Oak Valley’s first Faith and Business Forum, on May 31, was a great success with multiple pastors and community leaders coming together to discuss the intersection of business, church, and ministry aspirations. Through an engaging panel discussion, the group explored practical approaches to engage business and church leaders to better serve the local and regional community.
Hilda Kennedy, Founder and President of Ampac Business Capital, discussed how she formed a ministry for business leaders at her church. She described how business leaders face the same kinds of struggles as anyone else and need to join together to share their challenges and celebrate their successes like any other “affinity” group churches commonly form.
Business owner Joe Annunziato, President and CEO of Cerenzia Foods, discussed how he works ministry into his workplace and how he has helped lead several ministry connections with his congregation, Water of Life, in Rancho Cucamonga. He also described both personal and spiritual experiences he has explored over decades of church and business leadership.
Ray Blom from The Corporate Advocate, discussed the myriad ways he has grown in his faith through his business endeavors, and how he is building a nonprofit faith-based staffing company, economic development enterprise, and employment ministry to serve San Bernardino through The Way World Outreach. His pastor, Marco Garcia, is a long-time business leader, so the linkages and opportunities to align a business and ministry mindset is ingrained in their church culture.
Finally, President Eric Blum, Oak Valley College, talked about the challenges and opportunities Oak Valley has faced in partnering with local churches throughout the regions, with some churches understanding the intersection of education, business, and ministry, while other pastors are seem a little more reluctant to embrace the connection. Oak Valley’s host and partner, Centerpoint Church, through Pastor Dane Aaker, embrace these principles and has served as a model partner to advance Oak Valley’s mission.