenter … the one who hires ex-cons one or two at a time, so he can train them into enough skill that they can become carpenter’s apprentices on a large crew that pays big money.

And the usual teeny tiny urban “family church” that has held on, for a decade, to a former Winn-Dixie supermarket it acquired for next to nothing, believing that God intended for there to be a supermarket in the “food desert” of their impoverished neighborhood. They withstood an offer from a major developer, kept taking a third offering to pay the taxes … and finally have the contract with a grocery chain that they knew was forthcoming, because God cares that His people have nutritious food.

Business owners provide jobs, mentoring for at-risk kids

And an unusual partnership of suburban churches who, recognizing that much of what they had to offer God was their ability to provide jobs in their own businesses, created a mentoring and job training program for at-risk youth.

And an amazing network of immigrant churches that are “sending” churches — they’re as concerned for planting churches back home as for the health of their local congregations.

I guess the point is: there are a lot of tired and bored Christians. And there are a lot of Christians who are busy doing restoration, pretty much under the radar. So Gabe Lyons, thanks for breaking through to the people who haven’t heard and are still tired and bored. The rest of us look forward to having partners on the ride.

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About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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