Easy Money for Ministry

Buy a candle from Diane Lovell, and as you enjoy the scents of mango and papaya, know that the lost are being ministered to in Nicaragua.

Savor a plate of Lloyd Runnett’s barbecue, and realize his church’s good works are being expanded.

Lovell and Runnett have tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit that is becoming a Boomer trademark. A new study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found those ages 55 to 64 have a higher rate of entrepreneur-ism than do those between the ages of 20 to 34.

But for many Boomers, raising quick cash is not about building a business or pocketing extra income but advancing God’s kingdom.

Those who want to raise cash for ministry should focus on what they know. And that’s exactly what Runnett and Lovell have done.

Barbecue for Benefit

Runnett, a retired firefighter, first learned to cook in the firehouse. By the time he bought and adapted his smoker, the “Chopping Road Beast,” barbecue sauce was in his veins.

Unlike a lot of serious barbecuers, 52-year-old Runnett has skipped the competition circuit and focuses his efforts on fund­raisers, primarily for his church and programs it supports, such as Young Life.

“I can do more good this way,” Runnett says. “I was taught at an early age that it’s our responsibility to look after one another. I’d rather help people and do things that make life better than I would just about anything.”

When his church and community were damaged in the 2011 earthquake that struck Virginia, Runnett provided barbecue for a fundraiser that earned $55,000 to help rebuilding efforts.

He also barbecued chickens to thank those who came to town with a disaster relief ministry. But Runnett’s church counts on him most for twice-a-year fundraisers for Young Life and the Faith Works annual fundraiser that benefits the church’s benevolent fund.

Barbecuing is a long effort. When a whole pig is on the cooker, it may need tending for 20 hours. But the waiting and watching provide time to pray and listen, so the long nights of stoking the fire and slathering on the sauce aren’t tiring for Runnett.

“There’s the Bible passage about not getting weary while you’re working,” he says. “This gets me excited, and it makes it easier. It’s a blessing to be able to serve by doing something I’m passionate about and want to do really well.”

And out of that passion, Runnett has found that blessing others blesses him even more. He’s had so many requests for his barbecue for private events that he’s created a side business, Muddy Boots BBQ. But that won’t take the focus off his tireless barbecuing for ministries. “I try to bless people, but when I do, God reaps more blessings on me. I’m trying to help somebody out and He provides for me, which gives me the opportunity to help others. It’s contagious.”

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SOURCE: Life Way – Sandy Smith
Sandy Smith is a writer and editor based in Nashville. She’s been known to enjoy both barbecue and candles.

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