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Trillion e system


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Trillion e system

  1. 1. Living Legacy Books Publishers since 2004 Copyright © 2007 by Rodney S. Sampson I, MBA All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form withoutpermission in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, contact Living Legacy Books @ Published simultaneously in Canada, Africa & Europe Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Sampson, Rodney and Shanterria blacks and their trillions: introducing symbiotic economics / Rodney Sampson. 1. Change (Psychology / Self Help) 2. Finance 3. Economics 4. Christian Printed in the United States of America FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT blacks and their TRILLIONS: INTRODUCING SYMBIOTIC ECONOMICS Books, Learning Materials and Speaking 2
  2. 2. Right around the year 2000, we entered a whole new era: Globalization 3.0.Globalization 3.0 is shrinking the world from a size small to a size tiny andflattening the playing field at the same time. And while the dynamic forceof Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force ofGlobalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force inGlobalization 3.0 – the force that gives it its unique character – is thenewfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.From The World is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty First Centuryby Thomas L. Friedman“Whenever I am tempted not to act in a difficult situation involving people,I ask myself, “Am I holding back for my personal comfort or for the good ofthe organization?” If I am doing what makes me comfortable, I amembezzling. If doing what is good for the organization also happens tomake me comfortable, thatʼs wonderful. But if I am treating irresponsibilityirresponsibly, I must remember that two wrongs donʼt make a right”.Eugene Habecker, Former President, American Bible Society“Recognized geniuses may be rare, but genius resides within all of us.Thereʼs not such thing as ʻluckʼ or ʻaccidentʼ in this cosmos; and not onlyis everything connected to everything else, no one is excluded from theuniverse – weʼre all members. Consciousness, like physicality, is auniversal quality; because genius is a characteristic of consciousness,genius is also universal. It follows that that which is universal is availableto each and every person.”From Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. 3
  4. 4. blacks and their TRILLIONS INTRODUCING SYMBIOTIC ECONOMICS By Co-Creators Dr. Rodney Sampson I, MBA and Shanterria Sampson, MBA ContentsDedicationForwardIntroductionDefinitionsChapter 1: From Oppression to Relevance: A Short Economic History of theBlack church in AmericaChapter 2: Understanding 21st Century Symbiotic Economics Lifestyles of The Trillion-Dollar UniverseChapter 3: The Mercury Lifestyle of First ConsiderationChapter 4: The Venus Lifestyle of ExcellenceChapter 5: The Earth Lifestyle of Corporate TithingChapter 6: The Mars Lifestyle of Intellectual Currency Exchange The Church Must LeadChapter 7: The Jupiter Lifestyle of Influence and ExecutionChapter 8: The Saturn Lifestyle of OwnershipChapter 9: The Uranus Lifestyle of Entrepreneurial CultureChapter 10: The Neptune Lifestyle of Corporate ConnectionsChapter 11: The Pluto Lifestyle of LegacyAbout The Author 5
  5. 5. DEDICATION blacks and their TRILLIONS: Introducing Symbiotic Economics is dedicated to my wife, Shanterria Alston SampsonHer persevering partnership provides the strength and intuition to constantlycreate and evolve the divine purpose that God has ordained – with asimultaneous and constant transfer of intellectual currency and practicalapplication to our children- Princess, Rodney II, Rodney III, and Rodney IV. #### March 2007 Rodney Sheron Sampson I 6
  6. 6. FORWARDNot very often do we meet a person who stands high above the rest and aperson whose mere presence commands our undivided attention. Dr. RodneySampson is one of these rare individuals. It is with great honor that I introduceyou to this, his literary masterpiece.Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” His dream is alive and well inAmerica today! When God’s people unite with one mind, dreams become reality.God’s presence gives us opportunity; God’s principles give us success!In 1955 my family moved into a duplex that belonged to the Washington NationalCathedral. My dad taught at St. Albans School for Boys. The Martin families livedon the other side of the duplex. Coach Martin taught athletics at St. Albans withmy dad.The Martins had a staff of two who had been with their family for threegenerations. The staff, an elderly couple in their mid-nineties, had been born onthe Martin family plantation in the South. Their parents were slaves, and theywere born into slavery. After the Civil War ended, they stayed on with the Martinfamily and took on the last name Martin also.I was eleven when the families took me under their mentorship. My parents wereboth professors from New England. The Martins taught me how to speak properSouthern English. After school every day they would have warm cookies and acold glass of milk on the railing between our two back porches for me. I reallyliked them, and we would talk every afternoon before I began my paper route.All four adults were Martins, part of the entire Martin family. They were familycaring for family. All of their children had gone to college, and they wereextremely happy and loving family members – no different than brother andsisters.In this home, Dr. King’s dream had come true. The Martins were the only twoAmerican ex-slaves I have ever personally known. They helped form myunderstanding of how life works. They were my first look at black America.They were loving, caring human beings who were kind and generous neighbors.They had an important impact on my life. Through them I became color blind.They were part of the greatest race on earth, the human race. They left a proudlegacy with a young white boy.As a boy one of my best friends in school was Channing Yang. His dad was theambassador from South Korea. From him, I learned that the Korean people whocome to this country stick together like glue. They help each other in business.They buy from each other. They help finance each other’s businesses. They 7
  7. 7. attain great success in our culture, working together in unity. There is a lessonthere.Dr. Rodney Sampson understands the power of a people working together toachieve success. This program he has initiated will take you to the highestheights if only you will follow his lead. He is the leader for today. His words ofhope and encouragement will direct you to a place of prominence that is rightfullyyours in Christ.The white Christian church of today has for the most part lost its first love.Serving God has turned into religious politics. Jesus is looking for a place in theirchurches.Jesus was an Essene, a religious outsider in the Jewish community. He wasneither a Sadducee nor a Pharisee. The Christian church is the body of Christ. Itis not a religious organization. We are a part of One body.We are adopted into the seed of Abraham. In Matthew I: 1-16 we read thegenerations of Jesus. Joseph, the husband of Mary, was in the lineage of David.He was the stepfather of Jesus. The Holy Ghost was Jesus’ biological father.Jesus was an adopted son in the lineage of David. We in Christ are all adoptedinto the seed Abraham. We are saved through grace that no man may boast. Weare all equal.Our life is directed by the choices we make. Pigment in our skin or the color ofour hair has no bearing on our adoption. We are one in Christ Jesus. Equality isachieved when people of like mind come together in unity. Together we are aforce to be reckoned with. Alone we are simply bait for the devourer.The hope of our nation has fallen upon those whose roots are based in faith andhope. For the black church of America, tribulation created unity. Has that unitybeen lost or can the revival fires of faith and hope be re-ignited? Talk is cheap;it’s time for action.Strength comes from unity. It is time to unite together, supporting one another,encouraging one another, fighting the good fight together until victory is at hand.Devour this book. Read it with your loved ones. Become a doer and not just ahearer. Get involved. Choose life, choose knowledge, and choose victory! Youare more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!Will Green, L.D.D., Minister, Author and ServantThe International Christian Association Group, The ICA Group, Inc. 8
  8. 8. INTRODUCTIONBlack America is on the verge of entering creating a trillion dollar economy. In2011, blacks in America had a combined purchasing power of more than$1,000,000,000,000.00 (One trillion dollars) per year. Thatʼs “trillion” with a “T”.With a dimensional shift in its thinking and doing, the black community ispositioned to transcend into an entrepreneurial and legacy driven trillion-dollareconomy or “trillion dollar universe”. George Frazer, CEO of Frazer Net and ThePower Networking Conference, is often heard saying, “If black America were anindependent state, it would be unequivocally considered the 9th largest nation onthe planet.”Letʼs take this construct a step further. Imagine in our trillion-dollar economy oruniverse that every man, woman, boy and girl living in the black communities inAmerica tithes ten percent of their income to the churches in their communityeach year - thus allocating $100,000,000 billion dollar to its coffers. What wouldwe do with this money? Imagine the impact this would, or should, have on theimmediate communities surrounding the 70,000+ black churches in America.It is amazing what God can impart into your spirit when you are in tune with HisConscience. The Bible encourages us to “keep our minds stayed on Him”. I 9
