“We’re excited about encouraging and helping others live out their dreams and make a positive impact on the community,” explained Lance Skiles, mobilization director at Mariners Church. “Serve Tank came out of the Dream Event, and we set aside money to help those with really good ideas.”
“The purpose of the Dream Event is to inspire our church to not only dream dreams of changing their communities and impacting the world at large, but also to realize that God has given them dreams,” Skiles continued. “We want people to get their dreams down on paper and into action. Dream is a fancy way of saying that God has given you a passion to do something to help others.”
Skiles said Mariners has held four Dream Events so far, with great results and increasing numbers. Each year different speakers encourage and inspire participants to identify and appreciate the way God designed them.
“God wants to use our life experiences, opportunities and passions to influence others,” Skiles said. “God created us with purpose and the Dream Event helps people to discover their dream, embrace their stories and activate their ideas. We believe God created each of us with a purpose to influence culture and change our world.”
Skiles’ job includes facilitating volunteers to engage in Outreach Ministries. He said that making a difference involves serving.
“If people haven’t been serving somewhere, they need to; if they’ve served locally, then we encourage them to serve overseas, experiencing another country and culture. If they’ve done both those, then they need to start dreaming of how God wants them to impact the world. If they already have the dream, then we have the Serve Tank opportunity to help them take the next step.”
Serve Tank is a different spin on the reality television series Shark Tank where budding entrepreneurs present ideas to business titans, or sharks, in hopes of convincing one of them to invest money in their idea.
“We set aside $100,000 to help those with well thought out plans,” Skiles explained. “We had 22 applications, and some just weren’t far enough along. We invited four to a pitch night where they presented the idea to a panel of eight, which included four from the business world and four from church.”
“For every idea that was pitched, there was a certain amount of money committed to each, and there were two coaches out of the panel for each idea – so each one left with a certain amount of money and a ministry coach and a business entrepreneurial coach to help make sure we’re making a good investment,” he said.
Skiles explained two ideas given funds to help them expand. One is Fristers, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting teenage mothers and their children. Fristers is founded on Christian principles and provides education, resources, role models and support. Their programs and services are provided free of charge regardless of religion or race. Money given through Serve Tank will help start Misters, a program to serve the fathers of the children or the significant others of the mothers, helping them be good fathers and husbands.
The second idea is to work with the Foursquare Missions Press to purchase a solar powered sustainable printing press for a small remote village in Uganda. The printing press will be able to print books for the local school, and print Bibles at a lower cost than ever before.
“We’ve learned a lot and are excited to see where God leads next,” Skiles said. “We’ll definitely do it again.”
The next Dream Event will be in the fall. To learn more, visit marinerschurch.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]