Interview with Felicia Hanitio

Interview with Felicia Hanitio.png

Felicia is a young marketplace leader living in Jakaata.  Having graduated from Vanderily University she moved back home to work in Jakarta.  She was part of Resource Global’s second cohort in Jakarta.

What is your story? What do you do right now?

I live in Indonesia right now and have been living in Jakarta for two years. I am actually a Singapore citizen. My parents were born and raised in Indonesia, but I have lived pretty much most of my life not in Indonesia. I have lived in Singapore, Shanghai, and I studied in the states. Through it all, I had the privilege to interact with different cultures and to meet people with different backgrounds and life stories. For me, even today, this is something that continues to be an area of passion (interacting with different cultures and people of different backgrounds) and continuing to build transcultural relationships.

Another big part of my story is that when I was a university student in the states (at Vanderbilt), that is when I was really transformed and became a follower of Christ. For the first time, I understood my identity and purpose in life. I saw college as a time that really transformed me and set me on a solid ground. This is why I continued to have a big burden for university students and developing them. I continued to invested in at the university.

Right now, I work for the Djarum Foundation. I am focused on education: working a lot with educators, school leaders, and school systems. Essentially, I want to help build the next generation, starting from the earliest ages. With my work, I also see where I can work on my primary areas of ministry - whether it is building relationships with those of different faiths and cultures, or participating in God’s work to build the next generation.

Were you involved in the Asian Christian Fellowship of intervarsity at Vanderbilt?

I was involved with ACF my freshman year along with Navigators. My primary ministry was ACF.  I became a member and had the option to join a small group and coordinate new student outreach. Ultimately, they involved different discipleship relationships.

You mentioned that interdenominational faith conversation was important to you, why has this become such a passion for you?

That came out of personal experiences. In my senior year, it became a really big theme, an area of brokenness that was often talked about on and off campus. I befriended several Muslim Malaysian students who were really struggling to feel welcome and accepted. I remember just seeing how fellow Christians were some of the people who were most hurting our muslim cousins. For me, it felt like this was an area we were called to love and reconcile. As I learned more about God’s heart for reconciliation for the nations, I became more and more interested in learning how I could be a part of that.

One of my most impactful experiences during my senior year was befriending a girl from my spanish class. We started out just being partners for different conversational activities. Then we started getting meals, sharing conversations about God and what we missed about home. We even went to a basketball game together. Because of that, I became more and more interested in learning about my Muslim friends - especially those from southeast Asia, from Malaysia, and from Indonesia. Many felt that they were demonized by a the media, or that many people were misunderstanding them. I felt a responsibility to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the body of Christ and take the initiative to seek reconciliation. I wondered how do we(Christians) really share the love of Christ and how do we share the gospel, especially when what they(Muslims) experience from Christians is hate, and not love? That was one of the reasons I wanted to move to Indonesia - to continuing learning about what the relationship between Christians and Muslims looks like. What are some of the areas of brokenness? To unpack some of that baggage was to just listen.

You spend a lot of time in Kudus, can you please tell me about that city?

Kudus is indonesian for holy. Kudus is a small town in Central Java, and has a long history. It is one of the major cities for the spread of Islam. Islamic saints come from Kudus and the surrounding areas. However, it is also a city that has a very fascinating history of interfaith tolerance. As Islam was growing and spreading in Kudus (and surrounding areas), one step of tolerance that the muslims decided to take was to respect their remaining Hindu neighbors by refraining from eating beef. So today you will see that Kudus is really known for local dishes that use buffalo instead of beef. A lot of people think it is just the tradition, but actually it contains this amazing story of interfaith awareness. Today, as we see certain themes of radicalism, the question being asked is, How can they remember their story as a city? and How can they reinterpret for today's context?.

I would love to get your feedback about your time at Resource Global. What were some of the things God taught you through the cohorts?