  9. 9. often pray that every principle or law I embrace will become more than just a rule,but will become a lifestyle. When something becomes a part of your lifestyle, youdo it without thinking. It becomes a way of life.Therefore, if you live a life with your mind stayed on Christ Jesus, your mind willbecome like the mind of Christ Jesus. His thoughts become our thoughts. Hispatterns become our patterns. His ways become our ways. His power becomesour power. Having trained my mind to live a lifestyle of God thinking, “SymbioticEconomics” was created.As I was traveling from Paris, France to Johannesburg, South Africa in Octoberof 2004, the Lord placed the phrase “Symbiotic Economics” in my spirit. Iimmediately wrote it down. The phrase took me back to my medical school dayswhere I was a student at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Itwas there that I was first introduced to the multiple levels of symbiosis. Let meintroduce you to a lifestyle in this book that will transform the world, as we knowit, while simultaneously changing your life.I believe the black church is uniquely postured to bring black Americans into thenext universe of social prosperity and true success – the trillion dollar universe:the ability to have godly priorities and freedom in their lives, and to leave behinda greater legacy for their childrenʼs children. My hope and prayer is that you will 10
  10. 10. be able to (1) find, in these strategies, principles and planetary lifestyle choices,your place in the 21st Century universe of revolutionary opportunity and (2) youwill partner with those around you to make the winning science of SymbioticEconomics a reality in your life, your business, church and community. Yourdestiny rests in the divine planetary system of lifestyle relevance and opportunity– from Mercury to Pluto. Letʼs take off. 11
  11. 11. DEFINITIONSIntellectual Currency: ideas, knowledge, skills, and relationships, often morevaluable than physical property; also known as “Knowledge Capital”.Symbiosis: the habitual living together of organisms of different species (e.g.the bee and the flower). The term is usually restricted to a dependentrelationship that is beneficial to both participants (also called mutualism).1Symbiotic Economics: the application of a symbiotic relationship between twocommunities, in this case, church and business. Such a relationship would, at itscore and most simplistic form, include a structure that supports networking,nurturing and support, and ethical standards. In the most basic terms, the goal isto: (1) increase the net worth of all the members, (2) increase the net worth ofthe church, and (3) increase the net worth of the community.Trillion Dollar Universe: a new social entrepreneurial knowledge based societywhich leverages the planetary lifestyles developed by Rodney Sampson toproduce and own more of what it is consumed. Also includes projectedcombined purchasing power of black Americans by 2010 – Note: As of 2005 thisfigure was at $765 billion)“Prosumers”: consumers that produce what they consume; ultimatelyfinancially benefiting from the production and consumption of their own productsand services.1 th The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6 Edition, 2005. Columbia University Press. 12
  13. 13. 1Chapter One: From Oppression to Relevance: A Short Economic History ofthe Black ChurchAnd they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise upthe foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of thebreach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58:12“If you deny us your name, you cannot seal up the Scriptures from us, and denyus a name in heaven. We believe heaven is open to all who worship in spirit andin truth.” Richard Allen (1794)In the earliest days of the Black church, slaves used secret signals to guide eachother to hidden meetings known as “hush harbors,” in order to worship freely.Today, every Sunday across America, you will see millions of well-dressed 14
  14. 14. dignified African Americans attending the church of their choice. We have indeedcome a long way since the days when our ancestors bore the whip of slavery andwere told that it was Godʼs will for them. For hundreds of years, slaves wereencouraged by their church-going masters to accept their unpaid labor as acontribution to the greater cause of building a new nation. They were encouragedto view the suffering as temporary, and to forgo liberty until they reached heaven.It is clear in hindsight that the ministers of these slave-owners symbioticallysupported an institution that enriched their congregants. In return, thosecongregants filled the collection plates and grew the church. As a result, the firstexperience of black Americans with Symbiotic Economics with the church washardly ideal. The white preachers and pastors in the Southern colonies (and laterthe Southern states) were rarely a source of criticism for this businessarrangement. In fact, the pastorʼs often encouraged the same outlook - whatevertheir personal convictions about slavery or their theological opinions of the “Curseof Ham” theory may have been.Harriet Tubman utilized churches as points of light in the Underground Railroadas she risked her life to lead over three hundred fellow slaves to freedom. Astime progressed, the church became the birthplace of more secret strategies,new thoughts, and a vision for real liberty. Many historians, including author andjournalist Juan Williams, credit the influence of the black church with the 15
  15. 15. prevalence of peaceful resistance to the oppression of slavery.2 Although slavesat times staged violent rebellions, the church was a breeding ground foralternative ways to overcome their unthinkable state. Sojourner Truth, who couldnot read or write, was not only a powerful abolitionist spokesperson, but also apreacher of the Gospel. Black Americans during slavery found in the church bothcomfort in their bondage and hope for a brighter day here on earth.Even as the black church began to organize formally, its influence was neverrestricted to the intangible or ethereal realm. One of the first broad politicalgatherings of black Americans, The Convention of Colored Men, occurred in1830 at the African Methodist Episcopal church founded by Richard Allen. In factmost of the great black political and community leaders of the nineteenth centurycame out of the independent black churches that were quickly being formed.3After the Civil War, the era of segregation and Jim Crow is rightly remembered asa time of shamefully institutionalized racism. It should be noted, however, thatduring that time we founded our own businesses and ultimately our owncommunities as a free people, simply because we were denied access to thewhite world. Remnants of black business districts in Harlem, New York andAtlanta, Georgia can still be seen today, and it is worth remembering the role thechurch played in their formation. The business district in Atlanta was2 Williams, Juan. This Far By Faith. New York, New York: Harper Collins, 2003.3 Hooker, Richard. The African Diaspora. Washington State University: 1996. 16
  16. 16. affectionately named “Sweet Auburn” by Pastor John Wesley Dobbs, thegrandfather of Maynard Jackson, Atlantaʼs first black mayor and the father ofaffirmative action. I venture to say that Dobbs did not call the district “sweet” forno reason. They were forced to practice Symbiotic Economics because theycould not “do business” down the street on Peachtree Street.Other black business districts are not necessarily still visible, sometimes becauseof racial violence. One such community, dubbed Black Wall Street because itwas, at that time, one of the most affluent all-black communities in America, wasbombed and burned in 1921 by envious whites in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In a littleless than 12 hours, over 3,000 African Americans were dead, another 15,000were left homeless, and over 600 successful businesses were destroyed.“Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and twomovie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, lawoffices, a half dozen private airplanes and even a bus system.” 4Yet blacks in America learned from all these experiences. We learned the powerof the pulpit to influence for good or for evil. We learned that the vast majority ofpeople need approval and encouragement in order to act, whether positively ornegatively. We have learned that a “community” is defined by influence andrelationships - not physical buildings, or geography. We now understand thepower of community to provide comfort, encouragement and hope. We have4 Wallace, Ron and Wilson, Jay. Black Wall Street: A Lost Dream. 17
  17. 17. risked punishment and death to gather for worship separately from our mastersfor the same reason that they sought to prevent us from “congregating” - becauseit leads to conversations about change, freedom, equity and parity, inclusion andaction.We all know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister, but so was hismaternal grandfather, Reverend Willis Williams, whose church anchors the otherend of “Sweet Auburn”. In addition to pastoring Ebenezer Baptist church andleading organizations of fellow ministers, he was one of the first advocates ofboth black civil resistance and independent entrepreneurship. He was activelyinvolved in teaching his community how to start and run businesses and evenhow to buy and sell stock. Businesses in Sweet Auburn flourished, despitesegregation, and Ebenezer Baptist flourished as well, purchasing more land andbuilding new buildings.5Of course, we know that Dr. Williamsʼ grandson, Dr. King, lead the Civil Rightsmovement from churches, pioneering a peaceful strategy for civil and socialliberties in America and modeling it for the world. Other notable Christianministers involved in leading the movement included Ralph Abernathy, C.T.Vivian, Bernard Lee, Jesse Jackson, Joseph Lowery, Andrew Young, HoseaWilliams and Fred Shuttlesworth. As tensions and passions peaked, King wasmartyred. Black Americans saw their civil rights guaranteed in law, but King died5 The Papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume I: Called to Serve, January 1929-June 1951.Ed. Carson, Clayborne, Luker, Ralph E., and Russell, Penny A. University of CaliforniaPress:1992. 18
