Date & Timestamp : MAY 17
originally published, 2006
The birth of a vision for Albania
For twenty years, Albania has been on the heart of Regent alum Rich Hunter (MBA ’96). After finishing his studies, the Lord began to show him plans for the future–plans that involved both business and missions. In 1999, Rich started Novo Solutions, a software company in Virginia Beach specializing in customer support and knowledge management software. In 2004, God began to unveil a vision for the transformation of the country. The next year the Lord brought Rich and Dr. Roberts together at the BAM conference; through continued discussion and prayer God made it clear they were to go to Albania.
Early seeds for a Kingdom business conference
Inspired by an RCE Business as Mission (BAM) conference in 2005, Rich Hunter (MBA ’96) and School of Global Leadership and
Entrepreneurship professor Dr. Gary Roberts decided to do a similar conference in Albania, partnering with YWAM Director and businessman Grant Van Cleve. They envisioned a conference to teach the fundamentals of how Biblical business principles can be applied to influence and transform society. It was natural for RCE to come alongside to support this work. In addition to sponsoring the conference and helping obtain copyright permissions, RCE also invested seed money in a remote Internet training package (notebook, projector and web cam) to facilitate ongoing training of Albanian believers in business.
Conference & Topics
The Albania Kingdom Business conference was held in Tirana, Albania on June 9-10, 2006. Topics included research on the role of religion in the workplace, God’s view of work, the characteristics of kingdom business (KB), ethics in business, servant leadership, and how each of these effects transformation in a society.
The impact of the KB conference was immediate. Saviola Shakollari and Elton Baxhahu reported immediate benefit from applying the management principles taught at the conference in their organizations. They were transformed by the knowledge that their work is a ministry field and provides important opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ. Another conference attendee was visibly moved as he described how the conference material generated a personal paradigm shift by linking Christianity with the realms of business, commerce and societal transformation. Eralda Caushi and her fiancé applied for admission to Regent as a direct result of the conference, and Genard Hajdini (Regent School of Business alum) was supportive of developing a Regent University Tirana campus.
The last session of the conference involved discussions about next steps – what should be done to start implementing some of the transformational principles? The group decided to meet once during the summer and begin monthly meetings starting in September. These meetings will be to encourage each other in the kingdom business principles, share with each other about their businesses, develop and adhere to a business code of ethics, etc. One of the major long term goals is to develop a Christian business association to serve as the foundation for societal influence strategies.
Rich Hunter, Gary Roberts, and YWAM Director and businessman Grant Van Cleve, along with local Christian leaders and the Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue to work together in follow-up sessions (remote and in-country), committed to seeing equipped, empowered and connected Christian Albanians transform their nation for Christ.