So a big theme for me throughout the cohort and especially through the GCG, the Global Court Gathering, was gospel-based risk taking. Being a part of a high caliber cohort and a program that is all about leadership development, I think sometimes it’s easy to fall into the illusion that we always have to have things put together, and know what we want to do with our life. I think as I got to know the cohort, the people leading it, seeing transparency (seeing people share their brokenness transparently, even their failures and how God guided them through that), and talking about it during the GCG, I found that God was humbling me. I was reminded that the whole point is to be broken and be used by Him in our brokenness. To know that we can take big risks and fail, and learn and grow through failure because God is sovereign. To see other people who have gone through that, and know that they are actually okay. They are even better having gone through that process. That has given me a lot of additional courage to try things I don’t really feel I am necessarily good at, and to take an attitude of learning, and subjecting myself to God’s process, and not feeling as if I have to perform.

How was your time with your mentor? How often did you guys meet?

We met about once a month. It has been a blessing to walk with her. She was a real encouragement, and not just with Resource Global. I went on a mission trip with HMCC, and she was one of the people who really prayed with me, for me, and for the missions trip. She encouraged me in my growth in many different areas. She also works in education, just a little bit ahead of me. Additionally, she too, is a third culture kid. We really related in a lot of different passions and life experiences. In terms of personality and ways of thinking, we were really different, so that was refreshing.


Interview with Suparno Adijato, Chairman of the Board, Resource Global Jakarta

Suparno+Adijanto.jpg

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am an Indonesian, who has been living in Jakarta for thirty years. We have a family plantation and mining business. My wife and I are educators for preschoolers to adults. But my passion is in ministry, building up and discipling young adults so they can contribute to their cities.

What gives you hope for the city of Jakarta?

The number one word that comes to mind when I think of Jakarta is vibrant. Jakarta is full of life, even traffic jams represent the city’s vibrance. Jakarta, with a population of 30 million people, is the second biggest megapolitan in the world, just short of Tokyo. Another word for Jakarta is improving. Indonesia used to be at the bottom of Transparency International. In 1998, we had one of the worst economic crisis, along with a change of government. But amidst the skepticism by many people, things are improving in the country.Many people thought Indonesia would go down the drain, but people have been praying for the country. There is a national prayer network that has millions of people covering Indonesia with prayers.

You mentioned there are five giants (problems) in the city of Jakarta, what is the first problem?

Corruption is a big problem. It breeds inefficiency. By being inefficient, you get more money. Corruption also breeds uncertainties and risks. Foreign investors will not invest if the risk is too high due to corruption. With corruption, people can be bought. There is no security when you don’t know who you can trust. People don’t need to have integrity where there is corruption. So I believe that if our society can overcome corruption, then we would be on the right path.

What is the second giant?

The second giant is inequality. Not only are there minorities in terms of race and religion, Indonesia has one of the greatest unequal distributions of wealth amongst its people. There are three classes of people:

  • the few, who have a lot of wealth,

  • the small amount, which is considered is middle class,

  • and then the class majority of Indonesians fall into, those who are near poverty.

What is the third giant?

The third giant is vulnerability. A society works well if the law works to protect the people. The law is not perfect, but so is the implementation of the law in Indonesia. There are inefficiencies in the way the law is drafted. Due to that fact, a lot of times people feel that the law is against them. As a result, the people are wary and do not know who they can trust. There should be some form of social justice.

What is the fourth giant?

The fourth giant is poverty. Unemployment is a huge issue. The government has made improvements, but there is still a lot of unemployed people. For example, people who work on a farm work for about six months and only about five hours a day. So if they get sick, there is no money. People here run into a lot of problems because of debt.

What is the fifth final giant?

The final giant is hopelessness. There is an overarching sense of hopelessness and oppression. But Jesus has come to help those that are oppressed; God has given us hope through Jesus and hope for the future. There is hope. I believe our society can and will continue to improve going forward.

Any last thoughts?

The Bible talks about David being the giant slayer. In our lives, we have Davids, but also men who can be Davids and support Davids. God can use everybody. Although we may not be a David, we can still help to bring back the kingdom. All of us can do something to slay giants.

Singapore – Christianity and the Marketplace: Part 2

Singapore's multi-ethnic and multi-religious society also has an effect on Christianity in the country. While the harmony that exists between different races and different religions is a shining example to the world of multiculturalism at its best, Pastor Murphy sees it as a double edged sword. "While this means there is a need to be extremely aware of religious sensitivities in the city's context, the tolerance for other religions actually forces a generosity of spirit and charity that is helpful as others seek to understand Christianity (and other religions)," says Pastor Murphy. "The downside is that the insistence on truth can, without proper dialogue, make Christianity seem intolerant, exclusive, and even detrimental to society."

