Kingdom Business Builders – Bill Trestrail

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – click here to access on Kindle)

Bill Trestrail was originally an accountant, then worked for a number of financial management software companies to help them engage their future and achieve organisational change. He joined Silicon Graphics International (SGI) in 1995 as the Canberra Branch Manager, and had a series of rapid promotions to National Defence Business Manager (1996), Corporate and Government Sales Manager (1998), Australian Head of Sales (1999), Managing Director for Australia/New Zealand (2000), Regional General Manager South Asia/ Pacific (2004) and then to Vice President for Asia-Pacific (2006), a position he held until leaving the company in 2009. Bill achieved rapid promotion in the organisation through the outstanding results that he achieved as well as a commitment to the welfare of his staff. Bill has now left the corporate world to establish a more integrated lifestyle of family, ministry and business where he has more flexibility to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. He now works as a management consultant, and is a board member for several organisations including a tertiary institution and a government research group. He also is the CEO of an Australian software company (www.ajiliti.com)

What has underpinned Bill’s success is the value that he places on the people in his workplace. In the following chapter, we will cover organisational culture which is the collective values of the stakeholders of an enterprise. Research tells us that workplace culture is a direct driver of organisational performance. Where there is a positive work culture, employee engagement and staff retention increases; whilst absenteeism and attrition decrease. Two of the most powerful ways to embed values in a culture are firstly, the daily things we attend to and secondly, how we respond in a crisis. Bill has paid daily attention to giving room for his staff to excel and showing care and concern for them. I came back from lunch with Bill to his office one day and was struck with the level of assistance and interest Bill showed to the receptionist. Not just a “Hi, how are you?”, but a series of questions about her welfare, her workload and the resources she needed. It was this level of value placed on people that ensured that his team would give him all the support he needed when the organisation was facing difficulty. Bill’s value for people was evident during an organisational crisis. He had a personal opportunity for great gain that he lay down to serve the people of the organisation. Values are important to have, but it is even more important to consistently apply them in both our day to day activities as well as when we are under pressure in a crisis.

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Kingdom Business Builders – Stan Jeffery

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – click here to access on Kindle)

Stan Jeffery is the Managing Director of Integrated Company Growth Services (www.icgs.com.au). He has been in the computer, software and telecommunication industries in Australia, Europe and South East Asia for over 20 years. He has a Bachelors degree in electronics, an MBA and is a Doctor of Technology specialising in early stage entrepreneurship and investment modelling. He has experience at a senior management level with Telstra, ICL (Fujitsu), Toshiba and Wang. Stan is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 Stan has a strong desire to help business people understand spiritual realities and build their business through spiritual principles. He works actively to help Christians in business grow in wealth. Stan started “Boardroom Prophets” (www.boardroomprophets.com) in 2006 in Sydney with a group of Christian directors who could see the need for spiritual support in the board room. The Boardroom Prophets’ slogan is “Bringing God’s wisdom to the boardroom” and they create opportunities for directors to receive affirmation and confirmation of the still small voice they usually already hear.  They have four ways of achieving this:

1. They seek out chairmen and link them with a Christian director who can hear from God. 

2. They help directors to hear from God via the Boardroom Prophets gatherings.

3. They link intercessors into the business growth process at a senior board level position.

3.They link investment funds to where God is at work.

 The “Boardroom Prophets” group exists to establish the prophetic gift as a foundation to enterprises. They are helping board members to become confident in hearing from God and in developing their prophetic strategic planning. These are the most rewarding outcomes for Stan. Boardroom Prophets are now operating in Melbourne, Ballarat and Perth.

 

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Marketplace Missions Forum

MarketplaceMissionsForum

Do you have a passion to influence society? 

Do you wish to connect with others who are also on that journey?

At the Marketplace Missions Forum, you will hear from eight Stairway people who are taking steps on that journey.

You will also connect in a discussion group with others who have similar passions and calling to you. You will have the opportunity to connect with people who may become lifelong co-journeyers with you.

