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church based cooperative business

 

 

Church Based Cooperative Business – CBCB

 

 

Every movement requires a financial engine. A financial engine is simply a way to make income to support the groups activities. For some churches, the needs are small and the means are close at hand: i.e. donations. For other groups, the needs are great and donations cannot meet their requirements.  Additionally, the donation model restricts a churches income to what people have and are willing to give.

Recently, while in the Africa, God revealed the financial engine He wishes to use for the Tabernacle movement. The ramifications of this financial engine and its possibilities liberate God’s people from poverty are staggering.

 

Non-profit status can be a hinderance

 

To begin with, I believe that the non-profit model is a hindrance to true church growth.  Depending on donations hinders churches by putting them at the mercy of government authorities.  Though churches do not pay tax, in exchange they give their freedom away to act as God directs.

This donation model causes, in many cases, church poverty. Furthermore, ministries resort to pleasing their people so as to induce them to give. Some “seed of faith” ministries essentially sell the promise favor with God for offerings.  We, at the Final Feast believes there is a better way.  Our goal is to develop a well-funded ministry where both leaders and members prosper.

 

CBCB – The church based cooperative business model

 

Essentially, we propose to form church based cooperative business ventures in our churches. These cooperatives exploit price differences between geographic locations. For example, the price of fish might be 100 shillings per kilo at Lake Victoria while it is being sold at 250 shillings per kilo in the city. Between the lake and the city exists a possible 150 shillings per kilo profit . It is that geographic profit margin that church based cooperative business targets.

Members of our churches are already geographically positioned to both buy and sell many products. For instance, those at the lake can buy directly from the lake. Those in the city can sell directly to the public. By cutting out middlemen we can offer a competitive price to suppliers while selling at a competitive price directly to the public. If we form cooperatives within our churches our people profit and prosper.

 

Trust goes a long way in church based cooperative business

 

Our cooperative members operate on the “trust principle“.  The trust principle means that we do business with integrity. Business, in the normal world, is a “dog eat dog” competition. However, within our cooperatives, we operate differently by “loving our brothers as ourselves”.  We create win-win scenarios in our business ventures. Working honestly with each other, we all benefit.

Those who buy from the source will deal directly with those who sell to the public. By cutting out the middle men, our church members reap the full benefit of these transactions.  As church members receive blessings they, in turn, fund the ministry.  A mandatory 10% of the profit goes to the ministry.

 

Start small and build from there

 

Cooperatives, in the beginning, will be small, perhaps no more than 20 people per group.  These groups are organized around whatever products can be purchased or sold by that group. We create groups from church members who agree to abide by the  “Trust Principle”.

Founding group member may sponsor apprentices. Candidates for apprenticeship must serve as novices for one year.  An apprentice must show themselves trust worthy, industrious, and teachable.  Novices must prove they add some benefit to the group through their unique talents. Group members cast a vote each year determining which novices will be apprenticed. If candidates are admitted then they will be taught they business of the group.

 

Careful whom you sponsor

 

Sponsors are responsible to train apprentices in whatever business they do. If the sponsor buys and sells fish the apprentice learns that trade. Apprentices always support and help those who sponsor them.

Sponsors may only have one apprentice at a time.  Sponsors are responsible for the behavior and integrity of their apprentices. Failure of their apprentices to deal honestly or work satisfactorily will result in disciplinary action.  Apprentices who commit excessive failures may be dismissed from the group.

 

In case of fire, use fire walls

 

We follow the “Separation of Business” principle.  Meaning, we will allow only a few, highly trusted people, to have access to the whole cooperative network. Those at the lake will not share sources or practices with those who sell in the city. Those in the city will not share sources or practices with those of the lake. Breaking this rule may result in immediate suspension.

 

Keep it secret, keep it safe

 

People must keep information about our  practices and sources private.  In order to protect our business advantage we keep trade methods secret.  We do business only for the benefit of those within our group. People who do not keep the confidence of the group risk dismissal from the cooperative.

 

More than enough is a good testimony

 

It is simply in everyone’s best interest for each of us to deal fairly and trust-worthily with each other. As God blesses members our churches prosper.  Through church based business there is more than enough to maintain ministries God mandates. Ministers can devote themselves to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ because there is enough money to support them. Churches maintain and expand with sufficient funds through increased tithing by wealthy members.

 

A financial engine that keeps on giving

 

Opportunities for new business expand as our churches expand into new places. Eventually, even international trade between church groups is possible. International trade helps us bring our message to diverse areas of the world. Being economically strong, wherever we are, helps us accomplish God’s will.  Church based cooperative business helps young people find a way forward by working with successful mentors. Our youths benefit from the spiritual maturity of those who teach them the trade.  Members learn to support themselves and their families, strengthening our churches as a whole. These types of cooperatives work anywhere and will give opportunities to everyone.

 

There are lots of commodities to choose from

 

In conclusion, I use selling fish as an example, but this concept works with any commodity where there exists geographic price differences.  Fish, grains, soap, tractors, cars, building materials, engines, spare parts etc. are all candidates for this type of business venture.  Greater geographic difference, creates the potential for more profit because you eliminate more middlemen.

Finally, this brief sketch outlining church based cooperative business shows us the way forward. Church based cooperative business may be used to power the Tabernacle movement anywhere in the world. We have much to do, much to be talk about, and even more to create. However, church based cooperate businesses is a powerful way forward for everyone.
 
 

 

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