In Singapore, as in most other Asian countries, great value is placed on the family unit, and individualism is often expected to yield to family honor, reputation, and harmony. "This can cause challenges for a Christian with unbelieving parents or a Christian trying to live by countercultural biblical principles," says Pastor Murphy. "Also, because Christianity came to Singapore through foreign missionaries of colonial powers, Christianity can still be perceived as a Western religion that is fundamentally incompatible with ethnic identity."

Pastor Huai Tze Tan of One Covenant Church uses just three words to describe Singaporean culture:  pluralistic, pragmatic, and secular. Pluralistic refers to the nation's multiculturalism, while pragmatic refers to the particular ideologies instilled in the people by their founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. A pragmatic attitude toward life means that Singaporean Christians tend to be more concerned about "the sensible thing" than actual biblical doctrine. "Oftentimes, it is what works, rather than what is true, that is of greatest concern," says Pastor Tan. While all major religions are represented in Singapore, statistics show that secularism is a rising trend. More than 18 percent of the population identifies as having "no religion.' There is also a growing view that religious institutions are ideologically regressive, disconnected from people's lifestyle and needs, and slow to engage young people. Other Singaporeans see high-profile scandals involving religious leaders as having compromised the credibility of religious groups as a moral voice.

Singaporeans work incredibly hard and are very busy, so many believers struggle to make time for church. When people perceive God as being irrelevant or inconvenient when faced with the other pressures of life, giving priority to their faith becomes a challenge. Being a pragmatic and materialistic society, Singaporeans take pride in being able to work things out for themselves and are often more preoccupied with the "here and now" than with reflecting on the meaning and purpose of their lives and their existence. Because society places so much focus on living a successful, convenient, comfortable life, Singaporean Christians are not prepared to suffer persecution and can feel like God is punishing them when tragedy strikes.

The pressure in society to build and maintain a certain image, reputation, or lifestyle makes the prosperity gospel appealing to many people. Singaporeans feel that their performance is being constantly assessed, and there is a prevailing mindset throughout society that what they have is what they deserve, whether good or bad. "Receiving grace and extending it therefore becomes extremely counterintuitive, countercultural, and even offensive in a culture that places so much emphasis on the idea that only the deserving are rewarded," says Pastor Murphy. Because Christianity is widely understood to be a religion based on moral values, even if the Gospel is explained and understood at the point of salvation, many Singaporeans slip into legalism because of the cultural mindset that it is only through their works, service, and behavior that they can become acceptable to God.

The nation's pastors have found that the message of God's grace is empowering to Singaporeans because it means that they can be accepted by God—not on the basis of what they have done right, but on the basis of what Christ has done right, in their place. While salvation by grace alone is countercultural, many people are attracted to a God who does not assess their worth based on their performance. Singapore's pragmatic society also leads people to hunger for deep, meaningful relationships. Through the Gospel, God promises to make us His children and we become part of His family. In a culture that is relationally cold, this promise is especially appealing.

"The harmony that exists among different races and religions is zealously guarded and ardently protected (both by the government and also by society itself)," says Pastor Murphy. The city's tolerance for religious diversity means that there is no detriment to Singaporeans for being transparent about their Christian faith. As countercultural as the Gospel and Christianity can be to the established lifestyle of Singaporeans, the nation's true believers are committed to living according to God's Word and encouraging other brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.

