Kickstarter: “Friends and Partners”

   Written by on January 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

logo-smith-gregIn his blog, inventor and writer Dan Provost writes about the process of creating and mar-keting his invention, the Glif, a tripod mount for the iPod that doubles as a stand. Provost tells how he and his friend Tom first designed the simple gizmo on paper, improved the design through a computer program, and got it printed on a 3D print-er, working out the bugs along the way. To fund the mass pro-duction and sale of their inven-tion, they turned to Kickstarter, an online agency that matches inventors with investors. Unlike big corporate deals, these inves-tors are generally average people like you and me. By pledging to purchase an item once it reaches production, they enable the in-ventors to sell the product based on the idea, rather than having to mass produce the merchan-dise and sell it post-produc-tion. The investors are actually buyers, purchasing the product ahead of production schedule. For most inventors, the con-cept is the easy part. Finding partners to help create a pro-totype and fund production—that’s something else entirely. Kickstarter bridges that gap by crowdfunding, finding partners to help amateur inventors break into a difficult business. Last week I pointed out that, “God still works through vision-aries, Christ-followers who see the problems in our world and have enough faith to fix them.” Perhaps, like the Old Testament character Joseph, God has given you a vision of a brighter future. Or maybe, like another Joseph in the New Testament, you have dreamed of a solution to a prob-lem you see in our world. It all begins with dreams and ideas. For example, the church on your corner or the one you attend was established by someone who had a dream of a place where peo-ple could worship, learn, and grow in their relationship with God. But it took more than an idea. It took friends and part-ners to make that dream a re-ality. About partnership and friendship, The Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes says: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down to-gether, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Throughout the Bible, we read of great heroes of the faith who succeed not on their own, but because they partner with others to make dreams a reali-ty. In a time of danger, Morde-cai relied on his niece Esther to carry out the plan to save their people. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, knowing the strength in friendship and part-nership. Paul never did his mis-sionary work alone, but always together with companions like Silas, Timothy, and Barnabas. These champions of faith knew the secret we find in the book of Ecclesiastes: that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. What does this mean? While one strand may be strong, and two twisted together may be stronger, a braided cord is strongest of all. Two twisted strands represent friends who work toward a common goal, but the third strand in a braid is a picture of God’s partnership with them. As God binds friends together, great things can be ac-complished. Today I wonder, what vision has God given you, and how can you partner with others to make that dream a reality? Maybe, like Esther, God has brought you to your church or your community “for such a time as this,” so that you can communicate your ideas for new ministries or outreaches with others who can help make them happen. In my town of South Boston, Virginia, Bonita Nelson is one such visionary who has part-nered with others to make mir-acles happen. She told me, “I have been dealing with home-less people probably ten years. About two years ago, God spoke to me and said, ‘You’re going to open a home for these people.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not. I don’t have the resources or the education. I’m old.’ But [God’s voice] kept coming back, ‘You’re going to open a shelter.’” Inspired by the Matthew West song, “Do Some-thing”, she began a ministry of the same name. That song says: ***
I woke up this morning Saw a world full of trou-ble now, thought How’d we ever get so far down, and How’s it ever gonna turn around So I turned my eyes to Heaven I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?” Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of People living in poverty Children sold into slavery The thought  disgusted me So, I shook my fist at Heaven Said,  why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, yeah, I created you” (now listen) If not us, then who If not me and you Right now, it’s time for us to do something As of December, Do Some-thing has opened a house called The Passage Place, located at 1332 Moore Street in South Bos-ton, to serve as transitional housing and an education center for people in need. In the be-ginning, a different building was donated for the cause. Because it required too much renovation, it was sold and the proceeds went into The Passage Place. Generous donations from oth-er sources including churches, individuals, and organizations, have brought The Passage Place to the point of recent opening. At The Passage Place, ap-plicants who are approved will receive counseling, Christian teaching, aid for getting clean and sober, classes on budgeting, life-skills, and help being pro-ductive citizens. They will also receive assistance getting jobs and new places to live. Room and board will be provided free of charge to those receiving care, but will be funded by donations. Nelson explains that The Pas-sage Place is not a homeless shelter, but a transition min-istry. There, struggling people will move from a “can’t do it” mindset to a “can-do” attitude. If you would like to contribute, you can make a check out to “Do Something” and send your tax-deductible donation to: Do Something
P.O. Box 144
South Boston VA 24592

Just like Kickstarter inven-tors need partners to get their businesses off the ground, min-istries like Do Something need friends to come alongside and give their financial and practical support. Maybe you’ve got some time or money you can donate to help see a charity like this get started. Or, maybe like Bonita Nelson, you also have a dream. I challenge you not to keep it inside—but talk with friends, pastors, and others who can make that dream possible, who can help you to “do something.” Endnotes
1 Provost, Dan. “Idea to Market in 5 Moths: Making the Glif.” The Russians Used a Pencil: A Blog about Simplicity. November 22, 2017. 2 3 Smith, Greg. Spirit and Truth # 553. Kickstarter: “I Have a Dream.” 2017. 4  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV 5  Esther 4:14 NV 6 Matthew West. “Do Some-thing.” Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Released 2012. com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8. November 22, 2017. ©2018 by Gregory T. Smith.
Reprinted with permission revgregsmith.

About Greg Smith

Greg Smith is a Baptist minister who has served churches in Central and Southside Virginia. He lives in Halifax County, VA with his wife and children. To read more of Greg’s writings check out his blog at


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