News | A Seed Is Born: Building Community Through Business

You will spend about 99,000 hours of your life at work. Considering that for about 134,000 hours over the same period you’ll be asleep, time focussed on your job will quite literally account for most of your conscious time on earth.

Work is such a huge part of our lives, yet we tend to pay little attention to how our faith and community life intersect with our jobs.  This was the inspiration behind Seed Share – a new community initiative happening in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

Lisa Aspeling is a marketing and public relations practitioner who joined JoshGen Wynberg at the end of 2017.  After quitting the corporate world and taking a four-month sabbatical in the United Kingdom, she returned to Cape Town – determined to follow in her parents’ footsteps.

"I grew up watching both of my parents run their own businesses, so when I realised that the way the corporate machine worked didn’t make sense to me, and I’d gained enough marketplace experience, it felt very natural to start my own venture,” says Lisa.

Lisa became aware of how many people in her church community were self-employed and urgently needed more income to keep their businesses going and to continue supporting their families.

She adds, “Small businesses heavily rely on their first-degree connections and word of mouth marketing.  It suddenly occurred to me that I had pretty much no idea about my church community’s work lives.  I’d see them on Wednesdays and Sundays – and sometimes even more often – but we somehow never spoke too much about work.”

“Being faced with my own financial and faith challenges, and seeing others in similar positions, made me realise how practical it would be to connect people in my community to talk about our work and partnering with God, together,” she says.

Lisa first discussed the idea with some of her leaders, then she created a simple graphic event poster that could be easily shared on WhatsApp, making an announcement at a Sunday meeting a few weeks prior to the first meet up.

According to one of JoshGen Wynberg’s leaders, Stephen Fouche, “Seed Share was the perfect name for the gathering, because it captures two ideas: intentionally sowing into and investing in one another’s businesses and lives, which is really just another way of loving one another; and creating Kingdom-focussed mindsets where the Gospel infiltrates our day-to-day lifestyle.”

Even though they have only held two gatherings, there is a lot of excitement for the third.

“We started off pretty low key with a coffee shop meet-and-greet, but our second meeting was incredibly significant.  A Spirit-filled couple – who, although officially retired, consider themselves to be in full-time ministry – came to minister to the group and shared their testimonies of how God had used them in the workplace when they became Christians.  After about an hour-and-a-half of encouraging us and building our faith they prayed for and prophesied over almost everybody.  We all left really encouraged!” says Dylan Jones, another leader at the church.

“It’s amazing how just a small tweak of intentionally looking to partner with other professionals at church has made us so much more aware of potential collaborations and purposefully investing in our community,” says Robyn Munt, who works alongside her husband in their marketing business.

“As a result of the Seed Share initiative we have already started partnering with complementary businesses within JoshGen Wynberg and we’ve begun deliberately building strategic relationships, which we sense are going to bear a lot of fruit as well,” adds Robyn.

For their third session, Dylan is keen to gather the prophetic voices in the church to prophesy over each Seed Share participant and the company they work for.

“I love that Seed Share is not only building new relationships, but that it’s activating so many different parts of the Body of Christ.  We’ve developed a document that lists everyone’s skills and contact details to make the whole thing super practical, too.  I’m genuinely excited to see how our gatherings will continue to grow in the future,” he says.

How can you support and sow into your community’s businesses?  If you’d like to start a Seed Share gathering at your local church, speak to your elders about getting started.

Staff Writer

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