Many Christian networking groups for businesspeople in the city give believers opportunities for community and accountability. Several groups use Meetup to advertise their networking meetings. The "Young Professionals in Christ" group hosts young professional networking events, Bible discussions from guest speakers, and fun hangouts. They advertise themselves as a gathering of young Christian professionals who strive to know God and make God known. The "God and the Business" group is for business owners who are passionate about building God's kingdom together. Every two weeks, members meet to support each other through the daily challenges they face in their businesses. Some Christian networking groups, like City Harvest Church's Marketplace Ministry, are run by Singaporean churches, while other groups, like GBN Marketplace Ministry and FGB Gatekeepers Singapore, operate independently from a specific church or denomination. All groups share a common goal of impacting the marketplace for Christ and are committed to creating communities of Christian marketplace leaders that are supportive of each other and of being a light in their workplaces.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/gospel-takes-root-crazy-rich-singapore/

Singapore – Christianity and the Marketplace: Part 1

The Gospel Coalition recently published an article with the heading How the Gospel Takes Root in 'Crazy Rich' Singapore. The title nods to this summer's hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, but also recognizes the amazing strides this small nation has made transforming from a Third World island to a First World country in just one generation.

In 1963, Singapore gained its independence from the United Kingdom and joined with other former British territories to form Malaysia. Due to ideological differences, Singapore separated from Malaysia just two years later to became its own sovereign nation. The first few years were turbulent for the new country, but under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father, the nation began to stabilize and experienced rapid development. Just fifty years later, Singapore is now ranked very highly in numerous international rankings. For example, Singapore is recognized as the most "technology-ready" nation, the top international-meetings city, the city with the "best investment potential", the world's smartest city, the world's safest country, the second-most competitive country, the third-largest foreign exchange market, the third-largest financial center, the third-largest oil refining and trading center, the fifth-most innovative country, the second-busiest container port, a tax haven, and the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies (one of only eleven worldwide). (Wikipedia)

This remarkable accomplishment is due, no doubt, to the determination and ingenuity of its people. But can affluence and piety coexist? Unfortunately, the same attributes needed to succeed at nation-building—self-reliance, pragmatism, and materialism, for example—also make it difficult for people to accept their need for the Gospel message.

Pastor Guana Raman of Agape Baptist Church has been open about challenges in preaching the Gospel and making disciples in Singapore. On the surface, he says, Singapore looks like a well "Christianized" nation. There are more than 800 churches in 278 square miles. While several high-profile mega-churches have gained international fame and recognition, Pastor Raman fears that there are many churches in Singapore that are theologically weak and shallow. "Many churches preach heavily moralistic sermons or, on the other hand, proclaim "hyper-grace," subtly (if not overtly) proclaiming the prosperity gospel," says Pastor Raman. "There is a great need in Singapore for more theological depth."

While Pastor Simon Murphy of Redemption Hill agrees with Pastor Raman's experience that Christianity in Singapore often exhibits the extremes of hyper-moralism or hyper-grace, he also believes that the majority of the nation's churches are preaching God's Word correctly, but that there is a disconnect in the way that it is being received by the people. "While most churches earnestly strive to preach the Word and display the love of Christ, the Gospel is merely assumed in some churches, and the way it intersects with one's life and circumstances is not clearly grasped," says Pastor Murphy. "This disconnect easily leads to Christianity being seen as either a moralistic religion, where the approval of God needs to and can be earned, or as a contract between God and man, where faith and/or works results in security and prosperity."

The culture and history of Singapore may be a major reason why many of the country's people struggle to grasp the true nature of the Gospel. Christians in Singapore are used to an easy, comfortable life. According to Pastor Raman, because the nation has not seen a major catastrophe or major economic downturn, many Christians have not experienced suffering and have come to believe that God is a god of love but not a god of wrath. Many Singaporeans are more interested in a god that heals and blesses people than the true God of the Bible because the country's culture places value on things that bring in more money, more comfort, and more convenience. "There is little understanding of the doctrine of sin and, therefore, little appreciation for the work of the cross and the grace that comes to us from the finished work of Christ," says Pastor Raman.

The Growth of Business in Africa

edited.jpg

Over one thousand business executives from around the world were asked the question:  "How many companies in Africa earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more?" Most respondents guessed  there were 50 or fewer such companies. What would your guess be?

We often think of Africa as an unattractive market for business. But in reality, Africa is experiencing rapid modernization—the same economic shift we saw in Europe and North America during the 19th century and in Asia in the 20th century. While the rest of the world's population growth is slowing down, Africa's population, currently at 1.2 billion, is projected to double during the next 30 years. More than 80 percent of this population growth will occur in cities. Africa already equals North America in its number of cities with more than one million inhabitants.

