Open To Question: What’s The Wisest Investment?

In search of security and stability.
As the world comes to terms with the impact of covid-19 understandably people are concerned about finding security and stability whether it’s health, employment or long term financial plans. Perhaps we are more aware than ever before of the fragility and uncertainty of life.

So in a world of uncertainty what is the wisest investment we could make?

In this informal and thought-provoking Open To Question event Simon Pilcher (CEO USS Investment Management Ltd) shared his insights and wisdom gained from his 30 years of business experience in the financial investment sector and how his faith in Jesus Christ remains the unshakable foundation of his life.

M2B’s Open To Question events are especially geared to friends who are sceptical about the claims of Christianity and have honest questions about Jesus Christ – his identity purpose and relevance for us today.

The interview and talk are available to watch here:

About The Speaker:
In October 2019 Simon became the Chief Executive of USS Investment Management. The Universities Superannuation Scheme – the UK’s largest private pension scheme by way of assets. Simon is responsible for overseeing the investment strategy governing the scheme’s £64 billion in assets. When he’s not managing the long-term financial security of over 400,000 members, he enjoys growing vegetables and competing in triathlons. He’s married to Rachel and has 5 children.

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Film Edited by: Ben Horrigan studio91media.co.uk

Spotlight: Mike Lehan

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of the bigger story that God is telling.

 

Introducing:  Mike Lehan CTO at StuRents.com & Founder of Ground Control Skydiving 
Mike is a systems engineer & technical manager; specialising in web applications, with over 10 years’ experience in full stack development and infrastructure. At StuRents he manages the tech infrastructure and is building a team of skilled engineers to ensure the business continues to grow. Mike and his family are active members of Redeemer Church in Chorlton.

 


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You can connect with Mike via LinkedIn

Film Edited by: Ben Horrigan studio91media.co.uk

Spotlight: Faye Briffa

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of the bigger story that God is telling.

 

Introducing:  Faye Briffa Founder Ashfield HR 
Faye is an experienced senior Human Resources consultant with 20 years experience with AstraZeneca. At the start of 2020 she set up her own consultancy to provide personal and tailored HR support and advice suitable for small businesses, freelancers and charities.  Faye and her family are active members of St Martin’s Church in Heaton Norris.

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why did you get into the human resources sector?
I studied Sociology at University and always had a vague sense that Human Resources might be something for me. After uni, I faffed around for a couple of years, drifting through admin and temp roles. I then got a call from a temp agency to say that there was a six-month contract at AstraZeneca just outside Alderley Edge. At the time, I was just about to move to London, so I didn’t jump at the chance, however it was in HR so I reluctantly went for the interview and was offered the job. That was in 2000 and I remained at AZ for almost 20 years doing a variety of different roles, always in HR. When I look back on my time at AZ, and how I came to be there, I can really see God’s hand in the way my career has unfolded, in ways that I never thought it would. It kept me up North and provided me so much varied experience globally. I had the chance to fully immerse myself in all the key HR disciplines and experience lots of different HR challenges.
I loved working for AZ, however in 2018, I was told that my role was moving to Cambridge and we were offered relocation. We decided as a family it wasn’t right for us to move, and so in 2019, I took redundancy. I’ve always wanted to see if I could set up an HR Consultancy and so at the beginning of this year Ashfield HR was born…

2. So tell us what have been some of the encouragements and challenges you’ve faced as you’ve established your own company?
It’s quite daunting setting out on your own, especially when you’ve been used to a nice big corporate comfort blanket wrapped around you! I’m really grateful for early clients, and me having the chance to prove to them (and myself!) that they have made a good choice in working with me. This has been a real encouragement to me.
I guess in terms of challenges, there is one very big one that we are all currently struggling with, COVID-19. Starting a business at the beginning of this year was possibly the worst time to do so, and being so new, I obviously won’t get any financial support from the Government. That said, there have already been some HR opportunities coming along as I support small businesses through furlough, and potential redundancies discussions. When I went into this, I saw this as a 2-3 year business build phase and I have to keep reminding myself I’m only in month 4!

