SfK Ministries

SfK Ministries

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

DCI, Inc. a Kingdom Business...

38,000% growth over 16 years!

You may think of it as something similar to the Bitcoin hype. But it is not. It is a real story for DCI, Diversified Conveyors International.

DCI is a company, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, which specializes in integrating systems for companies that handle materials, such as conveyor belt systems. Its clients include FedEx, UPS, a variety of manufacturers, and airports.

DCI has been selected as the fastest growing 100 private mid-size companies in the Midsouth for several years, and it was the fastest growing company in 2015. Established in 2000, DCI began its operations in 2001 and has since grown exponentially over 16 years with the annual revenue at $260 million in 2017. 

DCI was founded by Tom and Beth Phillips and began its operation with one additional staff in 2001. Currently it employs 161 staff, full time equivalent. Also, Tom and Beth started the company with capital of $50,000 and a line of credit backed up by his home equity. This capital base has expanded to $19 million as of December 31, 2017. That represents a growth of 380 times or 38,000% over 16 years, translating into an annual average growth rate of 237%!

Like any business, DCI's greatest challenge has been hiring the right people who share the vision and mission of the company, particularly to keep pace with the phenomenal growth the company has been experiencing.

Unlike many start-ups, however, DCI has not had to worry about securing clients. Thanks to the long and trustworthy reputation that the DCI team has gained over time in the industry, the company never had to worry about orders for DCI's products. The concern has been instead how to meet and deliver the ever-increasing orders in a timely manner.

DCI reported a profit even in the first year of operation in 2001, and its profitability has continued to increase as the company has grown.

DCI has reported a phenomenal growth, and this growth alone is remarkably impressive. However, DCI's story does not end here.

Kingdom Business
DCI is a Kingdom business. 

When they started DCI, Tom and Beth dedicated it to God and His Kingdom. They knew and acknowledged that God owned DCI and decided to manage it according to His will. Thus, their management goal was not to maximize the growth or the profit, but to manage it in a godly manner with a focus on producing Kingdom impact in every possible way, which they trusted would bring glory to God. They resolved to seek to discern God's heart and follow His way under any circumstances.

To make their resolution clear, the Phillips established DCI's mission statement as follows:

DCI exists to serve our material handling customers with excellence, to contribute to our communities, and to operate as an example of Christian principles.

To achieve this mission, DCI chose the following three core values, the moral and spiritual guideposts that DCI should follow under any circumstances:
  • Intensity - single-minded focus on God's purpose
  • Thrift - wise use of all resources
  • Kingdom Impact - to be produced in every aspect of the business 

As a business dedicated for the Kingdom of God, the main drive was to serve DCI staff and the communities in which it operated as well as its clients. 

While it is important to serve clients well even for effective business management, as a Kingdom business, DCI strives to deliver products of excellent quality within a promised timeline, all as if it serves the Lord. (Colossians 3:23,24) In the end, this service spirit ends up producing recurring orders and numerous referrals.

For the staff, fair compensation and attractive employee benefits are the foundation. In addition, DCI seeks to assist its staff with godly and holistic living. For example, DCI provides marriage counseling for those who struggle with their marriage. Moreover, DCI staff is encouraged to participate in serving the community at large and His Kingdom.

To serve the community, all staff is encouraged to volunteer their time and talents at the community organizations or ministries they choose. Through a software platform program, all staff is given a monthly allowance of $25 to give away to charitable organizations which have been vetted. Also, if a staff member donates $100 or more to any  approved charitable organization of his or her choice, DCI matches this giving so that the benefit and impact may be doubled.

From the very first year of 2001, DCI reported a profit and kept its promise of serving the staff and the community. As DCI grew, it hired people from the inner city and provided internships and counselling. DCI also continues to support ministries that help inner city residents secure employment by teaching job skills, financial management, and linking them with opportunities.

Tom and his wife Beth are a Christian couple with a deep sense of stewardship for their lives, their talents, and their treasure, which they sincerely believe God owns and has entrusted to them. This stewardship principle was also applied to DCI. 

The Phillips believe that they have been entrusted with staff, money, clients, and communities along with the company DCI. They do not take any of them for granted because they belong to God. DCI staff are a closely-knit organization.