The disposable income of Africans is also increasing. This is allowing more people in Africa to adopt the latest technology. While the continent has historically lagged in this area, smart phone connections in Africa are expected to double from the existing 315 million in 2015 to 636 million by 2022, nearly equaling that of Europe, and reaching twice what is projected for North America.

It is time for us to change our perceptions about business capabilities in Africa. There are not 50 companies in Africa earning revenues of $1 billion or more but 400 companies in Africa earning revenues of $1 billion or more, and nearly 700 companies that have revenue greater than $500 million!

The companies that are succeeding in Africa claim that success does not come easy. The geographic complexity, infrastructure gaps, and relative economic and political volatility make business on the continent challenging. However,  for leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit, it is well worth the effort. Tidjane Thiam, the Ivorian-born CEO of Credit Suisse and former head of Prudential, knows firsthand what can happen when a company develops the right strategy and gets into an emerging market early. When building Prudential's business in Asia, one $50 million investment multiplied to $4 billion in a little over 15 years. Looking at African markets today, Thiam sees a similar opportunity. "You've got the demographic boom combined with GDP growth rates of 6, 7, or 8 percent," says Thiam. "There is an element of breaking ground, but the long-term rewards will be very high."

Executives around the world concur with Thiam's view of the market. The nearly 700 companies in Africa with revenue greater than $500 million have both grown faster than their peers in the rest of the world in local currency terms and have become more profitable than their global peers in most sectors. The income per capita of people in Africa's cities is currently more than double that of the continental average. Yet, when one thousand executives were surveyed, the majority predict that within the next 20 years, most of African households will be a part of the “consumer” class. As this happens, demand for certain products and services will grow. There are dozens of entrepreneurs who have already launched startups aimed specifically to address Africa's vast unmet needs and unfulfilled demands.  Yet, there is still room for more competition.

So, what business strategies in Africa yield the greatest success? Companies that are able to piggyback on strong industry trends or use innovation to serve underserved markets increase their odds of outperforming other businesses. If you own a diaper company, for example, it would be worth your while to know that Nigerian women give birth to more babies every year than all the women in Western Europe combined. Gaining exposure in high-growth cities, countries, and regions is just as important as knowing where market opportunities exist. Twenty-four million Africans are moving to cities each year. Successful companies know which cities to focus their efforts on. Nurturing vocational and managerial skills among African workers is another great step toward ensuring success. Half of Africans are currently younger than 19. In 6,000 days, the continent will have the largest working population, even larger than China. Creating internal training processes will also ensure that there will be a new pool of talent, grown and groomed from within.

Resource Global is committed to discipling and mentoring these young marketplace leaders in Africa as well as different global cities around the world.  We do this by resourcing mentors to come alongside key local city leaders. We believe that these leaders can be the catalysts to Gospel growth in their cities.  We will see this impact in their work, homes, church, and cities.

For more information on Africa please go to:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/17/africa/business-trends-shaping-africa-in-2019-and-beyond/

The Role of the Christian in Public Speaking (Part 1)

rawpixel-668353-unsplash.jpg

This blog was adapted by a teaching session that Deb Knupp did for Resource Global’s New Teacher Cohort in Chicago.

Here’s some of what Deb shared:

I often say that presenting as a stand alone activity is like a muscle. You have the ability to stand, to command an audience, and to draw attention. As Christians, we have an opportunity to use every moment we have an audience, to be representations of Christ’s love, and to do it in a way where our presentations feel like a hug. I am going to give you some insights today on how you can take really classic boring status reports in your day lives, and as you think about the presentations you would undoubtedly do on mission, how do you create experiences where you hold space for people where they walk away and feel poured into, even if you are just giving facts and figures. So I will talk about how to be more effective when you do this and how to steward those moments. You get to be a light and a representation of your faith.

What I have learned in my work of bridging workplace ministry with vocational ministry is that sometimes both avenues can be useful and relevant to teaching the other. So in shepherding some of the workplace insights that I do in executive education, many folks who are doing more vocational ministry have said that we don’t necessarily get these same kinds of access or opportunities.

