Someone sent me a post the other day about how a startup called Hoppit got an unusual amount of help from a church. Hoppit is a site that provides “highly curated recommendations for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and lounges based on your taste preferences.” Sounds like a good idea, right?
When founder Steve Dziedzic wasn’t able to get funding from TechStars, he entered and won a competition hosted by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The prize? $20,000 and connections to members of the church.
The post I linked to earlier by PandoDaily rightly quotes Redeemer’s mission statement to lend context to why a church would host such a competition:
“To build a great city for all people through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.”
I don’t know about you, but that mission resonates with me. It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:4-7:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ”Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Christians have been known to decry the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of the cultures in which we find ourselves. But Redeemer’s mission statement and the Jeremiah passage speak volumes about what it means to live and affect change in a broken world.
We ought to seek renewal for our culture and prosperity for our cities. For Redeemer, lending a helping hand (and a few thousand dollars) to a promising startup is one way to participate in that mission.
Your church may not have $20,000 and your community may not be teeming with startups, but I bet you could find ways to follow Redeemer’s example and participate in the same mission.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.