3What do you hope Ashfield HR will be able to offer a client that’s distinctive from other services?
My target client base is primarily small businesses who don’t have any in-house HR.  I’m aware there are a lot of offerings for this out there, many of which are very generic.  My aim is to offer a more personalised outsourced HR.  I’ve really taken the time to understand my current client’s businesses, understand their goals and strategy and then apply HR and what I offer into their own specific setting.  They often want very different things from their HR support and that’s great for me.  I’ve recently helped one client with setting up a streamlined performance management process and will hopefully provide some training to their line managers later in the year.  I’ve spent some time reviewing and recommending an HR system for another client, and for another, I’ve helped them with policies and their employee handbook.  It’s all very varied but tailored to what the clients needs at that point.

4. What has been a key lesson you’ve learned, or best bit of advice you’ve been given, and applied in your work? 

There are so many lessons I’ve learned over the years.  One that’s stayed with me and is all the more important to me now setting up a business is resilience.  For me, personal resilience is going to be the thing that really will shape how much of a success I make of Ashfield HR.  There will undoubtedly be knock-backs and bumps along the road, and I need to be able to pick myself up, put it behind me and move on.  Related to that, I’ve always found it helpful to remind myself that my work does not define who I am – that God doesn’t look at me in relation to my work status, how senior I am, how successful my business is etc. and there is something very freeing about that.

5. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work – where have you seen God at work through your work?
I’ve seen God at work through my work so much. As I said earlier, when I look back over my career and more recently through the set up of Ashfield HR, there has been a number of times that I’ve literally been blown away by God’s hand and direction on my life. The most striking of these was probably back in November time last year. I was having a bit of a wobble about whether I should do the business and was contemplating whether to just go and get a job. I prayed that morning that God would show me what to do. I got a text that afternoon out of the blue from a friend saying ‘I don’t know what you’re doing with yourself at the moment, but I think you’ve left AZ and I was wondering if you wanted to do some consultancy for our new business set up.’ They were my first client.

6. What does a ‘job well done’ look like for you?
It’s always been very important to me to work in a way that honours God and so for me a job well done looks like getting the right result for the client, but also treating people well, with respect, dignity, being honest, and generally acting with integrity that brings glory to God in the workplace. I appreciate that in order to achieve both, I may have to be selective in the clients I work with, and this may impact the profitability of the business, but I’m ok with that.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island…and you could have one luxury what would it be?

I’m quite ashamed to admit this, but it would be chocolate. I think I can get through most things with some of that around!

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You can connect with Faye direct: Faye.Briffa@ashfieldhr.co.uk or via LinkedIn
Image Credits:
Speed Bump Sign Photo by Makarios Tang on Unsplash
Chocolate Photo by Simone van der Koelen on Unsplash

Spotlight: Chris Air

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of the bigger story that God is telling.
(NB: This interview was prepared before the covid-19 pandemic)

Introducing:  Chris Air Senior Associate at DAC Beachcroft
Chris specialises in non-contentious technology projects, commercial contracts and advising on data protection compliance. He has over 5 years’ experience in advising clients across a range of sectors including health, financial services, retail and manufacturing.  He is part of Vinelife Church Manchester.

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why did you get into the legal sector? 
After doing a chemistry degree between 2000-2003, I subsequently joined the military and served as a royal marines officer between 2004 -2010. As I was preparing to leave the military I spoke with various friends about career options and eventually decided that I would requalify as a solicitor. This involved me going back to study full time for 2 years, and I did the law conversion course and solicitor’s legal practice course at the college of law in Manchester. I qualified in 2014 and felt that my strengths and interests lay in working with businesses so although I trained with a high street firm (Fiona Bruce LLP in Warrington) I subsequently joined DAC Beachcroft in September 2014 and have been there ever since. I specialise in commercial contracts, technology and privacy work and enjoy the fairly broad range of work which this entails. Culturally, DACB is also a great place to work.  

2. What have been some of the significant encouragements in your work over the last year?
I was promoted in April 2019 after going through the promotion process at my firm – involving submission of a business case and interview process. I was really encouraged that the firm had acknowledged my hard work and commitment and was willing to invest in me. My wife and I had also had our first child a month earlier, so it was a time of real blessing.

3. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work – where have you seen God at work in your work?
God has opened doors for me, is a rock of faithfulness and has always taken care of me in terms of provision and protection. In my current role, I have a strong sense that He is in ultimate control, and that He will provide work even when there is uncertainty with the economy or in particular sectors or where there are factors which are outside of our control. This has given me a sense of peace regarding my work.

4. What has been a key lesson you’ve learned, or best bit of advice you’ve been given, and applied in your work?
A wise old friend told me that in terms of people, strength can exist in many forms, not just physically – and people who appear strong and tough on the outside can actually be very weak in other ways, and vice versa.  It has helped me to appreciate the depth of people (or lack of) and to look beneath the surface.

5. What tools have you found helpful to keep growing in your faith especially in the context of weekly work?Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island and could have one luxury what would it be?
I listen to podcasts from Tim Keller, on the train once or twice a week – his ministry is very much aimed at people who work and live in a major city (he is based in NYC), and the cultural challenges they face, like idolatry. I find it inspirational and it helps me to maintain a bigger focus on the most important thing in life i.e. Jesus.

6. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could have one luxury what would it be?
Toothbrush. I can’t bear not having clean teeth.

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You can connect with Chris via DAC Beachcroft
Image Credits:
Light Bulb Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash
Toothbrush Photo by Henrik Lagercrantz on Unsplash

 

M2B News: Staying Connected

STAYING CONNECTED

As we enter week two of the nation wide shutdown I hope you are well and adapting as best as possible to the new challenges as together we do all we can to end the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Below are just a few updates that I hope will encourage you as you navigate your business priorities over the next few weeks.

Help for Business

The government’s dedicated website to help business access the right support and advice HERE. The website for the British Business Bank who operates the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is HERE.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has various support resources on their website. Here’s a helpful article they’ve produced:  ‘Simple Ways To Stay Productive Working From Home’.

Pro-Manchester, the largest business development organisation in the North West, also has a range of support resources and events which are now being hosted as webinars. Their article looking at online covid-19 scams is worth reading.

On a personal note – I’m here to help you. Obviously, I’m not a business owner, management consultant, investment expert, HR executive or strategic coach. But as a business vicar what I can offer is relational support – a confidential listening ear, a chat that’s off the record where you set the agenda. No judgments, no clock watching, no targets – just pastoral care that helps you grow. Feel free to email me to arrange a time to chat.

Thought Fuel

If you follow TED talks then you’ll know that talks on pandemics and viruses are attracting millions of views. Here are two that might be of interest:
David Heymann: “What we do (and don’t) know about the coronavirus”. He is a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He led the World Health Organization’s global response to the SARS epidemic in 2003.

Alanna Shaikh: “Why COVID-19 is hitting us now — and how to prepare for the next outbreak”. Alanna is a global health consultant who specializes in strengthening health systems.

In his latest Thought Economics interview, Vikas Shah speaks to five of the world’s foremost experts exploring the science and impact of viral outbreaks and pandemics.  The interviewees include Professor John Oxford (The UK’s top expert on influenza and Emeritus Professor of Virology at the University of London), Prof. Christian Bréchot (Professor at the University of South Florida and President of the Global Virus Network).

Chris Maguire, Editor of Business Cloud and founder of iMeg Partnership, in his inimitable style has written a funny and insightful article helping people understand the world of Zoom: “A beginners guide to Zoom (from a total virgin).”
If you like Seth Godin this short blog explores his unique perspective on the future of online interactions.

Finally, if you’re interested in something a bit different from a renown Christian pastor and author, you could try this talk by Rev. Dr. Tim Keller “A Biblical Perspective On Risk” Redeemer Church New York, which Keller established, has had a global impact especially in the area of integrating faith and work. This talk explores a distinctively Christian view of entrepreneurship and risk.