All staff at DCI willingly and voluntarily pursue the thrifty use of all resources so that none may be wasted. Thrift is one of three core values, as discussed above. The money saved from the thrifty use of resources is applied to giving.

Stewardship principles are applied to the personal lives of the Phillips as well as the company. For example, they calculate the opportunity cost for expenses. The Phillips can drive practically any luxurious car on the market given the amount of profit they are making. But they calculate the opportunity cost of the additional money spent for a luxurious car over a modest car needed to meet the transportation needs and take into account how many children in developing nations can be fed with the additional money required for a luxury car. So they choose a modest car.

Among so many needs of humanity, they chose the following three areas as their foci:
  • Children
  • Sustainable poverty alleviation
  • Pastor training
The Phillips genuinely believe that God's stewards who are faithful with a little entrusted with them will be entrusted with more.

His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)

Ministry Going Overseas
Since DCI served the marginalized people in the inner city in its early years of operation, DCI expanded its ministry overseas in 2005 when Tom visited Rwanda and began to be involved with several ministies in helping alleviate poverty in developing nations.

DCI's involvement in overseas ministries ranged widely from buying 50 motorbikes for loan officers of a Christian micro finance bank (Urwego Opportunity Bank) to building mini hydro power plants to provide sustainable support for many local ministries, and to establishing a chicken farm to feed malnourished children one egg per day to provide protein in their early days of life. 

One Egg turned out to be particularly effective and became a success story. It was a collaborative model with self-sustainability. DCI funded the establishment of a chicken farm, called Ikiraro. It chose to partner with Tyson Foods of the U.S. which provided technical assistance needed for the chicken farming. To implement the feeding part of the eggs to children, DCI partnered with the Shyira Diocese of Rwanda Anglican Church. To make Ikiraro sustainable, a non-profit organization was established in the U.S. to recruit sponsors who are willing to pledge $5.00 per month to feed one egg per day for one month for one child. To watch an interesting animated One Egg story, click here.

One Egg produced remarkable impact. The children who were fed one egg per day outgrew other children. Also, their intellectual development was clearly evident. Moreover, children were educated to wash their hands before they ate, and this hygiene education transferred also to their family members. The children were cared for at child development centers, and their parents were able to concentrate on working and earning more income for their families. It was a multiple win scenario. Now, in Rwanda, 3,200 children of 2 - 5 years of age are benefiting from One Egg, and there are currently 217 preschools that have started in the diocese.

One Egg was so effective that it started expanding on its own. It is now operating in 12 countries, including Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Nepal. DCI continues to finance the administrative costs for this project so that 100% of all donations received may be used to finance the egg costs.

Gifts received from some projects supported by DCI
 Key to Success
The following document a few questions and answers exchanged in person:

What were the factors that resulted in operational success for DCI?

"It is not my business, but God's, and I manage it according to His will. God did the rest, producing tremendous success."

"What do you mean by according to God's will?" "How do you know if it is God's will or not?"

"Well... I try to be purposeful in my decision making, examining what is pleasing to God. This applies generally, but particularly to three aspects: product, process, and profit.

For product, we want to make sure we deliver products that will demonstrate excellence and value to the satisfaction of our clients. As a business, we need to serve the needs of our clients with the right product.

For process, we want to make sure all business processes are efficient with minimal waste of time, cost, and manpower. More importantly, we want to make sure our staff are treated well to their satisfaction.

For profit, we want to make sure it is distributed and used according to the Owner's will. We pay taxes properly. We pay fair wages for our staff. We use profit for serving our staff's welfare and the needs of the communities we operate."

Going Forward
Tom and Beth own DCI legally on record. But they believe that their nominal ownership of the company is only temporary because they are not the actual owners. Cautiously, Tom mentioned that they are considering an action that will relieve them from the nominal ownership so that they can truly function as the stewards of the company for His Kingdom purpose.

"Are you considering transferring your ownership to an independent entity or a trust?" At this question, Tom made a big smile on his face and said, "You will see soon."

Concluding the interview, Tom said that the greatest qualification he has received from God is that he is a sinner saved by grace.

On the walls of DCI, there are many quotes. One of them was by Corrie Ten Boom:

"The measure of a life is not its duration, but its donation."

