1 Recording #2 Length: 25:01 Interviewer: What is your business, first of all? What do you do, and what is it like being a pastor and businessman at the same time? I own a small construction company. We have found a little bit of a niche in the market of construction; that has to do with basements. We do basement waterproofing, but we also do basement mold remediation, basement air management there s a lot of bad air in basements and basement finishing. We do structural repair: cracks and settling foundations, bowing walls and etc. We also do crawl spaces. Basically anything to do with basements. We re about to get into radon also. Radon is an odorless gas that comes into homes from the soil, and you can get cancer from it. You can mitigate radon with fan systems to minimize high risk. So, we re not quite there yet, but we keep adding to our basement services offered. Our advertising campaign is [directed] toward people who have basements and want to use them. How did you come up with this? When I was 17, I worked for somebody in the church that had a waterproofing business a basement waterproofing business. Steve Taylor, BWN. I actually worked for his branch and another branch in Pennsylvania. At a very young age and straight out of school, I worked as a laborer, only in the winter, for three winters. In the summer, I had my own little landscaping company. I could make a lot more money in the summer and on my own in Baltimore, so I quit every year in the spring. I would then go back in the fall because there was no landscaping. They hired me back every year, so it worked out well. I was young but I knew how to work hard, so they liked to have me around. From there, I worked at a bank for about a year; I went to work for another waterproofing company after that basically helped him grow. I worked there for about seven years and ended up running his office and running his sales team. We grew from just the two of us to 20 employees, and I was in charge of marketing, in charge of sales and in charge of the office. Basically, I was in charge of the machine and he was in charge of the installation. So, the reason for the growth had a lot to do with how I did things, and that gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me a lot of freedom. He was like a mechanical guy, but he was not good with people. He was just a really loyal, good guy who simply wanted to dig ditches and work, but he didn t know customers or office proceedings. As a young guy, in my 20s, I was already getting a lot of experience in running businesses, and I was feeling very accomplished. In 2000, I decided to leave him, because I felt like I didn t need him, that I could do it on my own. We were part of a dealership, and when that dealership found out that I was leaving, they were like, No, we like you; we want you to run another branch in Baltimore and then in Delaware. I ran that branch for them for six months, at most. I had my own agenda, but God had a different agenda. It s basically been 13 years. I was basically a partner with the first guy for seven years, and I had my own landscaping company; I ve spent most of my life being self-employed. I only spent three winters and one year at a bank not being self-employed because that partner made me a partner very quickly. There were no restrictions; whatever I thought was right, he did it. It just always seemed like that was the thing to do. I always thought that I could
2 work until college. I m not against education reform, but I could go to college to be a doctor and spend $300,000, and as long as I m working as a doctor, I ll get paid. However, if I stop working, I won t get paid. To become an engineer takes six to eight years of college? I ll always have to work, until I m 65, because if I don t work, I don t get paid. Every job I thought of, you d always have to be working. There s a small chance that you ll be successful. I was very sure that I was going to be successful, but it s a miracle that it worked. In a sense, that s what s happened. I own the company, and I m able to volunteer for the church. That s really what your second question is: how am I a pastor? How do I do it? Really, I m able to do it because I own my own business. I decided that the American way was set up in such a way that it encouraged that the best job in the world is not anything other than being an owner of a company. That I can actually stop working at a certain age or barely work, that has happened in my life. I m able to work less; however, sometimes a lot of times it s not good meaning I should work more than I do. I spend too much time traveling for the church and too much time here at the church. I should be working more, and it actually hurts my company; however, I do think it s God s will. I think that s why I m self-employed, that s why God allowed it to happen and that s why I can do what I do. I can travel a lot for the church, and for about 20 hours a week, I can be the director here. As I got more successful in business, I chased the money for about 10 years. When I started to become more successful, this little nagging truth was haunting me, if you will, that this was never going to work. I just remember asking if they were right when I was younger. When they popped me into Sunday school, were they right? Was this not all that life was about? Is this ever going to make me happy? And the truth is that I couldn t shake God. God is too sticky. The truth that I was shown was that I was successful, and I was making good money, more than the average person. I could see myself, but it wasn t working. I remember very distinctly being on the beach in the Caribbean with my wife in the middle of the winter and my wife asking me what was wrong. And I remember distinctly telling her that I had to change something, that I just wasn t content. I was happy with her, happy with my marriage, happy with many things in my life, but