Stay Connected

The events we had planned for May and June has been postponed, and whilst meeting in person isn’t possible, we are planning to move interviews and panel events to online forums. You are welcome to join in with these upcoming meet ups on Zoom:
Change Makers. Thursday 2nd April 1.00pm – 1.45pm
An opportunity to pray for each other and our workplaces.
Join on Zoom. Meeting ID 847-807-555

Business Life Group. Friday 3rd April, 8.00am – 8.45am.
We’re continuing our bible study using Antony Billington’s resource: Exodus – Freedom To Serve God
Join on Zoom. Meeting ID 594-417-814

“Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.”
St. Paul to the Philippian Church, circa 62 AD.

Spinningfields Photo by Pete Horlock
Coffee Drinkers Photo by
 Joshua Ness on Unsplash

New Horizons For Croftons LLP

Croftons commercial real estate law firm in Manchester which was founded in the 1840s and advises more than 50 housing associations, has been acquired by Knights Plc.

In the deal with means that the listed firm, registered in Newcastle-under-Lyme, has taken the entire issued share capital of Simon Leighton Ltd, Arthur Chapman Ltd and Bob Adnew Ltd, the corporate shareholders of Croftons Solicitors. The Manchester law firm had achieved a revenue of £2.8m with a corporatised pre-tax profit margin of about 15 per cent in the year to 31 March 2019

Knights has said that following integration and “including the delivery of cost synergies”, the board expects Croftons’ pre-tax profit margin to rise to 20 per cent in the first full financial year after the acquisition. Chief executive David Beech said:
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Croftons (3rd Feb). The team is well regarded in the housing association sector, which typically brings recurring revenues from this highly defensive segment of the market. We previously set out a strong intent to expand in Manchester with our move to larger, modern premises in 2019 and look forward to welcoming Croftons to our growing team there.”

Simon Leighton, Croftons managing partner, added:
“We are excited to join Knights, a firm we see as a good home for Croftons in terms of culture and ambition. We bring particular expertise in the housing association sector and look forward to continuing to achieve our growth plans as part of a well-established and ambitious team.”

Simon serves as a Ministry 2 Business trustee and we send him and the team at Croftons our congratulations and best wishes on this new opportunity for the firm.

Original article and photo by: Jon Robinson Senior Digital Staff Writer, Insider Media Limited.
Read the article here

 

Bumper Numbers Of Students Join KPMG

Across September and October KPMG is set to welcome more than 200 graduates and apprentices across the business, including its advisory, audit, pensions and tax practices throughout region.

The firm now employs more than 2,600 people in the region across its offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.

The new student cohort also includes apprentices joining one of the firm’s five apprentice programmes: KPMG360°, KPMG360° Digital, KPMG360° Business Services, Audit Apprenticeship and Software Engineering.

Christine Hewson, Northern chair at KPMG, said:
“We run excellent graduate and apprenticeship programmes that enable us to take on an incredibly diverse range of people and prepare them for careers right across our business.
The breadth, range and type of roles on offer is a world away from what was available when I first joined the firm 30 years ago.
The programmes now reflect the enormous impact of technology, emerging challenges and the rapidly-changing needs of modern businesses, but also the strength and scale of professional services in the North. The search for the brightest minds continues as we launch our 2020 programmes and build a team that can make a real difference. We want to hear from people of all backgrounds who are curious and take an innovative approach to solving problems.”

Original article written by Neil Hodgson for The Business Desk
Read the full article here >>

Spotlight: Suzanne Kelly “Financial Crime Protection”

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of the bigger story that God is telling. 


Introducing:  Suzanne Kelly Implementation Manager at Handelsbanken
Suzanne currently works on the AML Programme for Handelsbanken at their head office in Manchester. As an Implementation Manager her priority is to ensure businesses are ready for the changes being delivered by the programme.  She has been a long term supporter of Ministry2Businessand is part of Life Church Manchester.

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why did you get into project management?
Since 2006, I have been working as a contract project manager with large companies in the financial services sector in North West. I went into the line of work when my company relocated from Manchester to Liverpool. There was an opportunity to take voluntary redundancy after working for over 20 years as an Accountant, a Direct Marketing Manager and as a Marketing lead in an integration programme with Littlewoods Shopdirect.