This event is free but please let us know if you are coming to aid our planning

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Kingdom Business Builders – Keith Henry

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – click here to access on Kindle)

Keith Henry runs a company called “Colour Presentations” (www.colourpres.com.au ), based in Sydney, Australia and has been running this business in various forms for the past 25 years. Early in his business life, he felt led by God to read the blessings of Deuteronomy chapter 28 every day. These Scriptures promise that we will be blessed in everything we do (as long as we obey and follow God). One particular example of this blessing that Keith continues to speak out every day is when he received what he calls his “letter from God”. This letter was from a company in Milan, Italy, offering him the opportunity to sell the world’s only book covering machine. Three months before this he had “coincidentally” booked a flight to Germany that stopped over in Milan. He was making that trip the following week, so he visited the company in Milan and secured the distribution rights of what is now one of his major income earners. Keith has also been led by the Spirit to major suppliers and customers in his business and finds the Holy Spirit’s leadings to be the most productive for His business. Whilst at a technology fair in Hanover, Germany, the Spirit prompted him (He said “get back there”) to return to a stall that he didn’t have an interest in. That stall had a fantastic product that was perfect for his product range and “coincidentally” the distribution rights for Australia had just become available. This is now his major product.

 Keith not only operates in the “believers anointing” to hear the Holy Spirit, but also operates in a “ministerial anointing” of healing. Twenty years ago he broke his neck in a surfing accident and should have drowned. He barely made it to shore and was taken by helicopter to a hospital but was prevented from landing due to some red tape regulations. The helicopter then crashed trying to land back at the beach. Thankfully his story gets better. Whilst he lay in hospital in plaster and in pain, he had an experience that he describes as “having his brain vacuumed out” and Mark 2:10-12 implanted. This passage of Scripture talks about the healing of a paralysed man. Keith’s subsequent healing from his injuries was a catalyst to him being anointed to heal others. His involvement with the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship (FGBM) afforded him an opportunity to lay hands on business people to impart the healing anointing. Many great miracles of healing occurred at those FGBM meetings including healings from cancers and other physical injuries. At that time, there were not many churches that operated in that level of anointing and many pastors also came to the FGBM meetings to be healed and blessed. Keith also minsters to business people through Christian business coaching and personality profiling.

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Kingdom Business Builders – Steve Keil

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – click here to access on Kindle)

Whilst doing his MBA in 1997, Stephen Keil had an overwhelming sense of starting a “greenfield” business that would grow well and bless everyone involved. At that time, he was a high level corporate in a dog-eat-dog company and the thought of having a win-win relationship with stakeholders was very enticing. Several years later whilst working in New Zealand, he met the principals of a new franchising company whose franchising model was win-win for both the franchisee (who have minimal ongoing franchise payments) and the franchisor (who generate income through collective buying power).

At that time, the franchising company had 13 franchises and Stephen had a secure highly paid job in Australia. There was a tangible spiritual pull to the role. One year later he reconsidered the opportunity. The franchising company had grown to 20 franchises in New Zealand. This time Jane, Stephen’s wife, strongly encouraged him to follow the leading of the Spirit to resign from his highly paid corporate career and launch the franchise in Australia. In 2004, Stephen left his career and spent five months setting up the business.

These were lean months with no revenue generated.  The franchise company lost several hundred thousand dollars in the first year, did slightly better than break even in the second year, made several hundred thousand dollars in the third year and its net profit has better than doubled each year since, except for the GFC year (2009) in which profit remained about the same. The franchising company had grown to over 100 franchises in Australia with collective turnover in excess of $200 million with 1000 employees in the franchise system.

Apart from building a win-win franchising system, his group sponsors many community projects including participating in rebuilding after the Christchurch earthquake

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Kingdom Business Builders – Peter and Lynne Klomp

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – click here to access on Kindle)

In 1989, Peter Klomp was working in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when the church he was attending commenced a building campaign to raise money to buy a church building. Peter began to seek God as to how he could contribute financially, because he both knew, and felt in the Spirit, that there had to be more to giving than his fixed salary permitted. Some years earlier, the Lord had told Peter that he would be leaving the ATO, but as he sought the Lord about the building campaign he had not considered that the two concepts were connected. It wasn’t until Peter’s wife, Lynne, asked him “What do you want to do?”, did the whole thing break open.  God had been setting this up for some time. Several months before this, while still working in the ATO, Peter was asked to develop and present a one-off training course for ATO staff on financial products. It was the first time he had done such a thing and he really enjoyed the challenge. 

 When encouraged by Lynne to truly examine his heart, Peter decided to start a business conducting professional training. He started a company in January 1990 called Seminars Australia (www.seminarsaustralia.com.au). The business has been tremendously successful, based primarily on Peter and Lynne’s commitment to seeking the voice of God over every major business decision, and moving together in agreement with the Holy Spirit.