  18. 18. before the next phase in the development of black America could be addressed.Progress in this next phase would allow the black race to understand money, thenewly integrated American economy, and their relationship to both.In actuality, King died before he could convince the same church he hadgalvanized to fight for social and educational access, to continue the fight foraccess to capital and the right to be included at an integrated table of currencyand business opportunity. In fact, many at the time believed that there was greattrade off for social de-segregation. Dr. King even warned during his lifetime thatblack Americans were integrating into a burning house, economically speaking.It is my opinion that, from this point, the black church began to gradually restrictits role to the more obviously spiritual aspects of life. Integration led us to look foreducation and professional success in the outside world, which was closed to usbefore. Yet, often we pursued it at the cost of our own successful independentventures. Our churches still have amazing influence, but are no longer the vibrantcenters for the exchange of ideas and economic action they once were. The timehas come for this to change.This is a new hour for the black community. While many black Americans haveachieved the American Dream, The National Urban League and otherorganizations remind us every year that we still have a lot of work to do. Both 19
  19. 19. technological and general progresses have opened amazing businessopportunities in this new century.The black church has a very important role to play in ensuring that the broadestpossible group of black Americans is ready and able to take advantage of thisnew era of revolutionary wealth. In turn, we know that enriching the blackcommunities in America will strengthen our culture, our churches, our nation andour world. ACTIVATION 1Using the search engine of your choice, RESEARCH “Black Wall Street” andRECORD your immediate thoughts below.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20
  20. 20. 2If you are a speaker or minister, TEACH a message that includes informationon this topic to your general audience; and a different message targeted towardyour youth culture that outlines the historical significance and majoraccomplishments of black in America, immediately following the execution andsubsequent implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation in America byPresident Abraham Lincoln. 3REQUEST that book stores in your community SELL resources about black WallStreet, Sweet Auburn Avenue, and Harlem ENCOURAGE the members of yourcommunity to purchase and read. 4LIST at least 10 positive examples in which your community, and its leadership,is taking an active role in influencing the economics and business policy andopportunities in your local, national and global community. List them here. Ifyou have less than 5, thatʼs OK. Letʼs keep traveling.Action Outcome________________________________________________________________ 21
  21. 21. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5Contact Living Legacy Systems at to schedule 30 minuteconsult to discuss how to activate this lifestyle for your life, business, church,community & world. 22
  22. 22. 2Chapter 2: Understanding 21st Century Symbiotic Economics“But new wine must be put into new wineskins…” Luke 5:38A scientific term, Symbiosis (pronounced sĭmbēōsĭs), is the habitual livingtogether of organisms of different species (e.g. the bee and the flower). The termis usually restricted to a dependent relationship that is beneficial to bothparticipants (also called mutualism).6 Symbiosis may also be extended to includeparasitic relationships, where one organism takes disproportionately fromanother, but for the most part it implies the mutually beneficial arrangements onwhich I intend to focus.You can see examples of symbiosis throughout nature. For example, manyspecies of plants depend on insects such as bees to pollinate them, just as beesdepend on those plants for food. The plants produce brightly colored flowers withinviting scents to attract the bees; the bees carry the pollen from the stamens of6 th The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6 Edition, 2005. Columbia University Press. 23
  23. 23. one flower to the stigma of another, and the plant is able to reproduce. In theprocess the bee is feeding on the nectar the flower produces, which it will mixwith enzymes to make honey. That is just one of the many “win-win” relationshipsGod has shown us in nature.Symbiotic Economics in the 21st Century Relevant churchNow as we transfer from organisms to organizations, my thesis in this book isthat there should be a symbiotic economic relationship between the businesscommunity and the church as institutions or “organisms.” As I mentioned in thelast chapter, there is a long history of such relationships between the church andthe business community, particularly with the black church, but I believe it haswaned since the initial inception of the modern day Civil Rights Movement.Some of this is simply a product of how our lifestyles have changed. We nowlive, work, go to school, and attend church outside of segregated communities.When most of us lived in tight knit communities, attending the church nearest usgeographically, it was much more natural to look within the community of faith forbusiness connections and needs. Life was a lot simpler, and many of thecongregations were small enough that it was easy to keep track of who did what.Now, with the explosive growth of the suburbs, many of us pass several hundredchurches each Sunday on our way to worship. Many congregations have grown 24
  24. 24. to several hundred or even several thousand. As I experienced with the creationand founding of Streaming Faith at the beginning of the 21st century, technologyhas opened up the market for hundreds of new products and services that wouldhave been unimaginable just a few decades ago. So times have changedtremendously, and the church has, for the most part, struggled to keep up.While the church may, in a sense, be ignoring many things, it has not completelyignored money. Many segments of the Body of Christ have explored in greatdepth the Scriptural relationship between giving and receiving. This hastranslated almost exclusively to giving tithes and offerings to the church. Theexpectation follows then that one is to receive blessings, or at least get oneʼsneeds met. Yet I believe the relationship is supposed to be more relevant thanthat. Just as the church needs capital from its members for its practicalsurvival and growth, the small business community needs the networking,support, ethical standards and influence of the church to growth andthrive. Symbiotic Economics, for the purposes of this marketplace book, is theapplication of a symbiotic relationship between the church and the businesscommunity. Such a relationship would, at its core and most simplistic form,include a structure that supports networking, nurturing and support, and ethicalstandards. It would not only take advantage of the business knowledge capitaland human capital already found in the congregation for the benefit of the church,but would also nurture other potential business owners, allow networking among 25
  25. 25. businesses through the church, encourage “cross-pollination” among thosebusinesses, and help to grow the congregation, the church, the community andthe global society.As modern day Christians, we talk a lot about Kingdom economics, the “wealth ofthe unjust,” and access to capital. Yet we do not often explore in more detail thepractical implications of these ideas – and the practical applications in our ownchurch communities. Doesnʼt it make sense to create win-win relationships withinthe established community of the local and global church? Black churches inAmerica collect and deposit billions of dollars per year from tithes and offeringsgiven directly from their congregants. Does it not make sense for theseinstitutions of faith to partner in more meaningful ways with the businesses thatare owned by their members?For example, Bishop Phillip Davis, Senior Pastor of Nations Ford church inCharlotte, North Carolina and about fifty other like minded leaders of faith havecreated a collective banking initiative in their community that aims to leveragetheir collective forty million dollars per year in annual deposits and one hundredmillion dollars in collective assets. In my opinion, every city in the world shouldhave a collective banking initiative between body faith and body finance. Everychurch, denomination and fellowship should have a collective bankinginitiative with a local, national an international banking institutionrespectively. 26
  26. 26. Congratulations are in order to the pastors in Charlotte, North Carolina forestablishing a relevant partnership between faith and finance in their community.It is my hope that they will continue to leverage these banking relationships evenbeyond great banking incentives for themselves and their members; and moveinto a new universe of community and economic development for theconstituents they serve.Many churches allow partnerships to occur to a limited extent, usually based onlong-standing relationships already established in their congregations. However,I am convinced that we are far from harnessing the full potential of this concept.As Pastors, we must understand that for the most part, the post-Civil Rightsgeneration is not relying on body politic and body religion to lead the way. Theyare using the business and finance world to advance themselves and theirdesires to help their fellow man. This is not a negative thing – however, if thechurch continues to largely ignore this trend and this generation, it will continue tobecome less and less relevant in the years to come.On the other side of the symbiotic relationship, successful businessmen andsenior executives watch helplessly from the pews while the church strugglesthrough business processes these entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs” understandwell. Such people may have attempted to get a meeting with senior leadership to 27