 

2. What have been some of the significant encouragements in your work over the last year?
I thought my first contract was always going to be the most difficult one to get and in some ways it was (it took 3 months) however, the reality was too good to be true I could only believe it was a God given opportunity. My first contract was at a contact centre in Widnes where I had worked in my Shopdirect days which had been part of a pre-merger sale to Littlewoods. Surprisingly, the contract did not come through my contacts but happened in such a random way it triggered my journey of faith with regard to God’s provision for my work. This experience confirmed to me our work matters to God as He takes care to place us where we can flourish. 

I’ve seen God’s careful provision again over this last year where I have been under contract at Handelsbanken in Manchester. Specifically I’m working with the Financial Crime Prevention team and this contract will continue for a further 6 months. During my time at Handelsbanken I have been able to bring my change management experience to the AML Programme to help support our UK branches to implement new systems and controls for financial crime prevention.

3. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work – where have you seen God at work in your work?
My Christian faith is a key part of who I am and how I go about all aspects of my life. God has been at work placing me locally in Manchester and allowing me to grow into roles enabling me to build on skills gained in previous roles. He has provided contracts at the right time and also contract gaps at the right time.  There were times when I was between contracts which meant I could support friends and family during periods of illness. Working in Manchester also meant I can be involved serving as part of the Ministry2Business team equipping me to fulfill my potential at work as well as understanding God’s plan for my work. I have discovered that God is interested in our whole life and not just where we spend our Sundays. He wants us to flourish and grow in all we do and when we bring him into our daily work lives then we bring in opportunities for Him to work in us and through us whilst we go about our work.
 
In particular, I found the LICC ‘Transforming Work’ course run by M2B in 2017 a valuable discipleship resource growing Christians to be a positive gospel influence in business.  This helped me understand that our workplace offers opportunities to develop relationships with people so that they may meet Jesus.  It was a great encouragement to join with other Christians working in Manchester and learn from each other about what it means to be a blessing to other people especially as we go about our work. The amazing reality is we go into every working day secure in His love and empowered with His Spirit. 

4. Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island and could have one luxury what would it be?
It would have to be music. I cannot imagine my life without the joy of listening to, and singing along with music tracks. However, I realise that on a desert island I wouldn’t have any electricity, so I would have to learn to play the guitar again (I had music lessons as a child) and that means I could make my own music. My luxury would have to be a guitar. (Note to self: start relearning guitar as you never know when you might be are stranded without power!)

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You can connect with Suzanne on LinkedIn
Image Credits:
Light Bulb Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash
Guitar On Beach Photo by Ibrahim Rifath at Unsplash 

 

Spotlight: Hannah Child “It’s a great privilege to be working in law”

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of the bigger story that God is telling. 


Introducing:  Hannah Child – Trainee Solicitor & M2B Trustee
Hannah has worked in Manchester with DWF since November 2014. She is the youngest trustee at Ministry2Business joining the team in 2017 and is part of Christ Central Church (Newfrontiers Family of Churches).

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why did you get into the legal sector? 
I enjoyed talking, new ideas and problem solving from a young age and it was therefore a natural choice to study Philosophy and Theology at University. It was here, through an essay, that I actually became a Christian and my enjoyment for argument, justice and business grew.
After my degree I did some work experience within a law firm which resulted in a job in their risk management team. I absolutely loved it and was very lucky to be encouraged by the Directors to get involved with the business operations.
During that time God was teaching me that business and in particular commercial law, had a significant part to play in his kingdom. As I read the bible I saw more examples of businessmen and women being used by God. Whilst, working for church and charities is essential and to be celebrated, God was showing me that equally, secular work was a place he wanted his children to be especially as influencers and leaders.
This role led me into my current firm where I felt God remind me of a dream I’d had as a child to become a lawyer. During one of the Transforming Work sessions M2B hosted in 2016 we shared what would we like to achieve in work by the end of the year.  I told the small group: “by the end of the year I will have a training contract at DWF”.  After applying for the training contract and with some further study I am now a Trainee Solicitor at DWF based in Manchester.
I love the way the legal profession can assist and support businesses. In particular I’m very passionate about helping clients bring change to their organisation. I believe God cares about business, and I see it as a great privilege to be working in law.

