Thursday, September 9, 2010

South Africa- Marketplace Transformation by Robert Ricciardelli

Joyce and I would like to thank all of you who supported us on our trip to South Africa. We felt your prayers. We were in Johannesburg for nearly 3 weeks and spent a few purpose filled days in Cape Town. We went with a team of 10 from the USA and worked with teams from South Africa and Malaysia as we participated in what the Holy Spirit did in "Repurposing" lives and businesses into Kingdom reality and Kingdom purposes. We worked with the owners and key employees of 11 Johannesburg businesses. These owners gave us two weeks of allowing the Holy Spirit to "Equip" them into their marketplace destinies for Christ.

The context of these exercises provided tools that the Holy Spirit used to expose, heal, deliver, and shift lives, families, communities, into divine Kingdom impact. It was an honor to watch the Lord in many marketplace miracles that will have a ripple effect in the lives of thousands of people in the days ahead. These are the main areas of focus we worked on, but as you can imagine, when basked in prayer and the anointing of the Holy Spirit; many personal detours had to happen before we could even attempt to walk through some of these focused areas.
The purpose of an organization radically affects the ability of that organization to have an Impact. By having a clearly stated business purpose that is consistent with God's purpose will lead to increased impact.
Customers get to know our business through the Products and Services that we provide to them. Products create the "touch, see, and smell" factors that make an organization come alive. For non-profits and service organizations, products often take the form of programs.
God has positioned us in a new place - we are moved from darkness to light, from slaves to sons and daughters, from people without hope to those with an eternal hope. Our businesses should be positioned consistent with our eternal positioning and the high calling of our business. Establishing a clear positioning of both organization and products is essential. The value proposition of the organization and what differentiates it from others is essential to creating Impact.
Traditionally, marketing is intended to make consumers aware of their needs, and how particular products can fill those needs. Marketing creates presence-a mind-set for the product or organization-and it builds a story and experience that goes beyond the simple consumption of the product. When customers understand the story behind your products, they carry the full Impact that you intend. Kingdom marketing is a two-way street, making people experience some of God's presence through the goods and services provided.
There are many benefits of partnering. Attempts at partnering have not occurred out of mutual admiration and togetherness. It has been demanded by customers and made a condition of business that suppliers cooperate. Why? Because they know that no one company can do everything well. Partnering creates better Impact for organizations and their customers alike. Biblical partnering happens so that God can receive more glory as you meet a greater set of needs, for His sake.
The economic model of an organization is clearly essential. Transitioning profit from an accounting tool to a strategic weapon is the habit of champions. Sustainable Impact is best achieved in concert with sustainable economics. A business can have kingdom impact without profits… but not for long.
Processes are what make the organization work. Core business processes are all the work-steps, tasks, actions, etc. that makes things happen. They can either be handled just efficiently, or they can be deliberately directed towards the creation of Impact. Decision-making is an important aspect of business processes. With the ever-increasing information component of products, the location, speed, and quality of decision-making processes are influencing customers' perceptions of value. Hearing God is part of the decision process. God does not want us to be legalistic, but he does want our business processes to be fair, consistent, and glorifying to him.
Many companies say "our people are our most important asset." This taps into a Biblical truth that God's business is a people business. When people-including the way in which they are organized-are thoroughly aligned with the Purpose of the organization, Impact is heightened. When people are built up as they build the company, God is pleased.
Plans include strategic plans, marketing plans, sales plans, product plans, financial plans, human resource plans… and more. Appropriate planning is a crucial driver of Impact. Planning with God is even better. The old adage is true: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
A company's location, the environment/image of the facilities, the corporate identity that goes beyond buildings, proximity to customers, partners, and others in one's ecosystem…all of these can be used for Kingdom Impact. This is no less true for virtual organizations.
There can be different drivers of corporate impact that may need to be transformed, but the above are the areas we targeted. There were many other elements we needed to break through to get to these and one of them is the dualism that has seeped deeply into the church. Most are bound by the dichotomy of business and Christian life, compartmentalized, rather than converged. That which is perceived as spiritual & holy versus that which is perceived as natural and un-holy in the eyes of man. Only through revelation can we see that all of who we are, and all of what we do to the obedience of Christ is holy and it is ministry. So whether we are in a church setting behind a pulpit, or engaging in day to day business, if we are doing what Christ has asked of us, they are equally valued and equally ministry in the eyes of the Lord.

Once a believer realizes that all of His life, including business and family life is ministry, a greater degree of transformation can take place and marketplace impact for Jesus can be realized!

In just a few weeks, we witnessed incredible transformations of lives and businesses. Marriages healed, families healed, businesses turned upside down in divine shifts to the glory of God. It was not easy and I thank God for the preparation of prayer and onsite intercessory prayer that took place for these breakthroughs. It was not easy and the enemy was not pleased in our assignment. The consultants and clients spent 15 and 16 hour days in the transformational process. They gave of business and family time to bring their lives in alignment to the Word of God.

