Corban launches Business as Mission venture

Friday, September 2, 2011


When it comes to investments, Corban’s Indonesian partnership with Universitas Pelita Harapan is paying big dividends.

Between May 27 and June 4, Corban University Provost Dr. Matt Lucas led a contingent of nine to Indonesia where they were able to meet with some of that nation’s top movers and shakers. The result was a further development of a vision for the future where Corban University takes its mission, “to educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ,” to a whole new level. 

“We can see the impact and see the map grow as we become globally engaged,” Lucas said. “It was an education for all of us to see the results of a clear vision for what someone wants to accomplish. It was a fascinating experience to sit there with the top echelons of people, including billionaires, who were all sold out for Jesus Christ and were all using their wealth to change Indonesia.”

Three key components became apparent to each of the Business as Mission attendees. The first was how many opportunities Corban has to play a substantial role in Business as Mission.

“We had to identify what it looks like to do Business as Mission,” Lucas said. “What it looks like is what is happening in Indonesia. It’s committing your resources to change a society and advance the Gospel. It’s what businessman Dick Withnell has done locally. After being on this trip he came back saying ‘we can do it better and we can do it bigger.’

 “We want Corban to be the center for Business as Mission in the Northwest,” Lucas added. “We don’t want to be the ones doing it, but to be the ones networking those who are. We want to be able to show them how to do it and do it better.”

The second key component was the need for Christian business education at Universitas Pelitas Harapan. Faculty at Corban University’s School of Business are considering whether to send a contingent of graduating seniors to Indonesia to study and learn about global business.  Corban may also bring a group of UPH students to Corban/Salem and allow them to spend time with Christian business leaders.

“We really need to create a collaboration between the UPH Business School and ours,” said Associate Professor of Business Don Leavitt.  “We need to exchange both faculty and students so that we can better understand the needs of Indonesia.  Another area will be in outreach to the village schools by arraigning for our students to go to Indonesian and teach best business practices to all the entrepreneurs.”

The third component focused on what can happen when a small amount of money is loaned to help impoverished people start their own businesses.

“We sat on the floor with 40 Christian, Muslim and Hindu women who were talking about their microfinance business and their co-op,” Lucas said. “Their excitement was palpable as they talked about profit margins and best business practices. We sat at the micro level and watched them figure this out.”

While discussions are still in early stages,  Lucas said he wants to see a partnership with World Vision that could enable Corban business majors (in the Corban Consulting Partners program) to write curriculum to be used in teaching microfinance in Indonesia. Lucas envisions a day when students could go to Indonesia and teach the curriculum to recipients of microfinancing.

The end result of each of these components includes enhanced relationships with Christians who are worlds apart but sharing a common vision of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

“It isn’t something that just helps the people of Indonesia,” Lucas said. “The people who went on this trip came back inspired, transformed and ready to do something here.  In Salem, Corban isn’t just a school on a hill. It represents the graduates who are living out our mission. Business as Mission is just one way we hope they will do that.”

“I could not say enough about UPH and Corban relationship,” Leavitt said.  “The work the School of Education has done to assist them with their Teachers College has been a thing to marvel at.  I seriously believe that this relationship has been and will be a defining work for Corban as we become a global influence in education and Business as Mission.”

Business as Mission Attendees
Dr. Matt Lucas – Corban University Provost
Dr. Bryce Bernard – Corban University Accounting Professor
Don Leavitt – Corban University Associate Professor of Business
Dick Withnell – Retired CEO of Withnell Dodge and Hyundai 
Mike McLaran – Western Association of Chamber Executives, Vice Chairman of the Board  
Mike Mellace – Founder of the Mama Cares Foundation and former owner of Mellace Family Brands 
Sue Prettyman – VisionFund International, Director of Marketing Operations
John Warton – Corban University Adjunct Business Professor, CEO of the Business Professional Network
Dr. Larry Sharp – Executive Director of IBEC Ventures


BAM team members gather for a meeting with Indonesian officials.

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