I could sense strongly that Tom and Beth wanted their lives to be measured by their donation of their life, talents, and treasure to the Kingdom causes.

It is God's grace that there are people like Tom and Beth who set examples for fellow Christians on godly living, and there are companies like DCI that operate on biblical principles and produce Kingdom impact in the process.

I dream that God will raise more people like them and companies like DCI. - Jeffrey Lee, CEO of SfK Ministries

Friday, February 9, 2018

Newsletter - February 2018

SfK Ministries Newsletter - February 2018

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
(Genesis 2:15)

Work: What Is It Good For?

(Excerpt from The Missional Entrepreneur by Mark Russell)
Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reportedly said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This statement reflects my fundamental assertion: Business should not be viewed as a tool to get through life, rather it should be considered an opportunity for spiritual living. We need to reorient our natural inclinations from the visible realm to the invisible one and realize that our faith and spiritual mission are integral to the visible human world. 
Click to read more
Ministry Updates

1.  SfK Ministries is expanding into Tanzania! Sung Soo Kim will lead this ministry in Tanzania. Mr. Kim is a veteran businessman in the U.S. and Korea. He worked for Applied Materials for 27 years and has been serving as Director of E3Empower Africa based in Arusha, Tanzania. He previously served as CEO of E3Empower Korea. SfK Tanzania plan to host a BAM Seminar in conjunction with a couple of businesses that are currently under development. Please pray that SfK Tanzania will receive God's favor in getting its foundation laid right. 
Sung Soo Kim for SfK Tanzania
2.  Jeffrey participated in KBM Global Philippines in Baguio and Manila on Jan 30 and Feb 1, respectively. Both events went well with favorable responses received from the participants. Please pray that proper follow ups will be made to guide many people who desire to be BAM practitioners.  
3.  SfK has developed its business plan for 2018 and also updated its strategic plan with the Vision 2020, subject to the board approval. Please pray that we all will continue to discern God's will in carrying out the plans. 
4.  Sky Bay Thailand will begin to sell a Korean character doll named "Pangah," and a few other characters. It will also explore the possibility of manufacturing dolls featuring this character to enhance SfK MB Trading activities.
Upcoming Events & Prayer Requests
  • February 9, 2018:  SfK Life Board Meeting - The board will consider and approve the SfK Ministries Strategic Plan, Business Plan and SfK Life's operating budget for 2018.  Please pray that the meeting will bear much fruit. 
  • February 18-22, 2018 - Jeffrey will receive a couple of visitors from Colorado, U.S.A. and Cambodia.  The primary purpose of their visit will be to learn more about SfK Ministries and to explore how they can collaborate with SfK Ministries. Please pray that these meetings will be mutually encouraging and fruitful.  
  • March 17, 2018:  BAM Seminar in Vietnam - Jeffrey will travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in March to assess the needs for the services that SfK Ministries aim to provide.
  • March 20, 2018:  SfK Korea Board Meeting - This board meeting will consider important issues pertaining to its future direction, the addition of a new director and the launch of a new Kingdom Impact Fund. Please pray that the board members will seek unity in diversity. 
  • May 2018:  BAM Training in California - SfK Ministries will participate in equipping future trainers of BAM at a local church in California. Eventually, this church will plan to provide a platform for training, sourcing and marketing smaller churches in southern California  Please pray that this program will be productive and effective in developing a sound church model on BAM.  
May God bless you richly so that you may be greater blessing to many others around you!
Consider a charitable contribution in partnering with SfK
Donate Now
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

WorK: What Is It Good For?

Work: What Is It Good for?
Excerpt from The Missional Entrepreneur by Mark Russell

Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reportedly said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This statement reflects my fundamental assertion: Business should not be viewed as a tool to get through life, rather it should be considered an opportunity for spiritual living. We need to reorient our natural inclinations from the visible realm to the invisible one and realize that our faith and spiritual mission are integral to the visible human world.