  27. 27. offer their knowledge or relational capital and have been rebuffed by intimidatedsubordinates, (i.e. assistants and “armor bearers”), or they may simply senseintuitively that their input is not welcome. Even more “potential businessmen andbusinesswomen” sit silently on Sundays, as their talents lay dormant. It can befrustrating for those who have the talent to help to not be able to, and just asfrustrating to see the potential of other congregants ignored when the churchwould be a perfect place to see this potential nurtured and maximized.As Pastors, we must conclude that ultimately if we increase the revenues ofmembers and member-owned businesses, they will increase the monetaryresources that are tithed and given back into our organizations. This is notcomplicated. It is powerful enough to mandate a systematic, revolutionary anddeliberate approach to entrepreneurial and financial relevance in the Christiancommunity.Developing an Entrepreneurial MindsetTo fully understand Symbiotic Economics in the 21st Century, you must have anentrepreneurial mindset – an open, strategic risk taking mindset. You must thinkand act like a business owner, whether or not you actually own a company at thispoint in time. If you do not develop this “take action related consciousness”, noneof these lifestyles will make sense to you. The idea of being a business owner 28
  28. 28. may bring to mind several different images. You may think of someone powerfuland wealthy who runs a major corporation, with few details of the every daybusiness to contend with. On the other hand, you may think of a struggling smallbusiness, constantly on the verge of losing everything.It is true that business owners and entrepreneurs incur a certain amount of risk inwhat they do. However, today more than ever, risk should not deter you fromthinking of yourself in this way. The downsizing trend in the 1990ʼs made “jobsecurity” an almost meaningless term. An assurance that the job you have todaywill be the same job you have three years from now is unheard of, and quiteunlikely with or without assurance. Most studies show that current high schoolgraduates will change jobs between twelve and fifteen times in their lifetime.Now almost every wage-earning employee understands that they need to keeptheir resume both current and easily accessible.I donʼt share this to be discouraging. I actually think it is a good thing that fewer ofus are parking ourselves in one profession right out of school and coasting thereuntil retirement. That may be a “secure” way to live, but I donʼt think itʼs the bestway to activate the potential inside of you. My point is this: being anentrepreneur, either in addition to a more traditional wage-earning job, or as yourmain source of income, should not be viewed as too risky. Black entrepreneursin America generated on average $700,000.00 US per year in 2005; compared toa gross annual average income of approximately $40,000.00 per year for the 29
  29. 29. working family unit. Where do you see the greatest opportunity for wealthcreation?The essence of entrepreneurship is ownership and ultimately freedom. Even ifyou have a great job with a large salary and great benefits, someone is makingthe decisions that direct that company or agency – and if you depend upon thatcompany for your livelihood, then that someone also controls your future destinyin a very real way. Someone is making decisions in areas such as productdevelopment, service development, customer needs and trends, marketing,human resources, sales and long-term asset management. Is your destinyconsidered in these day to day decisions? An individual who understands thesedecision-making processes and realities also understands how to recognize andtake advantage of opportunities as they come. Someone who doesnʼt understandsuch things, at least on a basic level, is often dependent (in one form or another)on those who do. Even still, I have heard of storeowners during the 50ʼs and 60ʼswho could not count but reached into the register, gave change, and stayed intobusiness unto death.Remember this: whether you are a homemaker or schoolteacher, a doctor orlawyer, a sales associate or news anchor, you are conducting business everyday– buying or selling. Anything that involves your resources, your time, yourintellect, your treasure and your talents, is a business transaction. You must 30
  30. 30. ensure that you are thinking like an entrepreneur in everything you do! Why,because you are an entrepreneur in this new trillion dollar economy.The Next Universe of ProsperityI am thankful that most leaders in the Body of Christ teach that God wants Hispeople to be prosperous in every way, including financially. No longer must wefeel a religious obligation to forgo material wealth out of piety as long as weacknowledge God in all of our ways. Over the last few decades we have beentold over and over again that we can wear couture and custom clothing, drive aluxury car, live in a mansion, and still be holy, committed Christians. Oh, whatgreat consumerism.Unfortunately, the teaching too often stops there. All you have to do, we are told,is give, and it shall be given to you. Give your way out of debt, give your way to anew and better job, and give your way into that house of your dreams. I want toclarify that I completely affirm the principle of sowing and reaping as it is appliesto everything in life, including capital. Stingy people may occasionally prosper,but I donʼt believe God finds any pleasure in it. Yet, at some point we have to askourselves if this version of the prosperity message is all that is needed to closethe wage/income and legacy gap; ultimately elevating future generations of blackAmericans. Even with the great amount of prosperity teaching, there is not anyprosperity leading. Yet in still, black Americans work harder and make less 31
  31. 31. money, save less and spend more money, and pay higher interest rates on lessmoney. This must change.Some of us, usually from the understanding and training we garnered outside thechurch, have succeeded in building wealth and security for our families. Yet toomany others have been unnecessarily left behind, although they have given asthey have been told. Why?Churches and their leadership have too often thought of money and capital one-dimensionally. I will address this more in the next chapter, but for now considerthis: when most churches think about increasing revenue, they think aboutincreasing membership or giving units. More people attend, and more peopletithe and give offerings, and the church can then serve more people and so on.Occasionally, a pastor or leader may consider that if the church were able toreach wealthier people, their tithes would go up as well. But how often do churchleaders consider strategically helping the members they already have to becomewealthier? Not nearly as often as they should. And there in lies the equation thatSymbiotic Economics seeks to balance.While this approach may mean more involvement in the personal and practicaldevelopment of members, this is the fine line leaders walk without leading togreed or usury. Without hinting at the parasitic relationship where one organism 32
  32. 32. takes disproportionately from another; and while tithes and offering are definitelythe right thing to do, church leaders saying we need more money by getting newmembers without ever giving back into the lives of the current members theyhave is wrong. More importantly, church leaders should become wealthy throughtheir own businesses, not automatically on their members and churches.Not to shift your mind too quick; however, every leader of faith should own abusiness or businesses.Remember that church growth is not one-dimensional either. Growth could bedefined as adding numbers to the membership rolls, but it also could beseen as investing in the growth of existing members. It is vital that ourchurches begin to understand and activate this lifestyle if they are to play what Ibelieve is their God-ordained role in this new era of revolutionary opportunity.In her book, Black Power, Inc., Cora Daniels states that the new black elite seesthe business world as the nexus of American power, rather than Capitol Hill orthe church. Instead of seeking to effect change through government orinstitutions of faith, this generation is marching through freshly opened doors inthe corporate world or building businesses themselves. 33
  33. 33. The church must become relevant and practical or stand to continue losing thecurrent and future generations. It is time to make the message of Biblicalprosperity practical, and restore the black church to the cultural and communityforefront where it once was. In the chapters that follow, I will outline specificprinciples, strategies, and lifestyle action steps to make this a reality for yourbusiness, and for your community of faith. ACTIVATION 1Using the search engine of your choice, RESEARCH “symbiotic economics” andRECORD your interpretation below.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2 34
  34. 34. WRITE 5 examples of symbiotic economics in nature. Identify the two mutuallybenefiting partners and the outcome below.Symbiotic Partner #1 Symbiotic Partner #2 Outcome________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3FACILITATE a membership audit of your members to determine the humancapital and experienced skills that exist within your congregation. Tip: Purchasethe Trillion Dollar Universe Activation Manual for sample audit forms. 4RECORD your annual income or salary below. Is it greater than $700,000.00 USper year?$ _____, _____, _____, _____.00 US 35
  35. 35. 5HOST a Direction Solutions Encounter at your church designed to instill thelifestyle principles of entrepreneurship into your memberʼs consciousness andreality. Contact Living Legacy Systems at for moreinformation. 36
  37. 37. 3Chapter 3: The Mercury Lifestyle of First Consideration“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially untothem who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10The 2005 economic report by The University of Georgiaʼs Selig Center ofEconomic Growth revealed that the buying power of African Americans hadtopped $765 billion dollars. I believe God desires to give great wealth andeconomic power to His people, including those of us who descended from theslaves who literally helped build this nation of opportunity and wealth.Furthermore, the emerging partnership between the black church and the blackbusiness community is a vital part of this bright future. The church has both themoral and human resources to be a catalyst for economic growth. Furthermore,as we think about future generations, what better institution is there to help teachour youth how to steward and create wealth? Indeed, it is one of the few 38
