Most of us have a desire to make a difference in the world around us, but can get sidelined by the day to day concerns of work, family, finances, etc. For Free Grafton and Chris Fowler, it was important to remove at least one roadblock that might prevent people from engaging in intentionally making that difference - how do I afford to take time off from work in order to fully dedicate myself to a time of serving others and impacting their lives in a significant way?
From their hearts to be in partnership with Church Community Builder associates in this Kingdom work, was created the James 1:27 initiative.
At Church Community Builder, we want to use our influence to further God’s kingdom and the spiritual development of our staff. Using James 1:27 as inspiration, we give 5 days of paid leave to associates who want to do something tangible to care for orphans, widows, and vulnerable single-parent families who need help. Why a focus on orphans and widows, you ask? First it is biblical, and secondly it made for an easy ‘yes’ when associates asked to make use of this incredible benefit.
For Free, the goal is to encourage staff to go make a difference in the world, and in the process, ‘their heart will be changed and they will want to do more.’
One of the earliest affirmations of this commitment was when an associate felt compelled to provide support for an orphanage in Africa where the children did not have clean water to drink. Not only was enough money raised to create access to clean water, but this one-time act has grown into years of Christ-centered love lavished upon these children in need.
What makes this so exciting from an owner’s viewpoint is the fact that tangible differences have been made in countless lives and they get to partner in that. From the very beginnings of Church Community Builder, profits have been generously directed to change the lives of the homeless and loveless. This initiative is but another way to encourage others to experience the joy of giving, not only to those in need, but also to the full-time workers who tirelessly sacrifice personally and professionally to make the world a better place. This last year, Free and Chris took their families to provide support for New Life Home, an orphanage in Kenya, to see firsthand what an incredible organization it is and to come alongside and share the burdens of the staff.
We don’t always know or get to see the net effect of obediently serving others, but we trust in God’s promises that He is using our willingness to go and serve to further his Kingdom.
Free sums it up in a compelling belief, ‘Just go and try it one time; effort in the right direction begets more effort’.