2. What have been some of the significant encouragements in your work over the last year?
An encouragement in work has been working with my current supervisor and team. I was so nervous about starting the training contract but the people around me have been very supportive as well as challenging me to grow and develop in my work.  
Another highlight was working on our International Women’s Day event. The event I was part of involved working with a group of year 7 school girls who visited our office to discuss the importance of IWD, we had some guest speakers from a variety of businesses and we encouraged them to think about what they were dreaming for!

3. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work – where have you seen God at work in your work?
My faith shapes my whole view of work, from simply motivating me in the mundane task of printing to the bigger moments of how I take criticisms and deal with disappointments. As a Christian, I know that I am a child of God, he has created me to work and I should work with the highest integrity. When someone constructively criticises me I can respond positively and learn from it because my hope and affirmation comes from Jesus Christ’s opinion of me, not the changing opinions of colleagues.  This security in my identity is something God has really grown in me through my experiences at work.

It also means that as I know God’s grace in my life I am aware that I will fail,  whether that’s in a task I am asked to do or through my response to a situation. In those moments I am drawn closer to Jesus –  that’s when I learn what it means to be humbly dependent on him.  

 *** Be faithful in the small things and the bigger things are more likely to be given to you.***

4. What’s a key lesson you’ve learned, or best bit of advice you’ve been given, and applied in your work?
The best advice I have had is to be faithful in the small things and the bigger things are more likely to be given to you. Whether that’s printing a Partners bundle right or managing the small finances you have as a start–up business.
Don’t be scared to apologise when you have made a mistake and then take responsibility for it. I know we instinctively want to protect ourselves, but when we take responsibility for our mistakes it’s counter-cultural in many work environments but it is super powerful.

5. What tools have you found helpful to keep growing in your faith especially in the context of weekly work?
For me its worship – I am loving the new album by Evan and Eris (Seasons) and Lauren Daigle. It keeps me focused on who I am working for and on days when it’s hard it reminds me who my Heavenly Father is. I have directly benefited from M2B through their meetings but also meeting with Pete Horlock to discuss work and my faith.
I have a prayer group and I’m an active member of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (LCF) which gives me space to explore my faith in the context of the legal field.

6. Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island and could have one luxury what would it be?
Something that I could play music from, maybe a phone or speaker (with a solar charger ha!). I love music and not sure I would be able to survive without it.

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You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn
Image Credits:
Light Bulb Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash
Work Women Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash
Transforming Work Logo by LICC
Evan & Eris Album on Website
Speaker Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

 

Spotlight: James Everall ‘The Job Search Entrepreneur’

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated especially when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of bigger story that God is telling. 


Introducing:  James Everall – Co-Founder Christian Jobs 
James, co-founded Christian Jobs with Robert Mumford and it launched in November 2018. James and his wife – Luciane are also planting a church in Wythenshawe, South Manchester as part of Christ Church Manchester (Newfrontiers Family of Churches)

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why did you get into your business? 
Like most people in our industry I stumbled into the world of recruitment, but quickly found that my life experiences, divinely inspired talents, passions and gifts landed well within the industry and that cocktail of gifting and blessing has allowed me to become moderately successful throughout my career.
Over a twelve year period I have been fortunate to serve within the athletic, education, healthcare and FMCG industries with the majority of that time primarily tuned into the food & beverage marketplace. In that period my experience has allowed me to directly support a wide range of organisations from local, family-owned enterprises to internationally based blue-chip multinationals with recruitment offerings including confidential head-hunting as well as RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) campaigns.
Throughout it all, I have worked hard to remain a faithful and confident witness to Jesus and wherever I have been based I intentionally sort out opportunities to proclaim the excellencies of God through both my working lifestyle as well as with my lips.
In early 2018 I responded to the call of God to become bi-vocational and began the process of establishing my own business as well as planting a church within the Wythenshawe area of South Manchester. In August 2018 Christian Jobs Ltd was formed and with the Lord’s blessing CCM: Wythenshawe will launch in September 2019.
At the time of writing, Christian Jobs Ltd has 6 employees dedicated to connecting Christians with Christian opportunities via our newly launched advertising and employment platform www.christianjobs.co.uk  and the church plant has seven families regularly gathering to build community together.

