In February 2015, author and speaker Ray Edwards held his first iteration of “Permission To Prosper”, a conference dedicated to training people to blend their spiritual and business life in way that yields supernatural results and affects positive, powerful change in the world.
I’ve written about Ray several times before, and his impact on my life and business are undeniable. So while I really, really treasure Ray, I am also sharing with you, the reader, my honest feedback about the event and why it’s necessary.
1. “Everyday” people need to be affirmed and equipped for the frontlines of ministry, because that’s where they are.
If you are a Christian … and NOT a full-time vocational minister … I hope you understand this: you are still on the frontlines of what God is doing. Actually, you may well BE the frontline.
Having served for many years in full-time vocational ministry, I can tell you this: you have the potential to directly reach, serve, and bless more people that don’t know Christ than most of your church leaders.
Don’t get me wrong, churches are important. But when I served in ministry, I was so busy running the church that the only non-Christians I seemed to ever meet were the people that handed me my Starbucks drink or pumped my gas. Most pastors can attest to this. You are on the frontlines, and should be equipped as such.
2. As the local church continues to de-centralize, so the global church must mobilize.
I recently caught up with several friends. I asked, “So, where are you going to church these days?” The responses:
- “Nowhere. I watch Steven Furtick online. I love his style.”
- “Dude, I don’t go anywhere. I watch Bethel with [wife] at home, we pray together, and I lead worship. It’s awesome.”
- “I don’t go — we hardly know anyone, the place is too big, and the sermon is on video anyways. It’s like going to a movie theater. I can just watch at home, like Netflix.”
Before you start throwing stones, I’d like to put on my marketing hat for a moment and tell you: this trend will only continue. There’s no use trying to fight it. On-demand consumption of content is the new norm, church-related or not.
One of my close friends is a brilliant lead pastor, and one-tenth of his congregation watches online. That’s 1,000 people, 100 of which tune in via their broadcasts.
That said, if people are not “going” to church, neither will they be “taking” their friends to a service. Rather than try to fight this trend (I still think it’s good to “go” to church), my pastoral self says, “We still need to equip all these people that are staying home for church to go and make disciples of all nations.”
When I met the attendees at Ray’s Permission To Prosper, I knew I was standing with the church even though it wasn’t a church.
3. The “everyday” person has more reach because of the internet.
Every week, I speak to 300+ people (larger than the vast majority of churches in the U.S.). I do it through a podcast. Lest you think I’m a big deal, some of my podcasting friends are reaching ridiculous numbers of people.
Since I don’t know Ray’s numbers for his excellent podcast, The Ray Edwards Show (it’s likely astronomical), I’ll talk about another friend whose numbers I do know since he posted them on Facebook.
My friend Jeff Brown from the Read To Lead podcast (one of my favorites, it’s how I cull my reading list) reached over 400,000 people in February 2015. 400,000 people — as in, human beings!
And these folks aren’t “pretending” to listen, like the guy in the 3rd pew checking his ESPN fantasy team stats during the 2nd point of the sermon on Leviticus 5. These people are willingly putting Jeff’s mellifluous voice into their ears.
That’s influence. Oh, and Jeff is a Christian. (And yes, you should subscribe to his podcast on iTunes by clicking here right now.)
While Jeff himself wasn’t there (shucks), Permission To Prosper attracts people who understand the power an online presence carries, and equips them to leverage it for godly influence in whatever sector they are in, like Jeff is already doing.
4. People aren’t sure how to best weave their faith into their personal brand.
The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is talk to someone who does. One person who does: Ray Edwards (and all his friends).
I had an amazing time with Ray, copywriting superstar (and best MC ever) Marshall Bone, speaker and trainer Kary Oberbrunner, Evernote guru Andy Traub, podcaster Jody Maberry, business leader Ann Vertel, publisher David Hancock and a ton of other people — including the amazing folks in my mastermind, The Regency Group.
These were all successful people that thoughtfully and tactfully weave their faith into their business and brand. I learned from every single one of them.
5. Events officially validate trends.
Seemingly random question: why do we have wedding ceremonies? By the letter of the law, you can get married by simply signing a piece of paper.
The reason (other than it’s fun to dress up and spend lots of money) is that we use the event to validate something that has already happened. The event makes it “official” when it comes to our emotions and psyche.
All the trends in points 1-4 are in full effect. But an event like Permission To Prosper validates those trends by simply taking place. It gives form to what is happening organically.
That in itself makes the event “prophetic”, meaning it is declaring something that is true now and stating it to be true later in time.
What I loved about Permission To Prosper:
- Amazing people. The conference wasn’t overwhelmingly large. There were less than 100 people, so I got to spend a lot of time with folks from my mastermind group and several new friends.
- Good mix of spiritual and practical content. While some may have felt it was heavy on the former, I’d chalk this up to Ray and his core beliefs. If you’ve listened to even on podcast episode of his, you’d understand.
- Altar call at a business conference. Yes, that really happened. I have pictures to prove it, or better yet go to Ray’s Facebook page to see them all.
- San Diego in February. It was -4 degrees when I left NY, it was 70 degrees when I landed. I still rage with jealousy and envy of all San Diegoians.
- Marshall Bone’s son Ian. He should become a mainstay. Ian told me quite frankly, “Mr. Kim, you can’t get rich working for someone else.” He figured that out about 29 years earlier than I did. Gosh.
- I got to speak. That was a huge honor.
The one thing I’d love to see at future iterations of this conference is for the sessions to mirror Ray’s podcast. His show has a great balance between his Tip of the Week segment, Spiritual Foundations, and business advice.
For this event, there was a heavier lean on Spiritual Foundations but again — I can totally understand that given the situation. I really do feel this event was the small start of something big, and hope Ray does this again.
There is a definitely a need, and I recommend you subscribe to his mailing list to keep up to date with him in case. (Plus you get some awesome free videos).
(Just so you know, Ray did not solicit or compensate me for this article in anyway.)
Did you attend Permission To Prosper? What was your big takeaway?
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