deep inside something was not right. There is more to it then this. It took me another five years or so, actually right before [can t understand] was elected. His message, there was a certain sound to his message, a certain brokenness. There was humility about his way, and it was incredibly appealing to me because I was nothing like that. I could see it but not because I knew what it was I knew I was not like that but because there was something behind his words that was so real to me. And I remember the message very clearly, a message called Less is Bliss. I knew that my distance from God was because I was still out of line. His words sunk in very deep into my heart. He didn t know me but I knew him. He knew my mom, and I was just waiting for him to preach again. Little by little his message changed me, and God really broke through in a big huge way where it became very personal. In 2005, this all went down. I just became very hungry for God. I went to Bible school. I came to every rap and every service, and I started traveling with Pastor Shawler [sp?] all over the country. It had an incredible impact on me, and I just fell in love with Jesus; it s as simple as that. It became so real to me, and it became so personal to me. It was beyond anything I had before in life. I just continued to grow, and within a year Pastor Shawler asked me to be a youth leader and to help Pastor Lowe. First, he asked me to help Pastor Jason for six months, and then help Pastor Lowe. I said, Yeah, that s what I want to do with my life. This felt so much better. It seemed to me that working to make more money was [cuts out], but working here for nothing, investing in teenagers it s the bottom of the barrel in church ministry. You know, that s not true, but if you re trying to climb a ladder in church ministry. I felt so fulfilled and so sure that it was
3 God s will. I felt so right about it all. I just grew, and I ve been growing and growing. The only thought I ever had was that I was good at administrative stuff and people; I have people under me, 20 to 25 employees, and I m good at that so maybe that would be my role in the church. Maybe I d be in an administrative pastor role. That s all I could ever see. I never thought about being a pastor; it scared me to death. I grew up in this church, and I know what it means to be a pastor. We have real pastors, real guys, and there s no glory and no money. It means giving everything, and I knew that with all my heart. I was just never really interested in it. Didn t think I had the gift. Avoided the subject, avoided any thoughts or conversations about it, until one day, Pastor Wright called me and said you ve been recommended to be ordained. And you know, I m not lying when I say there was another side to me. All the studying, all the Bible reading, it was growing inside my heart, as was the desire to spill, to flow and to have that overflow. I could tell that there was something amazing in my heart, and that I would love to share that. And I would be lying if I told you I wanted nothing to do with it; there were just kind of two sides to it. But really, I felt insecure about it. There s a hard side to me; there s a business, corporate side to me. I m not really a loving person like Pastor Jason, and I always felt a little bit different from him. But, I said okay, I m not going to walk away from it; I had already committed to whatever God wanted. I always ran a good business, and I knew it was beneficial to me to run an honorable and fair business don t cheat, don t steal from your customers and treat your employees the best you can. My motivation before was for myself. Class, training, the seminars that I went to, those are beneficial to me. It kind of changed my life. I remember there was a six-month season in which everyday God was convicting me about something, like little tiny things or little white lies. I knew as a pastor it would come down to that. Furthermore, I knew in business that I had to change things, that I couldn t talk like that anymore or say those things anymore, even just the culture in the office or the language being used in my construction company. I just had little convictions, little things I had to change all the time. Did you find it difficult being a Christian businessman? At first, yes, it was hard, but now it s part of my culture; it s the way we operate. I ve hired people that think the same as I do, mostly from the church. It hasn t always been perfect. We ve blown it, and we ve made mistakes; however, overall, we ve developed a company that has an incredible reputation, maybe one of the best in the state for construction. We ve never had any complaints filed against us nor have we had any serious issues with customers. We take care of our customers like good people. As far as the big picture, the thing about those who are self employed is that their world revolves around them totally. People who are employed have to submit themselves to a boss, and there has to be some element of humility, some element of not doing what you want to do but doing what the boss wants to do. The biggest thing that I ve started to realize, the biggest flaw in my life, was that my life was all about me. Even in my marriage to a certain extent. Did I not really understand how Jesus is humble and lays down his life? When you are self-employed, no one ever tells you what to do. If you re making even a little bit of money, that becomes another world that you control. The biggest change came there, because even working in the church was hard. There were bosses over me, and considering it was a church, they are very careful with everything. They have to control you, and I struggled with that a little. I never had someone telling me what to do, how to write an , what not to do here and what to do there, and the policies drove me nuts. Looking at the big picture, that was the biggest thing: my flesh.