  38. 38. remaining “community institutions” that consistently touches millions uponmillions of people each week face to face; and via media and technology.I want to begin to outline specific principles and strategies for putting SymbioticEconomics into action. Let me clarify that I understand there is no “one size fitsall” rule when it comes to implementing Symbiotic Economics within yourparticular business or community of faith. All of these lifestyle strategies mightnot work for your situation, but I guarantee that some will. A great deal willdepend on your companyʼs products and services, or the demographics and sizeof your congregation. I am certain, though, that you will find useful principles tocustomize a lifestyle strategy of your own.Understanding the Mercury Lifestyle of First ConsiderationAs I stated earlier, pastors must understand that ultimately if they increase therevenues of member-owned businesses and influence their members to createnew companies, they will increase the monetary resources that are tithed andgiven back into their organizations. I want to start with a very basic principle topractice daily: churches should give consideration to the businessesrepresented in their congregation when purchasing goods, products, andservices. Every pastor should be able to list the business owners thatattend his church. He should know how many senior level managers and 39
  39. 39. executives partner with his ministry. This knowledge should be just assecond-nature to him or the appropriate leader, as is how many members thereare on the “books” and what the tithes and offerings were last week.Now I understand that all senior pastors are different: some are detail-orientedmanagers, for example, and others are big-picture visionaries. I am not for amoment suggesting that every senior pastor must be personally involved withevery detail of engaging the business community within his congregation.However, I am strongly recommending that this kind of revolutionary thinkingbecome a part of the leadership culture for the pastoral staff. Perhaps anexecutive or assistant pastor will end up being the chief point person for thisaspect of church leadership. Some ministries may allocate funds and hire directorto manage this process. Regardless of the structure of a specific church, knowingthe professional profiles of congregants must become a pastoral priority.It should go without saying that every church must have a directory of itsbusiness owners and leaders and someone in leadership should keeptrack of the jobs and skills the members possess. This directory must beupdated regularly, and pertinent information should be part of new memberprofiles. This allows the organization to effectively practice what I call “TheMercury Lifestyle of First Consideration.” This principle states that if someone inthe church can do the job, and do it well, they should be considered first. Youcanʼt give consideration to a business you donʼt know about. Just as Mercury is 40
  40. 40. the first planet closest to the sun, our business partners within the church shouldbe closest to our consideration.Many other communities already effectively give consideration to their owncommunity first. For example, many groups with strong cultures, such as Asianand Jewish communities, have long been successful at doing a significantamount of business within their own neighborhood – essentially giving firstconsideration to their own community.The Romans named the planet Mercury after their messenger God (probablybecause of its apparent fast motion), and it is partially due to this fast motion thatI feel Mercury is the ideal representative planet for using First Consideration tomove toward the trillion-dollar universe. You see, this starting point forimplementing Symbiotic Economics is the easiest and fastest to implement.Now, here is the challenging part: do NOT require or expect the businesses inyour church to provide the services for free or at cost. You donʼt require this ofoutside vendors and service providers. Why require this of the people who attendyour church; and already tithe and give? This can easily become a mentality ofexploiting, not investing in, those that make your ministry possible. This “taking”mentality has earned churches bad reputations with countless vendors andactually creates an environment that is hostile to entrepreneurship and progress. 41
  41. 41. If someone has it in their heart to serve or sacrifice by discounting their service orproviding it for free, you should not deny them that opportunity. However, itshould not become standard practice or an unspoken expectation. If they areproviding a professional service or product, treat them as professionals.Your members and ministry partners can expand their network and potentialclient base by using the business directory. If I need a doctor, I should be able tofind one in my church. If I need a lawyer, I should have the option of utilizing alawyer that shares my values and commitment to the Lord. If I need financing, Ishould be able to find this service in my church. The Mercury Lifestyle of FirstConsideration should steer us to look for expertise and professionalism fromwithin the Body of Christ, instead of outside.There may be cases when there is not a particular service provider or productbeing made available by the members of your church. In that case, the next stepshould be to look for businesses that are supportive of the faith and familymarketplace at large, and that share the values you want to promote andencourage. When purchasing print media, for example, purchase thenewspapers and magazines that present factual information that affirms Biblicalvalues and truths. Pay attention to the companies that are sponsoring major faithand family events and festivals in your area. Obtain a comprehensive resourcefor Christian businesses, either online or in print. If one doesnʼt exist for yourarea, then some marketplace leader needs to create one! 42
  42. 42. When The Mercury Lifestyle of First Consideration is put into action, we begin tosee Symbiotic Economics at work. Businesses grow. Churches grow.Communities grow. People grow. You grow.Multi-dimensional ThinkingSuccessfully employing The Mercury Lifestyle of First Consideration will requirethat church leaders begin to think about money in a multi-dimensional way.Churches must not divorce their concern about tithing and offering levelsfrom their concern about how that those congregants generate money. Ifthe leadership doesnʼt consider the raises, promotions, business development,business creation and wealth creation of their members as part of standardpastoral concern, they will be disconnected from the process of capital creation ofthe men and women they are leading. Donʼt forget, it is from this capital that theyso graciously give!As I mentioned in the last chapter, the church has viewed money one-dimensionally for far too long. It has concerned itself almost exclusively with theamount coming in, and how it will be divided up and spent. Many Asian culturescall Mercury the “water star,” and just as water can slip through the fingers, socan money. The business owner or corporate executive must always think inmulti-dimensional terms, and must simultaneously consider the investment of 43
  43. 43. revenues back into marketing, people, equipment, networking, and developmentalong with how he or she can increase incoming funds – sometimes through newcustomers – other times through more income from existing customers. Yet inthe church, almost all the attention is focused on people giving to theorganization and not the organizationʼs relevance to them.Suppose there is a church, weʼll call it First Baptist Pentecostal Apostolic, whichhas a medium-sized congregation of about 2,000 adult members. They mighthave about 300 member-owned businesses of various sizes represented in theircongregation. They take the time to create a church business directory, and printfive thousand copies. This way every household in the congregation can haveone, but members can also distribute them to friends and family members. Overthe next six months, those three hundred businesses see an average revenueincrease of about 15%. This not only allows some of them to purchase newequipment, expand advertising and launch websites, but it also translates intoincreased tithes and offerings that go towards underwriting the communityentrepreneurial development institute. From then on, the directory is updatedannually, and the web directory is updated quarterly. Everyone wins!Believe me when I tell you that I am not trying to add another burden to thealready weary pastor! I can hear some who might disagree with me saying, “Ihave too much to do already! I canʼt start a business directory!” I deeplysympathize with the fact that many ministers are over-worked. However, I am 44
  44. 44. talking about an investment with returns. I am talking about things that you willhave to do anyway: considering businesses for jobs you need done. I am simplyasking you to make a front-end investment of time, to do those things in a way(First Consideration) that will bring increase to your church and community in thelong run.Guarding Against Abuse of First ConsiderationIt would be a mistake for me to conclude this chapter without acknowledging thatthere have been abuses of the Mercury Lifestyle of First Consideration. Somepastors, leaders or even members of churches have used their churchconnections, relationships and ministry associations to deceive people into highrisk or even illegitimate investment schemes or business deals. This is stealing,fraudulent, forbidden by the Ten Commandments, and is absolutely inexcusable.In the future, such individuals must face both church discipline and prosecution incriminal court if necessary.There are also less extreme circumstances where leaders or members have triedto exploit church connections for business deals that seek to co-opt thecommunity and relationships within that church. Members are promisedunrealistic success, and urged to get others to buy into the “opportunity,” thuspotentially disrupting the healthy and normal interactions in the congregation. 45