When we do stand up presentations, a lot of us think, if we get the content right, then we will have the ability to get everything else right. So, prepare to have your mind blown, because the content, in the grand scheme of things, is a very small percentage of how you move people. And while yes, there is a sense of you need to transact a communication that allows people to know how to do something, but the reality is, and it has often been said, people will forget what you told them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. That is what we need to recognize. The content is the easy part, and yet, as presenters, that is the thing we often stress about. The beginnings and the ends, particularly as we do the next two programs, we are going to really dive into mechanics, and today in laying the foundation, I want to give  you a relationship with content that says yes, it’s essential, and if you can recognize the ministry of your work, and how it serves, all of a sudden the content starts to come together.

The number one fear that human beings have, more than death, is public speaking. There are more and more studies that suggest people would rather get a root canal than stand up in front of an audience. So the fact is, if you already enjoy that, that gives you some unique strengths, in marketplace, and in ministries.

Next week I want to share some tips that Deb gave on public speaking.  


Tim Keller's Talk at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast

What I learned from Tim Keller’s talk at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in June of 2018

I recently had the opportunity to work as the Program Director of City to City’s The Gospel and our Cities Conference.  I enjoyed working alongside a wonderful organization that is doing great things. I also learned a lot from Tim Keller, who heads the organization.  

I wanted to share a video from The National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast which Tim Keller spoke at in June of 2018, and some of the insights I got from his talk.

What can Christianity offer our society here in the 21st century? Tim Keller’s talk at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast addressed that question. He references the metaphor often used in the Bible - the use of salt in meat. When salt is dispersed throughout the meat, it both enhances and preserves the meat. Like salt, Jesus says that Christians should be dispersed throughout society. In order to make a difference, Christians must exist in the culture but remain different from the rest of the culture.

Tim Keller gave the example of stealing from an old woman. It could be easy to steal her purse, run away, and not get caught. Yet, we don’t do it. Why don’t we? There are two reasons he gives...two moralistic views. The first reason is that to pick on a weak person would mean that you too, are weak. This is known as a self-regarding ethic, which stems from a culture of shame and honor, where strength is important. The second reason you don’t steal from the old woman is because you choose to think about her. This is the other-regarding ethic, of which the ultimate value is love. Research shows that most people resonate with the latter. Interestingly, the moral of love comes from Christianity. So, whether you claim to be Christian or not, you have been shaped by Christianity.

Christians love others for their sake, they do not have a person vendetta. In fact, the first person to fight slavery was a bishop. He argued that slaves are humans too, and deserve to be loved. Since, they too are images of God and cannot be sold. Imago dei. In case you are unfamiliar, imago dei is a term coined by Christians, meaning “image of God.” We are all images of God, and we all have the capacity to have fellowship with Him. As a nation, we must not forget that. There are no degradations in the imago dei.

Since you were made in the image of God, it is important to stay true to yourself. God made you exactly how He wanted you to be. So, follow your own inner light, and don’t let anyone tell you what is right or wrong for you. Christians cannot “benefit” society if they are like everyone else in society. Keller’s advice is to not to live for yourself. Live for God, and live for your neighbor.

The problem at hand is in trying to form more people from our society to support these ideals. These ideals take sacrifices, such as giving up wealth and power to help the less fortunate. Another example of self-sacrifice is forgiveness. Unfortunately, we, as a society are becoming more and more incapable of producing people that can forgive. Our culture is becoming increasingly individualistic and teaches self-actualization. So, if there is no social benefit, why become a Christian? Keller leaves us with two reasons why Christianity is, and should be, seeked after:

  1. Christianity offers communion with God and

  2. Christianity provides us with a loving relationship (not just an opportunity to win favor).

Number 2 is my personal favorite - Christianity offers a loving relationship with God.



Interview with Todd Peterson, former NFL Kicker

todd-peterson.jpg

J. Todd Peterson was drafted in 1993 by the NY Giants, leading to a 13-year career in the NFL where he also played for Seattle, Kansas City, San Francisco and Atlanta. He set a number of team records and two NFL records – one of which is since broken (most 40-plus-yard field goals in a season). He was named NFL True Value Man of the Year for the Seahawks in 1996 and twice received the NFL Players Association Byron “Whizzer” White award for excellence in character and leadership on his teams. He was twice nominated for the NFL’s Bart Starr Award. Peterson retired in 2006 as one of only 34 players to score over 1,000 points. He is the only player in NFL history to make game-winning field goals for five or more different teams. During his career he served three different terms on the NFLPA’s board.