4 God was breaking me, breaking me to crucify myself. The message of the cross has always been one that was the hardest for me, but also the one that I needed most. That s the one Pastor Shawler preached that I loved. There are ways you can treat employees. I try to do it to the best of my ability. I do have employees that are not Christian. Everyone knows I m a Christian, practically speaking. I witness to them, and I share my beliefs with them. They know it; I make it very well known. They also know by my actions. We have Christmas parties, but there is no alcohol which is incredibly rare people know what we re about. Also, they know that I m not interested in collecting money when things aren t done. Little by little, they know we have integrity. The more that we fall in love with Christ, the more we learn of Him, the more we make our lives about Him and the more we are reflecting Christ. If you ask me how I am reflecting Christ I don t know, and I can t really tell you. Mostly I am surprised by the fact that I am, but I do know that He has that influence on us. He feels us, and I m changing in an amazing way. God has made me a more spiritual being. That s always been a little bit of a mystery, but I recognize it. What am I doing today that is reflecting Him? Practicality is difficult in one sense, and I don t know if we re done there. There is no difference between spiritual and secular there is no separation. I read a book by Reverend Lawrence, and in his book he talks about whether he is washing dishes or worshipping in the sanctuary. There s no difference to him. Pastor Shawler talked about that in one of the classes, so I went and purchased the book and read it. It was convicting, and I knew then that I m in two different worlds. I m working hard and I m honoring God; however, they were two separate worlds, and I don t think that that s possible. So, the two are the same, though I obviously do two very different things when I work at my business compared to when I m sitting here at the church. But more and more, I try to find God at work, to find fellowship there and to feel as though there is no difference. I can tell you that I ve struggled with that some days, but overall, I want my life to be about God. What would you say to those who are trying to reconcile the two? For me, there were not any steps, other than that I ve spent lots of time studying other denominations and other religions. What has changed me was my study of Jesus. I can t get enough of that. I can never ignore His words. The more and more I learn Him, the closer I feel to Him. The more He has become real in my life, the more He has changed me. So, if you re asking me how He changes a business guy, hold onto Jesus and make Him a huge part of your life. Make Him the most important part of your life, and the rest will fall into place. I know that s kind of general. I know business people want 10 steps on what to do. But I have found that though I can fix many things in my business or in my life with steps, money and hard work, none of that works in my heart. You can t change your heart; only Christ can change your heart. Even in the ministry and in our prayer life, I know that my prayer life will not grow by my works but rather by Christ, little by little. I m just praying and hoping, and trying in a sense, for that kind of prayer life. I think I ve spent 35 years of my life trying to be a Christian, and it didn t work. I am so turned off by any attempts of me trying to be anything. I m not against any type of discipline; I can talk about discipline, but my heart is where we start. Many of the changes in my life have come that way, through my heart. I would be interested in reading about other Christian businessmen and the Christian business prospective. As far as marketing is concerned, I m trying to understand what you mean by faith in marketing. There is a market out there. I use worldly tactics all the time to find my customers, some
5 Christians. I read worldly books I read self-help books to help my business. I m not above learning from people in the world. You can do it with integrity.