  45. 45. I mention these examples because I realize that almost all of us have had somekind of negative run-in with fraudulent or over-hyped business opportunities. Idonʼt want these bad experiences to discourage you from seeing the potentialand importance of the symbiotic relationships between the church and thebusiness community, nor from considering first the members of your communityof faith. I believe God is waiting to give both church leaders and business peoplewisdom to know how to implement the Lifestyle of First Consideration. ACTIVATION 1. LAUNCH a business directory in your local church, fellowship or denomination. 2. HOST and SPONSOR a monthly networking function at the church that includes business, faith, health, educational and political leaders. 3. ENCOURAGE networking amongst member businesses and executives. 4. ENCOURAGE your senior leadership and constituents to purchase from the member businesses. 46
  46. 46. 5. ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT companies, small and large, that actively support faith and family initiatives, events, publications, media and opportunities.6. DISCOURAGE support of companies that do not support the faith and family marketplaceʼs initiatives; nor reinvest back into our communities.7. PURCHASE The Trillion Dollar Universe Activation Manual for sample business directories. Email for more information. 47
  47. 47. 4Chapter 4: The Venus Lifestyle of Excellence“The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor…” Proverbs 12:26I hope you are beginning to see both the Biblical basis and the tremendouspotential that Symbiotic Economics has for your business, your congregation andyour community. I realize many of these strategies will require a significant shiftin the mindset of both church leaders and business owners in order to besuccessful. My goal is to outline the perspective for optimum success as clearlyas possible, by both identifying what is wrong with the current outlook, andshowing you where to go.It is both tragic and unnecessary that most business owners outside and withinthe church perceive that these institutions of faith do not understand or respectprofessional courtesies in their business interactions. For this reason, manycorporate leaders who do attend church wish to remain unknown, and stay “offthe radar” when it comes to ministry culture. They would rather attend the church 48
  48. 48. without becoming involved because they are innately frustrated with how thingsare done.I alluded to this challenge in the last chapter. The typical business owner hasonly seen and experienced one kind of financial interaction with his or her church:a one-way journey of his money to the churchʼs coffers. We have church service,and I give. The pastor preaches and I give. At best, the businessman sees thechurch (from a financial perspective) as a club he pays membership dues to, andreceives intangibles in return. Indeed, I am clear that businessmen and womenare blessed spiritually by what they receive in church. However, I am simplyobserving that most of them assume that the church leadership doesnʼtunderstand the business world or its processes. Furthermore, they donʼt see thechurch as adding value to the financial aspect of their lives in any concrete ormeasurable way.This must change. In order for it to change, we must address what I call theVenus Lifestyle of Excellence. This principle does several things: it will lay afoundation for the long-term success of your ventures, it will set your efforts apartfrom those around you, and it will ensure that you glorify God. The term“minimum standards” often refers to safety guidelines or other requirements thatare considered absolutely essential. The minimum standard for a product orservice provided by a business is excellence. Of the nine planets in our solar 49
  49. 49. system, Venusʼ orbit is the most nearly circular of that of any planet, with aneccentricity of less than 1%. This near perfect orbit is typical of the type ofexcellence required of any business that is given First Consideration.Setting the StandardWhen we think of excellence in the church, we tend to think about thedepreciable assets we like to consume - new furniture, clean bathrooms, sharpattire for leaders and congregants including the number of luxury cars parkedoutside. We certainly expect that a church would have its electric bill paid, andbe able to pay its staff market rates. We might even think about excellence interms of arriving at service on time! All of these things are part of creating anenvironment of excellence. Now I want to take these ideas to another universe,one where the brightest planet in the night sky is Venus, and discuss what itmeans to set a standard for entrepreneurial excellence in a church environment.Setting a standard for businesses owned by church members has to do with notjust how things look around the building, but also how specific churches behaveas business partners. When a business owner enters into a professionalrelationship with his or her church or a church gives a contract to a member ofthe church, there is a special code of conduct that must be followed. The planetVenus was named after the Roman goddess of love – so it follows that the VenusLifestyle would be dependant upon good relationships! 50
  50. 50. One of the biggest dangers of developing professional relationships within thechurch is that either the client or the vendor may take the relationship for granted.This can lead to a relaxed attitude regarding the quality of the service, product oreven the timeliness or amount of the payment. The church must set the standardby requiring excellence from its vendors from both inside and outside of thecongregation, but also by treating them as professionals.Leaders in charge of such business transactions must be educated enough aboutthe service to know what to expect and how to determine if a specific business iscapable of meeting the need. Where they are unsure, they must be willing to payoutside consultants and advisors (or preferably expertise from within the church)to assist. At the same time, they cannot use “perfection” as a continual excusefor withholding or limiting payment. Unfortunately, churches are known forholding small companies hostage when payment is due. However, it is importantthat churches know what is reasonable to expect.Too often, churches view themselves as above or outside the rules of regularbusiness relationships; somehow they believe that their spiritual status exemptsthem from certain professional requirements or courtesies. When churches seekservices or products, they should expect to play on a level field with any otherclient. I have discovered that many churches donʼt operate openly and honestly 51
  51. 51. when it comes to their decision-making process in business deals. One minute,they are operating from a business frame of reference, the next they are utilizingtheir spiritual intuition. I find it interesting the degree to which organizations willrely on spiritual intuition when their financial resources are limited. Likewise, thebetter off a church is, the more likely it is to use common sense cost-benefitanalysis to make their decisions. Both frames of reference should be executedwith total balance at all times.Unfortunately, leaders have also used spiritual language to manipulate vendorsinto offering their services for free or near cost. Again, my suggestion is thatchurches should consider both natural and spiritual things simultaneously,and that they should be up front about their situation and priorities duringnegotiations. I will discuss this more in the next chapter.None of this means that business relationships within the church have to beawkward or excessively formal; it simply means that both the church and thebusiness hold themselves accountable to an excellent standard. The church inquestion must lead the way by investing the time to make educated choicesabout what it needs and who can best provide it. It also means showing genuineappreciation for a job well done, so that excellence is affirmed. Substandardwork must be rejected, and the business owner properly addressed. 52
  52. 52. Excellence From WithinUnfortunately, excellence has too often been the exception not the rule when itcomes to doing business with “church folk.” How often have you heard someonecomplain about a Christian business that did a poor job, or whose product didnʼtwork as promised? Whatʼs worse, many times such business owners takeoffense at any attempt to call their quality into question. They may have anunspoken expectation that they do not have to do a careful job because theirwork is for a fellow Christian. They may even have the audacity to ask for “grace”regarding their substandard product, or they may become defensive about thequality of what they have offered.This mindset is completely backwards. It is an honor, as a Christian, to do workfor another Christian, and certainly for the church as an institution. You have aGod-given fiduciary duty to provide excellence as your minimum standard. Thechurch or its members do not owe you their business just because you area member of the church or promote yourself and your business as“Christian”. You must prove yourself worthy of that label everyday! Part of thecovenant of church membership should mandate that you provide the service orproduct for other members the same way you would want it done for you! 53
  53. 53. The expectations that church members will treat one another and the churchitself with a standard of excellence must become part of the ministry culture.Members should be encouraged to take pride in the quality of their work;excellent workmanship and service should be held up as an example for othersto learn from. It is also essential that church leaders give correction gently anddiscreetly when needed. You will never have a culture of excellence if you areafraid to confront mediocrity, nor if you confront it in the presence of others!Cultivating a Reputation of ExcellencePrior to acceptance of Galileoʼs work, it was thought that other planets and theSun orbited the Earth. It was Venus that Galileo first observed as showingphases like the moon – meaning that it would be impossible for both Venus andthe Sun to orbit Earth. Thus, the discovery of Venus as a planet wasinstrumental in correcting assumptions that were not in line with fact, though ittook many years for Venusʼ reputation as a planet to take hold.The Bible teaches, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, andloving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1). As a business owner,it will cost you more to produce excellence in the beginning, but it will pay off inthe long term with a larger client base, and better offers. If you own a lawn-carecompany, for example, it will take more time to do an excellent job than amediocre one. It will take discipline to get the jobs done on time. It will cost more 54
