We’ve been investing in Life Church, Bari for well over 10 years now, bringing leadership direction and training to create a ‘Transformational Church’ base. When we visited in June, Judith and I were delighted to see how Kingdom minded the church has become and the dramatic impact they are having in their city. One amazing story belongs to Emanuele Spezzacatena who is part of the leadership team there. Whom I’ve had a mentoring relationship with over the past 8 years. His business is “no longer a “give back to God” kind of business but a “bringing the kingdom of God on earth through the business” kind of business!” Following this principle, he recently opened an automated shop to bring Hope 24 hours a day.
This is his story:
"My name is Manu. I always loved serving God and doing business. One day I decided to spend some time in prayer wanting to know what I was really called to do. Strangely, after a year of reflection and prayer I felt God was calling me to continue to run my business and of course continue to build his Kingdom. I was a bit confused at first but then I thought: apparently, God wants me to continue my journey in the business arena so I would have more independence to “serve” and more money “to give”. Sounds good to me, I thought. Yet I still wasn’t happy with this pattern. I was unhappy until I discovered that God didn’t want my independence, my money or my spare time. He was calling me to transform the business arena and to bring transformation with kingdom principles through my business. I understood that it’s not what you do that makes your business sacred or secular but why you do it. So I entered into, what I call, a full time transformational ministry.
It was no longer a “give back to God” kind of business but a “bringing the kingdom of God on earth through the business” kind of business. So, being in the food business I thought, how can we do this, and I soon realized that we not only could refresh the body but also refresh the soul. Yes, we could do this by simply caring for our customers, suppliers and employees. Caring by listening or smiling to them. I wanted to bring hope to our world and this became the vision all our people embraced while doing our everyday tasks and jobs. Recently I felt propelled to start a new project; an automated shop open 24/7. We call them H24. Unfortunately, by doing my research I discovered that people often go to these shops to buy alcohol to get drunk or young girls go there, instead of a pharmacy, to buy pregnancy tests. We’ve called this shop Hope24! The shop is filled with inspirational quotes and bible verses that bring Hope and encouragement. It restores the soul! We also put a QR code saying: if you need help call us, for all those young girls who may be pregnant and do not know what to do. When you scan the QR code you get connected with a team of people that give spiritual, psychological and emotional help when needed. I think this is just the beginning and a way to bring hope, transform the environment and save lives. I’ve never been happier and more fulfilled in my entire life!"