What in the world is the company—“Living Parables?”
When people learn that EABooks Publishing operates under the umbrella of Living Parables, our 501c3 nonprofit organization, I hear excitement—followed by a lot of questions.
Oh my—I’ve learned a lot and I hope it will be helpful to you!
Initially, I wasn’t planning on starting a publishing company or looking to open a non-profit organization. I was a traditionally published author who wanted wider distribution for my books with e-book sales.
After four months of trial and a lot of error, my tech friend Bob and I had released my first e-book. I said “Bob, I have a lot of author friends who don’t have a ‘Bob.” Would you be interested in helping them like you helped me?”
I only planned to help a few fellow authors, but God had other plans.
A few months later, I published my third book, Living the Story. It had been contracted, but the deal fell through when 9-11 happened. It was about what the Body of Christ might look like if we were the hands and feet of Christ.
During this same time, I attended a “grant” workshop at my alma mater, Asbury Theological Seminary. The room was full of approximately 100 Christian ministries. The workshop leader introduced herself, saying, “Before we begin, I just want to make it clear there is no money available for start-ups.”
I felt the air deflate in the room. As the day progressed and I heard the stories from these gifted workshop attendees with huge ministry visions, I heard the Lord telling me I couldn’t simply write about it—I was to help others with my gifts.
Many people want to know how to start their non-profit organization, and I ask: Can you accomplish your goals any other way?
The truth is that non-profits have many rules and regulations that may hamper your progress. The other part of this question is: Why do you want a non-profit? You can receive donations without being a non-profit if it is for donations. If your company donates, it is a tax write-off.
The reality is that most of us don’t need to start a non-profit to do what God has called us to do. Also, if non-profits are already doing what you believe God has called you to, why not link arms with them rather than reinventing the wheel?
Ask yourself: Could it be pride that is driving this desire? I can assure you that after ten years of running this non-profit, I am humbled. There is no way I have done anything without God’s grace and leadership.
All mistakes are mine—and all the good is from Him.
So, what are the biggest lessons learned?
- Everything takes longer than you planned. I thought we’d offer our first grants within a few years, and it took ten. I was not ready personally or spiritually.
- I needed to be in a healthier place, which took time. My board of directors was unprepared, but we stretched and struggled together and became a team.
- Finally, the publishing company wasn’t ready for this new phase of our growth. Growth must be well-managed, and I’ve made mistakes. Now we have the staff and processes in place for future growth.
- All of that took time. If I’d known it would take ten years to get there, perhaps I would not have stressed so much and enjoyed the journey.
- A prayer covering is primary. Regardless of what you do, you need prayer if you are in ministry.
- As the leader, you need to pray, but you also need a prayer team who will pray for you through every step, every decision, and every setback.
- As publishers and Christian authors, we are on the front lines. We are doing Kingdom work, and the enemy wants to take us down. He wants us to get our finances out of whack or our priorities wrong and our mission clouded. He wants to discourage and derail us, but we have a tool to fight that battle.
- Prayer opens our eyes to the ploys of the enemy—and it guards our hearts.
Whether God has called you to run a non-profit ministry or for ministry without that legal status, enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you or how long it takes you to get there.
Question: Have you considered going “non-profit,” or did God lead you in a different direction for your ministry?
About Cheri Cowell
Cheri Cowell is the founder and owner of EABooks Publishing, and author of Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life (Beacon Hill Press). Visit her at www.EABooksPublishing.com or www.CheriCowell.com.