2. What have been some of the significant encouragements in your work over the last year?
Early on, something I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to be obedient towards was the location of our office facility. In order to love people I believe we have to get close to them and be in their world. I believe that proximity declares intentionality and so with that in mind we looked for a facility that would allow all that we believe as Christian workers to manifest itself before the eyes of the community I feel called to serve.
So, after a brief contract at a serviced office near the airport we found our office base right in the heart of the Wythenshawe community at the Enterprise Centre in Benchill. This facility is one that homes a number of small business operations and non-profit communities and it has been brilliant to regularly interact and dialogue with all the different types of people based here and not only show them that we’re competent at what we do, but that we do it from a love for Jesus who has transformed the way we both view and participate in work.
As I write this I’m reminded of something that happened just this morning. I had the personal joy of praying a prayer of healing over one of the occupants of another office. This is the first time I have been able to do this, and in such a public manner and we’re praying that we would become more obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to love those he has put in close proximity to our business in similar ways.

3. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work – where have you seen God at work in your work?
Every morning our entire team gathers for prayer as part of our morning meeting. We spend 30 minutes thinking, pondering and praising Jesus at the same time that we go through our tasks for the day. We view our actions in light of our prayers and tie the two together intentionally.
Often these meetings will be interrupted by a mail delivery or facility notification and this has led to some great times of questioning. We are not ashamed of who we are and who we belong too, and so it’s been a great joy to see our team confidently witnessing to the love of Jesus in their lives before those who are yet to know Him.
For me personally I regularly hear and remember the words of Christ in John 15:5 “without me you can do nothing”. This echoes throughout my day and reminds me of my utter dependence upon him. This means that whatever endeavour I am involved within I must sink it into prayer and not lean on my own understanding or abilities – tough for an A type character. By displaying this personally throughout my work day, I have seen our team pick up on this and so it has been wonderful to witness this discipline in action from within our team.
I am fortunate to work with a team that encourages each other through the highs and lows of the working day. In all of our interactions we get to see God loving and caring for us through us. It’s been incredible really, and a source of encouragement and growth for me as a leader to witness this so regularly played out by our team.

***
I regularly hear and remember the words of Christ in John 15:5
“without me you can do nothing”.
This echoes throughout my day and reminds me of my utter dependence upon him.
***

4. What’s a key lesson you’ve learned, or best bit of advice you’ve been given, and applied in your work?
To remember your why. I am a person of high capacity and spin a lot of plates so remembering what God has said to me is critical to keep me from becoming too distracted and unfocused.
I have read tons of leadership books and listen regularly to podcasts and speeches on this topic (Christian and non-Christian) but what has been invaluable to me is the understanding that as children of God we are a people of revelation, not vision. Vision is something man made, revelation is something received. Before any money was spent, before we designed any advertising or marketing collateral, before we hired anyone both myself and my business partner (Rob) sought God through prayer and fasting. More so than anything we want to be known as men that are obedient to the word of God. So we sought Him and waited until He spoke. Once received we have to be obedient. So we regularly come back to our why by asking ‘what has God said?’ or ‘does X strengthen or distract us from our why?’

5. Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island and could have one luxury what would it be?
I’m greedy so I have to say two things. Firstly, a football. I’m a Sheffield United fan (its my thorn in my side!) and a sports fan in general so having something to kick about would help distract me. Secondly, I would have a pot of Luciane’s home-cooked rice. She is from Brazil and cooks rice with onion and lots of garlic that is so incredible it doesn’t need anything else to accompany it!
It would probably last less than a day with my appetite, but would be worth it.

****

You can connect with James on LinkedIn Twitter
Christian Jobs Website and Twitter
Image Credits:
Light Bulb Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash
Pray Photo by Joshua Hanks on Unsplash
Football Photo by Nathan Rogers on Unsplash

 

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