  54. 54. to hire conscientious employees who will maintain your standard of qualityconsistently, and it will take extra effort to ensure that they do. Yet within a fewmonths, you will have a reputation for servicing the lawns that look the best. Youwill have satisfied customers who will pass your card along with a smile. Thecompany that shows up late, forgets the edges once in a while, and is alwaysplaying “catch up” wonʼt have that privilege.Even more importantly, when your minimum standard is excellence, you will havethe joy and confidence of knowing you are accurately representing your Creator,the Excellent One, in all you do. You will be set apart from others in your field byyour standard and by your willingness to work hard and more carefully thanothers.Likewise, it takes a tremendous front-end investment to cultivate an environmentof entrepreneurial excellence in a church. It takes a combination of preaching,teaching and training members, as well as setting an example of above boardprofessionalism. Yet once you have established a reputation for excellence inyour church, it will also pay long-term dividends. People will know better than tooffer you a shoddy product or skimp on their services. You will soon be sparedmany unnecessary meetings because vendors will be honored to do businesswith you. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are treating 55
  55. 55. people as Jesus would treat them, and teaching them to represent Him moreaccurately.These principles I have set forth so far have set the stage for your business andyour church to experience a positive shift in awareness and revolutionaryopportunity – ultimately a change that will produce greater revenues for yourorganization. There is no compromise when it comes to the Lifestyle ofExcellence. I recognize that the cost is great, but the dividends this lifestyle yieldsare more than worth it.ACTIVATION 1. LEARN what excellence and quality service for each particular industry and service you are engaging to do business with involves. 2. EXPECT excellence from every employee, vendor and contractor that you do business with. 3. TEACH the importance of excellence to your congregation and community. 56
  56. 56. 4. PAY the businesses that you conduct business with on time. Utilize industry standards for down payments; and final payment. MAINTAIN honest and transparent communication. 57
  57. 57. 5Chapter 5: The Earth Lifestyle of Corporate Tithing“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth yearby year." Deuteronomy 14:22The goal of Symbiotic Economics is to maximize the mutually beneficialrelationship between the church and the business world. This relationship shouldengage the church in leading a wider cultural and community transformation. Inthe most basic terms, the goal is to: (1) increase the net worth of all themembers, (2) increase the net worth of the church, and (3) increase the net worthof the community.We have already discussed the mandate for exchanges between institutions offaith and businesses to be governed by the standard of excellence. Now we will 58
  58. 58. examine a seldom-used principle that will enhance each institutionʼs ability tohelp and encourage the other: the Earth Lifestyle of Corporate Tithing.Beyond the IndividualMost faith-based organizations have done an effective job teaching about thenecessity of tithing on an individual basis. This kind of tithing is clearly articulatedin the Bible, and involves offering the first ten percent of each householdʼsincome to the Lord. Also clear in the Bible is the command to “go forth andreproduce” given to the living creatures God placed on Earth. Reproduction isexactly what happens with money when it is tithed, and thus the Earth Lifestyle ofCorporate Tithing. When a business owner implements Corporate Tithing, hegives from the business itself, as a separate entity, even before payingexpenses, liabilities, and salaries. This is an opportunity for the business ownerto set apart his business, honor the church he attends, and/or the churches thathave invested in his businessʼ success.Large corporations should practice corporate tithing, and give back to thecommunities that bring them profits, and the same should be true of allbusinesses, large or small. Also, “Christian” business doesnʼt mean stingy orbroke! “Christian” business doesnʼt mean small impact! How your business giveswill largely determine how it is postured in the eyes of others: are you a “mom 59
  59. 59. and pop” organization, or are you on your way to higher plains and greaterplateaus?Remember that such giving is a lifestyle, beyond the mere law of householdtithing outlined in the Old Testament. When you think like a successfullybalanced entrepreneur, you are constantly looking for ways to honor andacknowledge and thank those who are increasing your business. Rememberfaith based organizations always have several opportunities for charitablecontributions, and such giving lets them know that you believe in what they areworking so hard to accomplish. Just as Earth is the only known planet to supportlife, giving supports the life of that organization – and says “thank you for whatyou do.”This lifestyle may also involve giving a ten percent discount to non-profitorganizations that you do business for. It is important to note that, in these cases,Corporate Tithing is only meaningful when the company is living and practicing alifestyle of excellence. What good is a ten percent discount on shoddy service?Always remember, anyone can provide poor quality for a low price. You must bedistinguished by allowing the products and services you offer to represent youand the God you serve. Then a ten percent discount can be a powerful offering,and a win-win for all parties involved. 60
  60. 60. Symbiotic Economics in ActionLet me give you a fictional example that represents a classic case of SymbioticEconomics in action. A churchʼs executive team decides that its office-qualityprinter can no longer handle printing the weekly programs, offering envelopesand flyers. They decide to outsource the print work, and request bids basedupon the job details and budget requirements the communications team hasestablished. The team practices First Consideration, and opens the first round ofbidding to those in the membership business directory that already owns aprinting company or is directly involved in printing.James Smith, church member and CEO of Perfect Print, LLC, receives the emailnotification for the bid, and sends a proposal. It is one of the better proposals theteam receives, and his references for past jobs check out well. The executiveteam meets with him, and is impressed with his samples. They expeditiouslyfollow up with him; Jamesʼ company provides a great service and he completes iton time. James tithes regularly from his own income, but he also gives thechurch a ten percent discount off the price of his regular service. Jamesʼbusiness increases, and the church receives a great service for a veryreasonable price. In addition, the church can now honestly recommend thisbusiness as a satisfied customer. Everyone wins – and “No!” – the 61
  61. 61. communications team did not ask him his cost or attempt to negotiate a price at50% off.Church-based MutualismChurches often have other endeavors that generate revenues in addition to tithesand offerings. It is important for the church, when obtaining professional supportwith these endeavors, to make sure that they are offering common-senseincentives so that these ventures are win-win for those who join the team.For example, maybe the ministry has enlisted a sales and business developmentspecialist, instead of a volunteer, to recruit businesses that will purchase tables atone of their annual galas. Yet the ministry will often expect to pay the salesperson a flat fee, without the additional percentage of revenues. However, theministry should pay incentives such as commissions to the sales professional tosell tickets, tables and sponsorships. At this point, the opportunity is mutual andeveryone is motivated to succeed.Such an incentive would be almost automatic in the business world as well as thegeneral not-for-profit sector. Businesses understand that if a sales person gets acommission, he or she is immediately more motivated to make the sale. Yetmost ministries feel exempt from this idea. Too often, they assume that the 62
  62. 62. “worthy cause” should be incentive enough. It is certainly true that “Kingdom”work is its own reward, but selling ministry events and products is not the sameas distributing sandwiches to the homeless. This distinction is not lost onprofessional businessmen, and churches that want professional services woulddo well to keep this in mind.Churches and other ministries are special institutions, but they are not exemptfrom the laws that govern healthy business interactions. I truly believe that one ofthe major reasons that sales become stagnant and new ventures fail for manyministries is due to their ignorance of these basic principles. When churches usean entrepreneurial mindset to create incentives for appropriate aspects of theirrevenue streams, they cause the employee or consultant to be more deeplyinvested in the project. They demonstrate that they value the service he or sheoffers and want to share ownership of their goals with those who are helping toaccomplish them. That is true devotion to “a worthy cause.”As I mentioned, Corporate Tithing is a lifestyle, not a law. It is a common-senseway to make business and faith partnerships win-win. The message of prosperityhas emphasized that we must give in order to receive, and I believe it is time forchurches to begin to activate this principle in their business partnerships. 63
