Owning the Pond Together: developing communities through entrepreneurship

Click here to pre-register for the conference! Registrations will be accepted onsite, beginning at 8:30am. Click here to view the conference schedule. $12 delicious and freshly-prepared box lunches will be available for purchase through Sacred Grounds coffee shop. Orders must be placed and paid for at the registration table by 9:00am.

People often think of caring for the poor in terms of giving them fish to eat, or better, teaching them to fish. Neither approach moves us beyond charity which keeps the poor dependant on us and is demeaning to their humanity. Community development involves partnering with the poor to own the pond. How do we sustain such community development? In our day, it involves thinking very creatively, including fostering micro-enterprise. It is crucially important that we move beyond charity toward cultivating community development, and strengthen and sustain community development through effective business practices. Only in this way can we own the pond together, and protect our community from being sold out to the highest bidder. Dr. John M. Perkins, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, Pastor Eric Bahme, and Tony Kriz will assist us in understanding the importance of this approach, and how to move forward with putting these principles into practice. Following their lead, churches can help form local enterprises that meet local needs and employ indigenous people. This will involve partnering with the poor, sharing skills and economic resources and investing capital in order that the poor will have ownership in the community. Churches can also become partners together to foster ownership of businesses among the local people. Such actions will mean giving wealthy individuals the opportunity to invest in something of greater value than the stock market. For as Jesus said, whatever you do for the least of his brothers, you do it for him (Matt. 25:40).

New Wine’s annual spring conference will be held Saturday, April 10th from 9:00am – 4:00pm at Eastside Foursquare Church (9727 NE Sandy Blvd.). The day will feature sessions with Dr. John M. Perkins, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, Pastor Eric Bahme, and Tony Kriz.

Want to join us for the day? Click here to register for the conference.


  1. Ronaldo A. Sison

    This is a beautiful! It captures the whole paradigm of “managing the pond together” without respect to race, class or gender!

  2. Ron Swaren

    Why should churches “foster ownership of businesses?” People, from churches, can do whatever they want. But churches, themselves, should honor their membership covenants and act as a source of good citizenship, i.e. upholding laws. Churches are non-profits, deriving tax benefits as long as they uphold their mutual covenant with the entire society. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened very well, even among so-called “evangelical” churches. Getting too involved with private enterprise compromises their non-profit status. Also, why should churches continue to work in “minority” neighborhoods. Our governments already have an intense bias towards “minorities” and it is those groups that reap the benefit in the form of better family unity.

  3. New Wine Newsletter: Spring 2010 | New Wine, New Wineskins

    […] Please enjoy the latest news from New Wine! In this issue, New Wine interns Kelsi Johns and Rachel O’Brien, New Wine Administrative Coordinator Beyth Hogue, and New Wine director Dr. Paul Metzger reflect on entrepreneurship, community, and ministry. Plus, see what’s in store for Owning the Pond Together: developing communities! […]

  4. Ron Swaren

    I don’t dispute that individual believers can patronize selected businesses, become involved in social programs, donate to philanthropic outreaches, vote for certain candidates, prefer one retailer over another, etc. However, I have recently come to question more of the assumptions pertaining to cultural disadvantages that seem common, today, in the academic and political world.

    I know studies can show certain things. By, experience, however, I have seen some others:
    1. People can do things wrong, from a moral or Christian point of view, yet they establish bonds that help them succeed. Example, the unwed couple expecting a baby—who go on to a solid marriage and family life. ( By “solid” I don’t necessarily mean they are spiritual, but that they achieve what they want.) Certain ethnic minorities seem to be especially good at doing this. These people also seem to be better at manipulating others to achieve their goals.
    2. People in “impoverished” communities often develop their own set of standards. I.e., they start living by their own rules, and the law is too busy to deal with it. Example, a black man I worked with related to me how, after one career ended, he opened up a “speakeasy” nightclub in his basement. He also told me that many black ministers were pimps! There is also a huge underground economy or black market in this country, with people making good money at things they do not report—-and which might not be discussed in studies. In my work, I started discovering that nearly everyone, seriously, was involved in work they did not report as earnings and in other fleecings of the public purse.
    3. Many white people, I have started noticing this in churches, end up living emotionally isolated lives. Maybe they want to, I don’t know. Sometimes really attractive women get so many men pursuing them that they just close the door to life, unable to handle it any longer. Some Christians earnestly try to live by the rules and suffer persecution from secular society.

    I am not saying these are axiomatic. What I am saying is that there is a lot of practical variety.

    I know that the support of business enterprises has become a way of trying to help people who are economically disadvantaged. (Disadvantaged—that’s an older word that tends to not have racial or ethnic connotations). For example, the Grameen bank and micro-enterprise have become well know tools for doing this. I tend to believe in home ownership (which can easily come about through owner builder programs) is the best antidote to poverty. Either approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

    I agree that “wealthy individuals” should have” the opportunity to invest in something of grater value.” I wish the Pamplins would stop giving money to that black hole—Lewis and Clark College!

  5. Beyth Hogue GreenetzBeyth Hogue

    Hi Jon,

    We certainly hope to offer recordings, though we cannot promise. If they are available, they’ll be posted on the website (under the “podcast” section). Thanks for your interest!

  6. Phil

    This was a great conference! Some things of note would be the afternoon session lead by Tony Kriz. The AM session helped frame our thoughts and give inspiration, but the afternoon session gave us an opportunity to get some of the wheels in motion regarding how to apply what we were learning. I hope this will be a beginning for several community building efforts, and the strengthening of several neighborhoods across the NW!!

  7. Dave Martin

    I left the conference Saturday afternoon feelling distinctly ambivalent. On one hand, I applaud Pastor Bahme and his ministry for moving into the community on so many levels, and yet staying true to the heart of the Gospel: “You must be born again.” On the other hand, I got the impression that many of the other well-intentioned activists present are doing work that could be (and is) done just as well by good-hearted non-Christians. The heart of the Gospel–the atoning work of Jesus on the cross–was conspicuously absent. It is possible, and crucial, for us who know Christ to address all kinds of human need as He did, and yet to keep people’s greatest need–for forgivess of sin through repentance and faith in Him–uppermost in our minds at all times. If we don’t, all of our community development efforts amount to “giving a person a fish”: we feed them for a day while they remain spiritually lost and without hope.