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Answering the Call: Ben Bell’s Passion for Serving Ministries

3 years ago By The Signatry

Prior to joining The Signatry, I was never in a full-time vocational ministry role, although I could consider full-time vocational ministry as “the family business.” My dad’s parents were medical missionaries in China, my dad was a pastor, one uncle was an evangelist, and another aunt and uncle were Korean missionaries. I have several cousins and second cousins who have founded and operate ministries on a full-time basis. Despite several opportunities over the years to move into a full-time vocational ministry role, usually as their COO or CFO, since that was my training and skillset, I never felt called to full-time ministry. I considered myself “in ministry,” but not in a vocational way. I knew my calling was in the secular business world as a Christian witness, and I have always thought being a Christian witness in the secular business world was and is a very noble calling. How were you introduced to The Signatry? In 2018, I got the call to full-time vocational ministry at The Signatry. It followed a long period of soul-searching, reaching out to friends, and seeking the Lord’s guidance before I had ever heard about The Signatry. This period of seeking the Lord extended through my discernment process. I was not seeking to leave the business world. In terms of analyzing the opportunity at The Signatry, I wondered whether I’d enjoy it and if I would be any good at it. It was entirely different from my daily routine, experience, and skillset, so naturally, I had questions. But then the Lord told me to join The Signatry in the clearest way possible – that is all I needed, and all my analysis stopped. I joined the team three weeks later.

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The Uncertain Future of Giving

4 years ago By Bill High

What do you think of the future of charitable giving? The July 2018 Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on the Giving USA annual report for 2017. There, they noted the rise to $410 billion of charitable giving. But their headline speaks of the doubt behind those numbers: Giving Grows for the Fourth Straight Year, but is the Future of Philanthropy Bright? While there is much to celebrate, the Chronicle notes: “…the data reveals some worrying trends.” The article itself didn’t go out of its way to point out those trends in a dramatic way. But here’s the point. Giving by individuals grew modestly. Giving by individuals grew just 3% and bequests by only 1%. To draw out the point, the decline in giving by the War Generations is a reality. At one point, those generations were the backbone of giving, and while the Boomer Generation appears to be following with a similar giving pattern, subsequent generations don’t seem to hold the same promise. The Millennials, for instance, are the least churched generation our country has had. Typically, church attendance is the biggest single predictor of giving. Many of these points were drawn out in Charity Shock: Ten Critical Trends Revolutionizing the Fundraising Industry (2018). Layer on tax law changes, economic and market uncertainty and global trade wars and the situation is ripe for a significant giving downturn. The Chronicle aptly notes: “Pursuing wealthy donors is a matter of survival in a time when fewer people are giving. And big donations seem to be driving growth at many nonprofits…” Additionally, the Chronicle notes “Charities should get serious about seeking planned gifts, given that a huge transfer of wealth is projected over the next decade.” Stated differently, I believe we’ll see a decline of the middle market giver. The middle market giver has often made up the backbone of the budget for many nonprofits. On the other hand, there will be an increasing reliance on the major donor and upon planned gifts. For those ministries who don’t play well in those spaces, they may well face serious declines.

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Abdiel עבדיאל

4 years ago By Dale Brantner

I absolutely love the story of Joseph in the Hebrew Bible.  This cycle of well-crafted stories, found in Genesis 37-50, close out the tales of legacy that is the heartbeat of Genesis.  The account of Joseph and his family frame how the children of Israel came to be residents of Egypt and sets up the story of their miraculous exodus which is at the center of Jewish legacy to this day. At the core of our culture, at The Signatry, is a commitment to listen to a person’s story, and then serve them within their story.  When we serve others within their story, we are actually serving them within the much larger redemptive story of God and the role He calls them to play.  This is exactly what we see played out through the life of Joseph. The story begins with some dysfunctional family dynamics, including the lack of parity by Jacob towards his sons. We soon find Joseph in Egypt where he is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. It was within Potiphar’s story that Joseph would serve. God blesses him with great success, and Potiphar eventually entrusts Joseph with his entire household, all of his possessions and agricultural ventures.  Everything went extremely well for Joseph as he served Potiphar right up until he was framed and thrown into prison.  While in prison, Joseph would find himself serving Pharaoh’s cupbearer and chief baker within their own stories, this would, in turn, bring Joseph into the direct service of Pharaoh. Joseph was given the opportunity to listen to the dreams and concerns of Pharaoh and serve within Pharaoh’s story. Pharaoh would make this foreign Hebrew slave and ex-convict the “vizier” of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Genesis 41:41-42 God used Joseph’s ability to listen and serve within the stories of others, to position him next to the most powerful man of his day. This platform would later prove to be the salvation of his father Jacob’s legacy … his descendants.  

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Light the Way Testimonies

4 years ago By The Signatry

In October, at our Tennessee Light The Way event we provided $20 bills to event attendees and challenged them to give away the money away and share their stories of generosity. The theme you will quickly see is that the true reward of generosity is the joy experienced by the giver. It’s less about the size of the gift and more of the delight of the Lord. May these stories inspire your heart to take your next step as you read about the impact felt in the community and beyond.

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