In an effort to help Live Intentionally readers reach their dreams and inspire others, I’ve invited you to share your dreams. Every Friday I’ll feature another reader & their dream. Today’s post is by Paul Wilson Jr…
In our communities today it’s easy to see the problems of crime, homelessness, poverty, illiteracy, disease, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, abuse, corrupt leadership, and so on. What is much harder to see, though, are the solutions to the myriad of problems that are negatively impacting the lives of children and adults in our communities every day.
The Bible says that prayer not accompanied by action is worthless (James 2:17). Therefore, in addition to praying for the world, there is something else that I’m committed to doing. I am a “Dream Catalyst”, leading people to unleash God’s potential and power in their lives. I am a “Visioneer”, committed to empowering people to execute positive possibilities in situations that others only see as problems.
I have a global vision to see impoverished communities uplifted and advanced through a global entrepreneurial network that provides spiritually empowered economic development and sustainability solutions. This B.I.G. – Bold, Innovative, God-Inspired – dream was dramatically shaped by an incredible experience I had a few years ago.
In October 2006 I had a life changing, paradigm shifting experience. On my first trip across the ocean, I had the incredible opportunity to go on a missions trip to Rwanda. I came back from that trip with a whole new perspective on the world and an entirely new outlook on Africa. Before going, I thought I recognized them as human beings with hopes, dreams, feelings, issues, challenges, etc.
Nevertheless, as crazy as this is going to sound, seeing them face to face and spending time with them gave me such a new and powerful appreciation for their humanity and dignity as human beings. For the first time, I saw Africans as my true brothers and sisters. But not just Africans. I began to see all people around the world as my brothers and sisters. I also gained a better understanding of poverty.
Poverty is such an oppressive institution that it often drives people who feel powerless to do desperate things, and in African countries and elsewhere that often involves violence. One of the keys to reducing this violence is to reduce peoples’ feelings of powerlessness and purposelessness. That’s why I believe equipping people with entrepreneurial skills and resources, teaching them Biblical principles of purpose, and working to change oppressive governmental policies, will help to empower the less fortunate economically, spiritually, and socially.
It is possible to engineer practical solutions that can be utilized to improve the lives of billions of people, from America to Africa to Asia. I also believe the most overlooked and untapped resources needed to improve these communities already exist within those communities.
In order for this dream to become a reality, it is imperative that we start bringing together entrepreneurially-minded people from corporations, small businesses, faith-based organizations, advocacy agencies, and other relevant groups to develop comprehensive yet practical solutions that will propel people to improve their lives.
These collaborative teams need to be willing and able to think beyond traditional community development models and failed experiments of the past. From an entrepreneurial perspective, there has to be a willingness to take risks and try new approaches that have never been attempted before.
The process of engineering a community empowerment plan such as this takes passion, time, strategic planning, creativity, innovation, discipline, and patience. Shortcuts are not an option. And neither are quick fixes.
If economic empowerment and community development are areas that you are passionate about, here are some things that you can begin doing today to make a difference:
- Start seeing situations through the perspective of possibility versus the purview of problems. Your perspective of a situation will change your response to the situation. Nothing is impossible.
- Talk passionately about your ideas with other people. You never know what type of resources someone else may have to invest in your vision. However, because most people are probably going to be more pessimistic than you are, don’t allow them to dampen your enthusiasm.
- Collaborate and brainstorm potential solutions with other like-minded people. You don’t have to be a “lone ranger.” You may have only one piece of the solution puzzle while someone else may have another.
- Start small. You don’t need a complex strategic plan to begin to implement your ideas. Starting small is probably the best way to test some of your ideas to see if they work before trying to impact a large group of people.
- Be the change you want to see in your community. It starts with you. Don’t complain about something that you’re contributing to or that you’re not willing to do anything about.
One of the things that people need the most, but is in short supply is… hope. They need more than just hope, though. They need hope that’s backed by action. They need to be equipped with knowledge, skills, tools, and encouragement to succeed, so they can develop and execute a vision for their lives that is greater than what they may have ever thought was possible.
There is no problem in this world that cannot be solved with the right combination of faith in God, passion, ideas, time, money, and perseverance. The question is are you going to be a “problem-peddler” or a problem-solver? I hope you will choose the latter.
Join me today to “visioneer” practical solutions that will empower millions of people to live healthy, whole, and holy lives.