Marketplace Miracles
We are pleased to say that God came through big time in the lives of all who were involved. Both clients and consultants were eternally impacted and will never be the same. Here are a few of the many testimonies of God's grace and mercy in our lives.
Gary and Tim are partners in CSI, a manufacturing company to whom the Lord revealed this purpose in our time together. 

Purpose statement: To create and Manufacture products of high standards, modeling Kingdom values in the Marketplaceand to mentor people. Transformation through employment creation, technical skills transfer and servant leadership principles, resulting in a network of Kingdom based businesses and communities.

Jacques and Jessica were my South African teammates for this client. After wrestling with purpose, we then began to look at people in their business. One of the managers, Brett, after meeting with us as we went through a visioning process for his life, gave his heart to Jesus in a powerful and dramatic way to the glory of God. Another manager, Bridgette opened her heart up enough to let us pray for her and she desires to know more about Jesus. She will be in the Kingdom one day real soon.
Before we met Godfrey, it was told to us that he was the most important employee of the factory, that he could run the factory and that even Tim, the minority owner, recognized that Godfrey was in fact more important to the business then himself. After this affirmation of Godfrey, we also found out that he was a loyal employee of 15 years and had left his family in Zimbabwe to follow Gary and Tim to South Africa two years prior to form this new business. Godfrey is a black man who is very intelligent, but has not had the education that some of the recently hired white managers had. Godfrey was a foreman and because of mindsets formed, he would never get a chance to advance because of ethnicity and educational barriers. 
UPDATE- Since their company got transformed, they have more than tripled production with the same labor force. They went from $100,000 negative cash flow to about the same amount now in the positive. They have secured several more contracts, including one for $3 million. They developed another factory in Zambia. All this as they brought Kingdom alignment to their lives and businesses. They are funding Kingdom projects in their communities and beyond with their increased profits. They are working with other businesses to also pray towards community transformation. Their lives and businesses are set apart for God and His Kingdom.These are marketplace miracles to the glory of God. 

UPDATE- April 2010 They now have factories in Zambia and the DR-Congo. They have purchased a 15 acre factory and office complex in Johannesburg. They had grown in 3 years from 30 employees to over 120 employees. They have built a chapel on-site for prayer that seats over 100. They have expanded into manufacturing water purifications products, Swimming Pool Products, and Solar panels that were also used for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. God continues to bless them as they continue to pour out more resources into the Kingdom. I am proud of my South African family as they seek to hear the Father's voice in all that they are, and all that they do.
Here I am with CSI owners Tim (blue shirt), Gary (Orange) and South African Consultants Jacques & Jessica

Joyce worked with a client named Del that was very difficult. Because of her hurts in life, she did not initially desire to receive openly what the Lord had for her. The Lord through the persistency of Joyce and her South African consultant Jeff, along with several others broke through in a dynamic way just before the final day. Healing and deliverance through prayer and forgiveness and we look forward to what this will mean is this woman's life, family, and all that she touches for Christ. 

When we as a consultant team presented the fact that God does not put a ceiling on Godfrey's potential and neither should any man, it was obvious that change needed to take place. I thank God for the hearts of Gary and Tim, my new friends and family. Joyce and I love them and their families deeply in a quick work of the heart that only can be founded in Christ. They came to this venture humble and ready for Holy Spirit surgery to take place in their hearts and minds. 

When realizing the blind spot in their assessment of Godfrey, they tearfully repented and began to realize that Godfrey in fact was the most qualified candidate for management and mentoring in running a business. I can happily say to the glory of God, Godfrey this week, just received a promotion to factory manager and will be running a factory in Zimbabwe one day when the present dictator in that country is replaced as the Lord sees fit. In the mean time, wherever we go as Equip consultants, it is wonderful to know that there are local consultants to carry the work further and provide accountability for these businesses. 

There are far too many miracles and seeds of the Kingdom that were deposited in our time in South Africa. The 5 year plan is to see over 300 businesses transformed for Christ. The ripple effect of this cannot be measured, as city and region wide transformation will be furthered through empowered Kingdom people, presenting purpose and authority in Jesus to their spheres of society. Post-apartheid South Africa has a ways to go, but Christ desires to break through with His people. Legislation was needed and has had some positive impact, but in many ways has had an adverse effect on many people groups. As God's people rise up and the power of God comes over the land as the people cry out to Him, it will no longer need heavy legislation for moral operatives. As people's hearts change, they will then do the right thing in the site of God and man. We were blessed to be part of this and pray that the Lord will provide many opportunities to infuse His Kingdom globally. 

An ongoing marketplace miracle is taking place in the lives of a friend of ours named Strive and his company Econet Wireless. We finally were able to meet him, his wife Tsitsi and their beautiful family. The Lord has tremendous plans to glorify himself in their lives and those called to walk with them. We thank God for the team the Lord sent with us and for Brett and Lyn Johnson's obedience to provide a context for transformation in the business arena. Our lives will never be the same and our heart for the people of Africa cry out even more. The Lord has made it very clear to us that as He leads, we will be sowing into Africa in a greater way in the months to come. More info on REP…………

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