Peterson lettered in football at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1988 and 1989 before transferring to the U. of Georgia. He graduated with a BBA in banking and finance in 1993 and was honored his senior season as the university’s first GTE Academic All-America in a decade.

The Petersons like to help families with influence and resources leverage those assets most effectively. They enjoy traveling with others to see missional opportunities and desire to see their peers experience the joy of giving.

Peterson also serves on several boards, including Global Generosity Movement, Passion Conferences, the Young Life Foundation, and as chairman for Pro Athletes Outreach. Peterson and his wife, Susan, live in North Atlanta and have two children.

For more information on Todd please see the link below.  

https://www.gospelpatrons.org/films/more-than-a-pro

I recently had a chance to sit down with Todd and catch up.  

What are you currently doing now? Can you please share about your previous NFL career?
I played in the NFL for thirteen years, starting in 1993 and retiring in 2006. I was a kicker. Most of my career was spent with the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, and the San Francisco 49ers. I was fortunate enough to be playing for the Falcons in my hometown, right before my retirement. I have been married for 25 years to my wife Susan, an incredible, godly woman and leader. We have two amazing children - my daughter is in her third year at Virginia, and our son is in his first year at Vernon.

Currently, I sit on a number of boards, both in the for-profit private and nonprofit company domain. I feel that Lord has blessed me with many opportunities during my career in the NFL. I got to meet some amazing people around the country and even around the world. Since my retirement, I felt an overwhelming calling to use the influences, resources, and relationships I gained during my career to build the kingdom through a variety of different ministries and business interests.

Did you know you were going to do this after you got out of the NFL? Can you please tell us about your faith journey?
I think that when we trust Christ, we experience salvation. Scripture says we are saved by grace through faith, not our merit, our performance, or our works. His work on the cross saves us. He says, believe this and I am going to invite you on a great adventure. Our faith in Christ invites us on a journey. When we start our walk with Christ, trust God, and begin to have the spirit of God lead us through life, it takes us on a journey. Spiritual maturity takes place over time through various experiences and circumstances. Relationships also help to shape us to be who we are today. Scripture is pretty clear that in life of a Christian, growth is normal. Philippians 1 says that God is faithful to complete the good works He starts in us, to the day of Christ returning, or if Jesus chooses to take us home before that. I think that I am in the process of sanctification. When I left the NFL, I thought that God may have some pretty cool stuff in store for me, but I don’t think I could have scripted it to be nearly as adventurous and amazing as He has allowed it to be. I think that God is always doing immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

How did you come to your faith?
It wasn’t as a young boy, but it was before my NFL career. It occurred over the several years as I finished high school and early into college. From when I was about seventeen, or eighteen years old, to about twenty, I think the Lord was allowing me to see how my empty my world was. When we put our stock, or our faith in things of this world, (relationships, money, success, athletics, academics, fame, connections, anything other than Christ), we feel void and empty. God saved me from a lot of heartache. I didn’t have to go down a path of a lot of horrifying stuff to realize my need for Him. But I did go down a path that led me to feel empty at the end of the day and on a path of worry and self concern, fear, insecurities, and peacelessness. I finally reached a place where, as 1 Corinthians 1 says, the folly or the foolishness of God is wiser than a man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than a man’s strength. It quickly became apparent to me that I would be a fool if I didn’t ask God for His folly in my life. When His folly is greater than my wisdom and His weakness greater than my strength, then I would be crazy to think I should use my wisdom and my strength to live. I am better off with His folly and his weakness. I realized that I needed Him and was desperate for Him; and that He loved me and invited me into a relationship with Him through His son, Jesus. That is how I came to faith.