 Peter’s faith foundation for his business was established early in his Christian life, when, in 1985 as an unmarried man, he felt led to give his entire net wage to his newly established local church. He did this until he ran out of money around nine months later. At the same time, Lynne, as a single woman, was also being challenged by God in the area of finances. It was during this time of training that they both gained an understanding of giving and built financial faith as they planted many seeds for prosperity.

Like all businesses, Seminars Australia has had its challenges, but Peter and Lynne’s commitment to giving 15% of the business’ gross income (about 35% of net profit) has resulted in many churches being blessed as well as their own family being financially prosperous. Several million dollars of giving has seen various churches grow, the underprivileged of the community helped, buildings constructed, missionaries funded, pastors employed and testimonies preached.

Peter and Lynne commenced the Parliamentary Prayer Network in 1994, following a desire to put 1 Timothy 2:1-2 into action, to “pray for kings and all who are in high places”.  Like Seminars Australia, this ministry was founded on hearing the voice of God. Peter and Lynne are now personally involved in prayer and chaplaincy work in the Australian Federal Parliament. They facilitate spiritual care and prayer requests for senators and members in the Federal, State and Territory parliaments. Several thousand people around Australia are now mobilised to pray for politicians in a confidential manner. Lynne also commenced schools and youth programs to encourage the next generation of young people to pray for government.

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Kingdom Business Builders – Jacques and Nel Dekker

(This story is from my book “Building Spiritual Enterprises” – available on Kindle)

Nel and Jacques Dekker were in their retirement after a lifetime of work and raising a family. They had also been foster parents for 76 children over ten years, many of them either handicapped or abused. They then became the permanent carers of twin girls. Jacques had retired a few days before 9/11 (2001) and the subsequent impact on the economy meant their retirement would be more financially constrained than they had hoped for. This frustrated the Dekker’s as they hated not being able to give as much money into the kingdom of God as they wanted. Their daughter is a quilt, bag and display doll designer and her success had meant that she needed help to do all the work. In 2003, Nel gave her time at no cost to help with organising duties including doing the invoicing and making patterns.  Jacques came on board to promote the patterns. The business grew and one of Nel’s daughter’s friends, also a designer, needed Nel and Jacques help as well. Nel and Jacques formalised their work arrangement with the two designers in May 2004 and called their business “Creative Abundance” (www.creativeabundance.com.au). A business was born out of a mother’s desire to help her daughter.

Creative Abundance distributes the patterns and design books of 12 of Australia’s leading designers. They employ 12 people, 6 in a full time and 6 in a part-time or contract basis. Jacques and Nel seek God’s will over who they should distribute for and have both refused many offers from other designers and prayed for specific designers they felt the Lord wanted Creative Abundance to distribute. Nel and Jacques declare that Creative Abundance is the Lord’s business and pray every day for the business. They pray for the Lord’s blessing for their designers and customers. They seek God for creative designs. They make a point to be generous to their customers by giving away products to regular customers, incentives through displays and free gifts at trade shows.

At the same time that Creative Abundance was launched Nel felt to accompany a team from her church on a missionary trip to Cambodia where she would intercede for the team. Without the money to do this, she prayed for God to provide for the trip, which He did, of course. Funded by the financial success of Creative Abundance, Nel has now visited Cambodia 12 times on trips to intercede and provide for wells and water pumps in the villages. They also support Cambodian AIDS patients and their children. Creative Abundance also conducts sewing retreats in Australia where all of the money from product sales goes to a sewing program in Cambodia. This a great story of the building of a spiritual enterprise. Nel had spent most of her adult life as a mother and a foster mother. Jacques brought his considerable business experience and together they have built a wonderful enterprise. They had a desire to be more generous and God gave them an opportunity to be blessed and bless their customers, designers, staff as well as countless people in Cambodia.

 

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The Spiritual Enterprise Model – The Spirit’s Presence

There are two outcomes that are essential in building spiritual enterprises. Firstly, we are building a culture that reflects heaven’s priorities, which we covered in the last blog. The second essential outcome is that we experience the presence of the Spirit. These two outcomes are reflections of the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.

There are different ways to consider whether our organisation experiences the manifest presence of God. One way would be to consider what grace is on it. An evidence of grace is that the outcome is disproportionately higher than our efforts. A spiritual organisation doesn’t have to have grace for everything, but it should have grace for something. It might be for innovation or development of people or some other feature.

