Douglas Howe

Insignia_2My work has always been bivocational. I was first a minister who was in the marketplace on the side, then in the marketplace with ministry on the side, and now I’m essentially doing both full time! Coming out of college, I took on a temporary leadership role with Young Life that turned into a 17-year career. I took advantage of Fuller’s partnership with Young Life to begin taking seminary classes, but really became serious once I took on a pastoral role at a Los Angeles-area church and saw the importance of deepening my theological understanding.

Just after finishing my Fuller degree I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to plant a church for people who didn’t go to church. We wanted to reach influencers and affluencers for Christ—and over the next five years we saw that church grow to over 1,000. I then felt a call to step more fully into the marketplace, and today I’m chief people officer at Sugar Creek Packing Company. I’ve found I’m better able to speak to the real needs of those in the marketplace when I’m working there myself.

Most exciting to me is what we’re doing through the Insignia Foundation, which I founded five years ago as a kind of adult version of Young Life. Our goal is to help people make the mark they were created to make. We do that through events like “Thoughts on the Rocks”—what I call happy hour with a purpose—where 50 or 60 men will gather after work, have a glass of wine or coffee, and then wrestle with questions in table discussion groups that lead into biblical principles. We also invite men on “adventure” outings—fishing, golfing—with that same underlying purpose. People who are unchurched will come to events like these. Little by little they get drawn into God’s kingdom work.

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I learned quite a bit at Fuller about how to leverage the scriptures without pounding the pulpit; to invade with the truth and disciple those who don’t know they’re being discipled. Chap Clark taught me that wherever we go, our first job is to build community: We’ve got to be God’s people together before we have anything to give away. Bill Dyrness and Rich Mouw taught me to spend more time asking questions than delivering answers, more time in storytelling than fact presenting. From them and so many other gifted leaders at Fuller, I gleaned the tools and theological depth that empower me to do what I’m doing today.

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