Glenn Melville directs the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning, the go-to place for church and mission leaders (paid and volunteer) for ongoing learning and new skills. 

Every so often, you meet people whose work is so incredibly inspiring that you want to drop everything and get involved in what they are doing. Bruce and Ann Borquist are such people, and recently I had the privilege of interviewing them. Here is what I discovered. 

Bruce and Ann Borquist are passionate about community development. They love to inspire people to imagine what their community could look like and empower them in practical ways to achieve that dream. They have a calling to teach and mentor organisations and churches to transition from an inward focus to outward-To expand their vision of the Kingdom of God to encompass the whole person and bring social and spiritual transformation to communities. 

They express this calling through their role as global workers through International Ministries-ABCUSA (American Baptist Foreign Mission Society). They serve at the invitation of mission partners in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Their work involves everything from establishing a bachelor's degree program in entrepreneurship for a Baptist University in the Philippines, mentoring students in South Asia and Brazil, and teaching a webinar in Ecuador on how to start up a faith-based social enterprise. Ann also currently works with Arotahi (NZBMS) as a pastoral support co-ordinator. 

Originally from Seattle (USA), they have now lived longer outside the USA than within. They first served outside the USA with the US peace corps in Ghana, West Africa, where they became followers of Jesus. They then spent nine years in the Philippines, eight years at the headquarters of their mission agency in the Philadelphia area, and 11 years in Brazil. In 2015, they moved to Wellington, which they now call home. They attend Wellington Central Baptist Church, where they are actively involved, which includes Ann serving as interim pastor in 2020. In their spare time, they are keen cyclists (eBike, of course) and are on a mission to try and find the best cheese scones in Wellington! 

They are both avid learners. Ann holds a Masters in Urban Planning, an MDiv, and a DMin (Leadership of Missional Church Renewal). Her doctorate research looked at how churches in Brazil transitioned from inward to outward facing. She asks, "How do we as leaders help our congregations make that transition, catch that vision for what God is doing in the world, and how God is inviting us to be part of that and not just take care of ourselves?" 

As well as an MBA, Bruce holds a PhD from Massey University in Entrepreneurship. His research focus arose following a "divine appointment" when he met with a professor at Massey University (Albany campus) who had written extensively on social entrepreneurship. He discovered that no one had researched how religious faith influences social entrepreneurship and ended up doing a doctorate with the professor as his supervisor! Bruce researched eight social enterprises in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam u2013 four faith-based and four secular. He found that while all shared the two bottom lines of social impact and sustainability, the faith-based enterprises added a third bottom line - impact in the context of the Kingdom of God. A key focus of his research was how these enterprises held the three bottom lines in tension. 

These findings have formed the basis for Bruce and Ann's courses on Christian Social Entrepreneurship. In recent years they have taught pastors serving poor communities in Ecuador and pastors in South Asia how Christian social entrepreneurship provides a vehicle to serve the economic needs of a community and open opportunities to talk about Jesus. 

To share just one story, they worked with a ministry that works with ethnic minority families that live in poverty. At their invitation, Bruce worked with the leaders to help create a financial management strategy. He and Ann also helped them with organisational change u2013 moving from a focus on caring for children to a ministry that takes care of children and their families. 

In April, Bruce and Ann will share what they learned about Christian Social Entrepreneurship through a webinar series for the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning. Designed as a taste and see, this series is "an introduction for those who are interested in finding creative and sustainable ways to engage in transformative ministries in their communities that address social and environmental issues" (Bruce). 

This series would suit churches that are already involved in serving their communities but are tied to the traditional charity model, which relies on the philanthropy of others. It will demonstrate how it is possible to bring about community transformation in a sustainable, effective way that does not create dependency and uses the resources of our communities and churches. 

They will share many examples from churches in the Baptist movement in New Zealand and worldwide. They will also provide resources and opportunities for networking. 

If you are interested in joining them for this four-part webinar series, or accessing the recordings, you can find out more and register here. The series starts on the 6th of April, 2023, and runs live at 1 pm for four Thursdays in a row. Recordings are made available the next day and can be watched anytime. 

For more information, Glenn can be contacted via email: Glenn Melville [email protected]  

ufeffPhoto supplied and used with permission by the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning. 

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