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Insights from Interning (with Ben) July 28 2014

We recently caught up with Ben Goolsby, who interned at Work of Worth in the Spring of 2014, helped win 4th place in a business plan competition, has now graduated and currently works at Enterprise, and is part owner of WoW. Join us as he gives insight and inspiration about internships and his experience with WoW earlier this year.

Q: What interested you about Work of Worth?

A: Work of Worth interested me at first because it seemed like such a phenomenal way to help people. We constantly struggle to find sustainable ways to help and WoW is exactly that. Our calling as believers is to go out and help the orphans and widows. WoW helps people GIVE THEMSELVES the tools to survive and provide for their families. My passion in life is to serve people. Work of Worth's very foundation is serving people.  

Q: What was the most rewarding part of the internship?

A: Throughout the past semester, I have had the pleasure of watching the beginnings of a business start-up. Through all of the struggles, trials, and triumphs, one of the most rewarding parts has simply been being apart of the process. Working with Barry and Kristi has also been very rewarding. They are a perfect mixture of visionary and practicality, working to make WoW all that it can be. 
Q: What would be the top 1-2 things you learned about business from the internship with WoW?
A: The top two things I learned about business were and are: 1) Business principles can be used for more than crunching numbers and filling tax returns (though both of those are good things), they can help change the world. 2) Starting a business is hard and there are lots of variables involved. It is a complex process and finding the right people to help you is key. 
Q: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
A: I see myself working for Work of Worth. Quite simply, that is where I want to be. In whatever capacity there is need, I am willing fill it. I want to help people.. and the values and principles of Work of Worth are set up to do exactly that.
We are honored to have Ben (far right) as part of the Work of Worth team and as part owner.
What do you think the most valuable part of interning would be? Want to intern with us? Email us and let us know! 

Stay Tuned: Big News Coming to Work of Worth July 02 2014

You've asked and we are answering! We heard clearly that you wanted to make a difference in the world as a consumer. Fair trade and quality are critical to you, all while offering dignity to others.

You met the amazing students that worked tirelessly this spring assisting WoW and now we have some big news coming down the pike. Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you want to make a global or local difference. What are you up to? What are you passionate about? How do you see yourself changing generations for good? 

We are stronger together. Join in with a community of others like you, who want to be socially responsible, ethical consumers, and change agents. Join us in the story of freedom and dignity for generations to come.

Economic Expansion and Social Justice: Tooley and Novak weigh in March 28 2014

 On March 4, 2014, Op/Ed section published an address delivered by author, philosopher, and theologian Michael Novak at the Catholic University of America on January 14, on the first anniversary of the university’s School of Business and Economics.

Now there’s some controversial words in there, but whatever you think of Novak’s arguments of building businesses as a necessary bulwark against the leviathan of the state, there’s some incredibly important thoughts here, and its an important contribution to the ongoing and growing conversation about the role of Christians developing and utilizing small businesses and entrepreneurship in the fight against global poverty.

For example, Novak writes:

“There is a whole world of economic activity to be built. It is the role of entrepreneurs to bring to these vast possibilities down-to-earth imagination and practical experience in producing success. There are fortunes to be made in the poor regions of the world, whose worth can be used for ever more investment, donations to cultural institutions, and help for many different branches of civil society, including local groups.

Think what a great vocation it would be to place oneself in solidarity with the poor of the world by setting up networks of assistance to small business formations in this or that poor country or region, in order to help lift its peoples from unemployment and its resulting poverty. Such poor persons need small amounts of start-up money, technical and practical support, instruction in many bookkeeping or other business skills, and links to the wider world. What a great work a new generation of young Americans could produce, speeding up the move of the last billion human beings to break free from poverty.”

 President of the Institute on Religion & Democracy Mark Tooley weighed in on the blog Juicy Ecumenism  saying that:

 “Creating new businesses is a Christian moral imperative…. Only business can meaningfully alleviate poverty, fund charity, and sustain liberty. Why aren’t more Christians speaking of business and economic expansion as central to true social justice?”

And Christians are pursuing Christ-driven justice in this manner worldwide (and should more!) – starting bakeries and factories in the slums of India to employ women trapped in the sex trade, exporting goods and training disenfranchised women with solid business skills in East Africa. These are sustainable and holistically transformative solutions.

That said, human brokenness in business must be acknowledged just as much as brokenness of states. As much as, as Tooley and Novak argue, “business must stand as a bulwark against the leviathan of the state,” so a bulwark must also be erected against the leviathan of business and the yet fiercer leviathan of greed within the human heart. Free enterprise, rightly construed and executed in the manner spoken of by the authors, has enormous potential to break chains and lift individuals and community out of poverty, but the pursuit of wealth also has the potential to trample the weak and to be abused. Given the burden of history (particularly when we’re talking about Western economic interests in the developing world), perhaps Christians ought to be talking not only about increasing businesses and entrepreneurship, but also pursuing justice through checks and balances on freedom in supply chains, opting for fair trade (or beyond fair trade) and fair wage options, and redeeming businesses new and old.

Work as Worship March 21 2014

For those of you who like it short and sweet, here’s the breakdown: Work Matters.

In his book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church N.T. Wright writes:

“The point of the resurrection… is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die… What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it… What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God's future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God's kingdom.”

Back during my days at Covenant College this was drilled into our heads over and over again. “Calling” was the term that was thrown around - this divided into our “Big C” calling (believing and following our Creator) and our “little c” callings (our relationships, activities, passions and, yes, our work).

The divide between the sacred and the secular breaks down when we view our vocation thru the lens of the kingdom.  (I wrote more about the holistic redemption narrative a few months ago in a blogpost here:

Check out this video by RightNow Ministries: 


To pursue work that falls within our passions and is directed in a manner meant to build the kingdom and glorify our Maker is a solid, meaningful thing. That’s why it’s so cool to me when I see those who work towards providing others, particularly the oppressed or those who lack opportunity, with opportunities for meaningful work. Work can give dignity, power for the powerless, opportunity, joy, and the pride that comes with doing a job well. This can be truly transformative. If Christ-directed work can be a conduit for worship, then providing work for the impoverished or oppressed can be a work of worship in and of itself, perhaps even exponentially so.

Organizations like Freeset and Sari Bari that provide jobs for women coming out of sex trafficking, or the efforts of my own little team in India, working to start a café and bakery for the same purpose, have the potential to transform people and places both in physical circumstances and in hearts. When organizations like Work of Worth are able to import and sell products made by entrepreneurs across the globe – the capital of those profits can be used to grow those little companies, providing more jobs with fair wages and opportunities around the world. Work, worship, and justice, are quite often intertwined. 


Featured in NetWork Magazine February 18 2014

Check out this excellent article, originally published in the Fall 2012 issue of Network Magazine

The author does a good job outlining the benefits and opportunity derived from using business as an opportunity for sustainable development, encouraging fair trade and business practices, and for developing relationships. Particularly interesting is the dialogue about the intersection of business as mission.

Pursuing business is not, as one might think, necessarily antithetical to working out one’s faith in action in the pursuit of justice and the alleviation of poverty. Commerce, as with all good things, has the potential to be used for evil: greed, corruption, exploitation. But a redeemed and intentional use of commerce, guided by a Christ-centered framework, has enormous potential for good, transformative change.