Can you talk about all the different ministries you are involved in, what drives you, and what you are hoping to accomplish through those ministries? My wife and I really sense that the unique opportunity the NFL presented was an Esther moment in our lives. God chooses times and places for us. So, at for that time in our lives, He had us in the NFL. My career in the NFL was clearly a “business” of making kicks. You get compensated well for playing pro sports. Wins and losses matter, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as much as the eternal security of people. So, we saw the opportunity to invest in my teammates, to care for their families, and to be in relational ministry. Young Life is something we are very connected with, my wife is a trustee of Young Life, and we believe in relational ministry and caring for people. We have been cared for by God, and God says to imitate God. Therefore, we want to care for, love, and serve other people. I think that was the context of our NFL ministry. Most of that happens through our connection with Pro Athletes Outreach. We serve on that board, and I serve as the chairman.

The translation of The Bible has been a huge deal to us. We had the privilege of being introduced to Bible translation about 16-17 years ago and are now involved in ministries like Athletes in Action and The Seed Company. I am currently on the board of The Seed Company and have been serving as chairman for five years. From that came Illumination, which is an alliance between the ten leading Bible translation agencies. They are working together to eradicate bible poverty by 2033. The hope is that 100% of the world population will have access to the gospel and/or some portion of the scripture in their own language through the work of Illumination. More specifically, by 2033, 99.9996%, almost 100%, will have access to the New Testament in their own language and 95% of the world’s population will have access to the Bible in their own language. Scripture says that two things last forever, the word of God and the soul of man. We believe Bible translation is the collision and the intersection of those two things. We are really passionate about that.

For more information on this please see the following link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/may/together-for-gospels-bible-translation-unity-illuminations.html

As expressed earlier, we have a passion for the work Young Life does, which is ministry to young people: middle school kids, high school kids, and college folks. Another thing we are really passionate about is stewardship, and the movement of biblical generosity that is occurring in the church today. This goes along with nurturing and caring for others. We think It is important for believers to be philanthropic realizing that God has entrusted us with more than we need. Stewardship should be done in a way that advances the kingdom and helps other people steward well with what He has given to them.

What are some effective tips for ministries to partner and to work together?
I think that the key to partnering together is having unity. We found this out at Illumination. They really do a good job spurring unity. We talk a lot about generosity, humility, and integrity, fostering unity and collaboration. God clearly commands us to be honest, transparent, and operate with integrity with one another. He hates lying. I think when people from different agencies are generous like God and humble like Christ, towards one another, it breeds and fosters unity, partnership, and collaboration. The enemy has many names, and a few of them are the confuser and deceiver. What he wants us to be self-interested, stingy and deceive each other, sneak around each other, and accuse each other. But what God wants is for us to be generous, humble, and honest. I think when brothers lean towards each other in generosity, humility, and integrity, the end result is unity in the body. Ephesians 4 says be diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit through a bond of peace. The world is constantly trying to find kinks in our armor, and the enemy is constantly trying to divide the church. But when we are united and work together, scripture says in Romans and 1 Corinthians, that the body of Christ has many complimentary parts, and when they are working together they create a very beautiful effect. We find that we see people move from darkness to light and be raised from death to life. God is pleased when brothers come together in unity.

Was there a team or teammate that influenced you?
It was the guys that were older and more mature than me. They were mentors to me and discipled me, like Mike Singletary, Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, and Eugene Robinson. I think the guys that were my contemporaries were Jon Kitna, Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer, Brian Young, Scott Gragg, and Grant Williams. A lot of guys I played with became dear friends. We ran together and were brothers. We are committed to the same things and on the board of PAO (Pro Athletes Outreach). There is a biblical model of discipleship. If we don’t have guys in leading us, guys with us, and guys following us, then we aren’t really living the way God created us to live. Mike Cannon and Andy Lee were young punters that were coming into the league when I was retiring, and went on to have pro-ball careers. I think that I gave to them what a lot of guys had given to me.

Seattle was a unique team to play for, because PAO was headquartered in Seattle for about 25 years. There was a real concerted effort by a church up there, Antioch Bible Church, to invest in us players. The pastor of Antioch Bible Church,Kent Hutcherson, who was a former player and Karl Payne, the chaplain for about twenty years of the Seahawks, along with PAO, invested in many of us on the team. A lot of those guys that played in Seattle, went on to play at a lot of different places in the NFL, and I really believe, shined brightly for Christ.