Understanding the concepts of fundamental and instrumental value is critical to what I’m saying. Something of fundamental value means that it has inherent worth and its worth is not dependent on what it can do. Having instrumental value means that something’s worth is solely determined by what it does or produces.
Many people think that business is of purely instrumental value. In other words, business is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. However, we need to recognize that business is of both fundamental and instrumental value.
Living and working in business is, as we shall see, a way that we partner with God and live according to our created purpose. This gives it fundamental value. But business is also a means by which we produce and distribute goods and services allowing us to take care of one another and do other good works outside of the sphere of business. Thus business also has instrumental value. It is, unfortunate, however, that most people only see the instrumental value of work and business.
Through the centuries people’s perspectives on work have varied. Work has been elevated (think Karl Marx) and disdained (think teenagers cleaning up after a party). Regardless, work was originally viewed as a divine action. This view of work as a spiritual activity has been present throughout church history and was prominently emphasized by groups such as the Benedictines and the Puritans.
The Bible opens in Genesis 1 with the creation account. As the Scriptures say, God worked for six days to form the heavens and earth and everything in it.3 It is worth noting that there are many possible interpretations of the creation account in Genesis. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to remove the clear implications of work as a divine activity. Genesis 2:2 explicitly states that God finished his work and rested on the seventh day. This makes clear that the creation of the universe was to be perceived as work. At the end of Genesis 1, God creates humans in his image. In a very real sense this means, among other things, that humans were created to imitate God in certain respects, including work. After creating humans, God gives them the command to work (Genesis 1:26–28). Consider the flow of the passage: God worked; He created humans in his image; He directed the humans to go work. In the first two chapters of Genesis there are seven principles that should inform our view of work today:

1. Through work we are to be stewards of the earth (Genesis 1:28; 2:5–8, 15).
2. Using tools and making tools are an integral part of human existence (Genesis 2:15).
3. We are to be self-sustainers and producers, remembering God is the ultimate Provider (Genesis 1:28-30; 2:9).
4. We are to be appreciators of beauty (Genesis 2:9).
5. We are to work in partnership with one another (Genesis 2:18).
6. We are to work in partnership with our Creator (Genesis 2:19–20).
7. Work is fundamentally good, a source of joy, and makes rest enjoyable (Genesis 1:31–2:3).

In his critique of Adam Smith, considered by many the father of the modern economy, Karl Marx, considered by many the father of Communism, alludes to the fact that Smith inherited from the Bible the idea that work should be viewed as a curse.4 This idea of work as a curse has been prevalent throughout the centuries and remnants of this way of thinking are still found in church pews everywhere. However, it should be reemphasized that God worked and passed the work baton to humans before there are any mentions of any type of curse in the biblical account. Work is therefore best understood as an intrinsic part of our human spiritual experience. It is not the result of a curse. In fact it is the exact opposite; it is a blessing, part of our role in the world and something that we can do to serve each other, God, and the rest of creation.
This is not to say that weariness and dreariness are not aspects of work in our present situation. It is natural at times that work will not seem so spiritual. While writing this I became aware that I had a flat tire and spent a couple of hours changing the tire, going to get it fixed, etc. This did not feel like a spiritual exercise, especially since I enjoy writing about other people doing such a thing more than actually doing it myself. However, in the middle of the endeavor I realized that what I was doing was spiritual, and this helped me adapt my attitude and appreciate the experience, even if it was not exactly the way I prefer to spend my mornings. Now this may not strike you as particularly spiritual. How does “wasting” a day repairing a tire qualify as spiritual? It is spiritual in the sense that I was partnering with God by fixing and repairing a part of creation that is beneficial for contemporary life on this planet. For work to be spiritual it does not need to be anymore dramatic than that.
The difficulty and unpleasantness associated with work, according to the Genesis account, can be attributed to the wrongdoings of humanity. In Genesis 3:17, in response to Adam’s violation of His commands, God told him, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” Thus there is a scriptural warrant for saying that work to a degree is cursed. But what is most important to notice is that work was first and foremost a divine activity and that God invited humans to imitate him by working.
Work is truly a part of our essence. We are spiritual beings created by the Spiritual Being to do spiritual things and that includes work. In the beginning, work was a spiritual exercise. A lot has changed since the beginning. Adam and Eve failed to maintain God’s moral standard, resulting in the Fall. The world’s population has grown and professions have proliferated. Sin has expanded into all human endeavor, perhaps most obviously in business. Yet, despite ever-changing job descriptions and sin’s multiplication, work and business have not lost their spiritual core.