The early bird gets the worm, and four Fridays a year, early birds in Minneapolis come to the Christian Business Breakfast (CBB) for a delicious hot breakfast and wisdom from speakers in the trenches where faith and business intersect.
According to Chris Fleck, director of business relations and a member of the first CBB planning team, the event debuted October 16, 2013, with 39 attendees and one keynote speaker, who challenged the group to be “sold out for Christ in our lives, in our businesses, and in our communities.”
With a mission to connect, encourage, and equip Christian business people in the marketplace, the CBB has since grown to feature four speakers and an average audience of close to 100 people.
Bill Tibbetts, MBA, director of the School of Business, shared why the CBB mission is important: “The vast majority of the church body works in non-faith-based organizations, yet we tend to fall short in speaking to the unrivaled challenges they face. The CBB wants to play a small role in infusing truth, hope, and encouragement for those in the marketplace.”
Short, sweet, and high impact
Creating an event that is relevant and accessible to people who need to get to work that day has always been the goal. Strategically moving from a one-speaker, keynote-style format to a fast-paced session with multiple speakers allows everyone to receive value—even if job demands mean they can’t stay for the whole session.
The idea is simple: bring in four speakers to share a 12-minute “TED Talk” style presentation on relevant and contemporary business and leadership topics, along with what God’s Word says about it.
NCU alumnus and entrepreneur Bill Svoboda ’06, has been part of the event from the start and still serves on the planning committee. He noted that CBB speakers do not have to be well known or have passed any particular litmus test of success. “We look for speakers that can share a very unique perspective on a topic with some life-experience behind it that others might have never experienced,” Svoboda said. “Their stories are their greatest tool, so we encourage them to base their talk on a unique story and take-away that shows how their faith in God and relationship with Jesus form their decisions.”
The volunteer speakers often gain the most from speaking at a CBB event. The task of honing a message to 12 minutes challenges each speaker to focus on the essential elements of the topic given for the that quarter’s event. Svoboda noted, “It means a lot to someone to know their story—whether it’s about their trials and hardships or their successes—matters and can impact others.”
North Central students also benefit from the events as they serve as greeters and hosts. Connecting with attendees who include business executives, entrepreneurs, and others representing a wide range of industries helps students develop professional networking skills. The CBB is open to the public and each session brings to campus alumni in business and others previously unfamiliar with the university.
Redeeming the workplace
John Stanton, development director for co-sponsor Maranatha Christian Academy, appreciates the value the CBB offers their families and alumni, but it’s more than that. “The MCA/NCU partnership in the CBB goes beyond creating an opportunity for alumni and our parents to network, be inspired, and get equipped,” Stanton said. “It’s more of a larger movement. We feel being a part of the Christian Business Breakfast is about redeeming the workplace.”
Tibbetts agrees with Stanton about the CBB’s greater purpose. “The CBB’s goal is to remind Christian’s in the marketplace that their work matters to God,” Tibbetts said. “Many of us have a broken theology and believe that my job’s primary role in the kingdom is to provide money for the church or missionaries; that’s only a component of it. Or, my role is to win my lost coworkers. Both are true, but there is more. Work itself is God-honoring. Labor and stewarding his creation—money, people, products, etc.—is God-honoring. Scripture tells us that ALL was created for Him and by Him. Therefore, what you do for 40 hours a week at work matters to Him.”
Upcoming CBB events
The next Christian Business Breakfast takes place September 15 from 7–8:30 a.m. at North Central University in the Anderson Chapel in the Trask Word and Worship Center. Tickets ($10) can be purchased online via EventBrite or at the door.
Additional 2017–18 CBB events will be held on the following dates:
- December 1, 2017
- April 13, 2018
- July 13, 2018
To get on the CBB mailing list, send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.