We can consider this in the light of First Corinthians chapter twelve (verses seven to ten) which outline nine spiritual gifts that are often grouped into three categories – knowledge gifts, power gifts and vocal gifts.

Knowledge gifts – Do you show foresight and courage in your decision making? Are you able to see through the clutter of information to know what is relevant? Is your organisation innovative?

Power gifts – Is your organisation resilient? Do your employees have low stress levels? Are you employees changed for the better through their work? Are your employees motivated? Does your organisation experience favour from customers and suppliers? Do people in your organisation have a positive mindset? Is there a sense of harmony in the organisation?

Vocal gifts – Is there clear communication in your organisation? Are your leaders inspirational? Is your marketing effective? Do employees understand your vision? Do they understand and live out your values?

All of these aspects can be built naturally, but the anointing or empowerment of the Holy Spirit brings a greater level of ability to these and many more areas.

As a priest to our workplace, we should attract and impart the anointing of the Spirit to our workplace. This is not about trying to make more money, but about making people’s lives better.

There are several keys to attracting the anointing that I cover in chapter nine my book “Understanding the anointing of the Holy Spirit” (Click here to access on Kindle). These include

  • Repentance
  • Fellowship with the Holy Spirit
  • Understanding plateaus
  • Asking
  • Obedience
  • Humility
  • Transference
  • Worship
  • Faith
  • Experience
  • Fasting
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The Spiritual Enterprise Model – The Spirit’s Culture

The Spiritual Enterprise Model is essentially about culture – The way we do things. It asks about our culture of development, evangelism and the other aspects of a spiritual enterprise that we have recently covered.

This dimension called “The Spirit’s culture” represents the degree to which we are operating in the “fruits” of the Spirit. The dimension of “The Spirit’s presence” which we will cover in the next post is the degree to which we are operating in the “gifts” of the Spirit. These two considerations are important so that we are building both a “Holy temple” as well a “Dwelling place for the Spirit” (from Ephesians 2).

2 Peter 1:5 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue”

This Scripture from second Peter (and the verses that follow) tell us that it is not enough just to have faith for what we are doing – we need to add other qualities to be successful. The first quality we need to add is “virtue”. This word “virtue” literally means “excellence” or “value”.

Having a “Spirit” or “heavenly” culture means that we focus on adding excellence or value to customers, employees, other stakeholders and the rest of the world. In practical terms it starts with ethics and financial transparency but it also includes broader issues of generosity and the quality of our work. One of the major aspects of the Spirit’s culture is the issue of flexibility.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The principle in the preceding Scripture is that we ought not to focus on rigidly applying rules to staff and customers, but we should always attempt to understand the reasons why the rules are there and make the rules serve the people. As Jesus said – “The Sabbath was made for men, not men for the Sabbath”

Here are some questions to ask ourselves.

  1. How are we adding value to customers, employees and the world at large?
  2. What does excellence look like for us?
  3. Are we setting and reaching goals?
  4. What evidence is there that I am showing the fruits of the Spirit at work?
  5. Are our rules and systems serving our people or vice versa?
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The Spiritual Enterprise Model – Team Climate

Team climate is the atmosphere or environment that a team provides for its team members. Research shows that working climate is a major driver in employee engagement, retention, job satisfaction and results. In essence, much of the contents of the letters to churches in the New Testament is about team climate. It is about how people should treat each other so that they can bring out the best in one another. Here are some thoughts about creating a positive climate

1. Provide clarity about the responsibility, authority, accountability as well as the value of each person’s contribution. Proverbs 29:18 (NASB) says “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint”. Clarity brings focus and motivation. Learn how to use a RACI Chart. Learn how to give effective praise.

 2. Set standards for performance. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (NLT) “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” Standards or goals help people to know when they have achieved and can be motivating of they are approached correctly. Learn how to set SMART goals.

3. Provide flexibility. Understand what flexibilities you can offer and use them as often as possible. Proverbs 18:15 (NLT) says “Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.”  Be flexible with work conditions, ways of doing tasks and encourage initiative and innovation. Do a SWOT analysis on your team.

4. Give rewards. Understand the people you work with well enough to know what rewards they value and link these rewards to performance.  1 Corinthians 3:8 says “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

5. Foster team commitment. Help your team members to have higher interdependence. Ephesians 4:16 says “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”. The team grows in love by supplying to one another, so learn how to help people collaborate.

christianmanagerThese management issues are covered in far greater depth in my book “The Christian Manager” available on Kindle.

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