  63. 63. The cultural transformation that God desires for the church as a whole and for theblack church in particular, is dependent on communities of faith embracing amindset of generosity and openness towards informed business dealings. ACTIVATION 1. TITHE, or give a ten percent discount to the faith and family organizations that (a) purchase your services, (b) promote your services, and (c) encourage your growth. GIVE OFFERINGS to your church and to other cause related organizations also. 2. CREATE and EXECUTE an incentive program for faith and family based organizations that includes a minimum remuneration of 10% for connecting your company with its members; and ministry partners. 3. CREATE and EXECUTE a commissioned based sales incentive for anyone in your organization that is responsible for creating revenue; or decreasing expenses. Commission range between ten and twenty percent above base salary. 64
  64. 64. 6Chapter 6: The Mars Lifestyle of Intellectual Currency ExchangeMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejectedknowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thouhast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6Symbiotic Economics requires relationships and exchange. Part of ensuring thesuccess of these strategies for growth is ensuring that your church and businessare postured to be on the giving and receiving end of healthy exchanges ofgoods, services, capital and information. When you are secure, diligent andknowledgeable, you can confidently serve as a catalyst for win-win exchanges. Ifyou are at all self-protective, lazy or ignorant, you set yourself up for professionalisolation, which is the death sentence to success. 65
  65. 65. If the church is to undergo a serious transformation and lead society in the areaof business growth, leaders must practice the Mars Lifestyle of IntellectualCurrency Exchange. Our current era has already been dubbed the “InformationAge” by countless business analyst and pundits for not only the wealth ofinformation that is readily available, but also the speed at which information canbe obtained. As a result, most of us understand that ideas, knowledge, skills, andrelationships, which I have named collectively “Intellectual Currency,” are oftenmore valuable than physical property.Remember “Marvin the Martian”? Marvin was a cartoon alien who first appearedin a 1948 Bugs Bunny cartoon. Marvin the Martian (now seen on CartoonNetwork) was a good demonstration of what most humans seemed to imagineabout someone from Mars. Although his look differed a bit, the key was – Marvinwas smart – Marvin knew things we did not yet know – Marvin was proof that notonly was there life out there – but there was intelligent life. We felt if a Martianshowed up on Earth, then surely he would be way ahead of us technologically(and in every other way). Much of this thinking comes from our understandingthat the old adage is true – “you donʼt know what you donʼt know.”We may be amazed at the advances that Earthʼs societies have made in the lasthundred years, but because we know there must be yet so much more to know,we imagine the Martians as already knowing it (probably because we are so 66
  66. 66. eager to gain the knowledge that we hope someone will just show up one dayand share it with us). So why is it that when it comes to the knowledge thatothers on Earth already have, we are not as easily willing to ask that it beshared?For too long, churches and ministries have been “winging it” in businesstransactions with little or no knowledge of the industries in which they are dealing.Some churches legitimately cannot afford to hire consultants in their early years.Unfortunately, many others simply do not value information enough to pay for it,or at least to expend the necessary time and energy to procure it themselves.They make the dangerous assumption that something they donʼt know cannot bethat important. Institutions of faith must value expertise enough to recognizewhen they need it, and must do what is necessary to acquire it!When we think of gaining knowledge, many of us think of attending classes orpossibly doing research in a library or online. Yet our colleagues, businesscontacts, and ministry partners are some of the best sources of usefulinformation we have. Here again, it is unfortunate that ministries are too oftengripped with a tight-lipped culture that is hostile to the exchange of valuableinformation. There are certainly some elements of business transactions thatmust remain confidential, but for the most part exchanging information with yourpeers and colleagues will be your primary source of education. 67
  67. 67. From Ignorance to ExpertiseFairly or unfairly, churches have the reputation for being ignorant, or unexposed,to 21st century business practices, and many larger businesses exploit this totheir advantage. I continuously observe larger companies interact with variousministries with the assumption that no one at the ministry understands or reallyknows the details about what the company is presenting. Furthermore,businesses know that ministry leaders do not talk to one another, so they caneasily charge one church one fee, and another church a higher fee if theyestimate it can pay more, for precisely the same service. This refusal to shareinformation between leaders greatly decreases the collective bargaining power ofthe church when it comes to purchasing things like media services andequipment, or advertising.There are many reasons that leaders of churches and small businesses areafraid or apprehensive about sharing information. They may be concerned aboutgiving other parties an advantage in a competitive environment. Some viewinformation as power, and think that hoarding it will increase their influence. Ithink the two most common factors discouraging information exchange are thefear of looking foolish and thinking one has received an exclusive deal. No one 68
  68. 68. wants to look like they paid too much. Yet, everyone wants to believe that theyreceived a deal better than everyone else. Moreover, in my observation, mostfear looking vulnerable more than they fear actually getting cheated!Many pastors are afraid that they have overpaid for a service, and thus theyrefuse to disclose any information about it. Likewise, they are tentative aboutasking a fellow pastor how much he or she paid for something. Thisapprehension about discussing money candidly carries over into more personalinteractions as well. Imagine if a Christian focused media buying company and agroup of pastors in a certain city, denomination, or wider fellowship organizationpartnered to use their collective bargaining power to drive down the cost of thetelevision and radio time they purchased each year. They could all save money,and could increase their influence, both individually and corporately. Yet suchdemonstrations of solidarity are all too rare, and broadcast companies know it.In the worst cases, Christian leaders have actually postured themselves asfinancial experts when they werenʼt, and peopleʼs lives have been greatlydamaged. There have been occasions where members have sought specificfinancial counsel from their spiritual leaders, and rather than admit theirlimitations, those leaders dispensed bad advice and the members lost money asa result. Many of these tragedies may actually cross the line into illegal activity,and all are utterly unnecessary and avoidable. 69
  69. 69. The Church as an Exchange CenterIn reality, all of us have areas of expertise and areas of limited knowledge.Humble and honest people know their proficiencies and seek expert advice whenneeded. This honest approach by church leaders that want their institutions tobecome exchange centers for the invaluable “intellectual currency” that rules ourday is all the more important. Letʼs think for a minute about the possibilities if thechurch became a little more teachable and got serious about providing, andaccepting, expertise.Individual responsibility and thus personal expertise is more important than everin multitudes of fields, and a conscientious church can become the new clearinghouse for much-needed information. For example, a few decades ago we trustedour doctors to give us all the information we needed regarding our physicalhealth. Now, there are medical breakthroughs in everything from prescriptiondrugs and laser surgery to understanding the role of nutrition and diet in over-allhealth. Likewise, conventional medicine has proven to have only some of theanswers for effective care. Patients must begin to take more responsibility formaintaining their own health and for seeking proper treatment when necessary.If churches got serious about providing expertise and knowledge for theirmembers in just this one area, think about the possibilities. They would have 70
  70. 70. members who were healthier, and who had found support for an area of life thatcan be a source of great stress and confusion. Members in every stage of lifefrom young people to parents to grandparents would find it a relevant service. Itwould also be a great tool for indirect evangelism, meeting a need that manyoutside the church have, and offering them a meaningful reason to come by. Thesame principle applies to many other areas of life.The fact is that with the growth of the suburbs, the old-fashioned “Town Square”is almost unheard of. Yet the need for a center of exchange for intellectual andcultural ideas remains. Will the black church be committed enough to learningand obtaining expertise to fill that void? ACTIVATION 1CALL a colleague and inquire how much they paid for a specific service you arecurrently using or considering. 2CREATE a consortium that shares information about everything from mediabuying to financing. 3 71
  71. 71. LEVERAGE the buying power of the consortium to achieve collective purchasingpower and discounts on related services. 4RECORD and be prepared to know much you pay for the following services.Graphic Design [by the hour] $___________Website Design $___________Your Marketing Company Commission $___________Your Word Network Broadcast $___________Your TBN Broadcast Avail $___________Your Custom Tailor $Oh, forget this. We have enough suits.Your Banking Note Interest Rates $___________ 5DEVELOP a business relationship with companies like Intellect that can help youorganize and execute collective purchasing and bargaining initiatives for yourchurch, fellowship or denomination. 72