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Chris Paulk: Business As Mission

Updated: May 28

Married and graduating from Georgia Tech, Chris Paulk feels the call to missions. He moves to Brazil and becomes active in campus ministry.

After eight weeks, responding to his grandfather's request, Chris returns to Georgia to help in the family business.

Paulk Vineyards is a family business started by his grandfather. It has grown to 600 acres of vineyards. At age forty-five, Chris' grandfather, Papa Jacob, recovers from quintuple bypass heart surgery with a renewed commitment to healthy living. His healthy living philosophy ultimately promotes the business to great success.

But, the selling season for fresh muscadine grapes is a short eight weeks. Every year there are a lot of grapes that are too ripe to sell on the fresh market. These grapes amount to a lot of waste.

"Your dad and I have all we can do farming 600 acres of vineyards. Come home and help us make products from these muscadines we can't sell," his grandfather says.

Could the family business serve as Chris' mission opportunity? How might the family business satisfy his calling to Christian mission?

Chris considers how his Papa Jacob has cared for his employees. His right-hand man, Mr. James, an African American, has seven children, and Papa Jacob is financially involved in their education. They all become successful in their areas of desire: F.B.I., Coca-Cola, marketing, and business. The children are dedicated to making a profit, blessing their communities, and advancing their purpose.

Chris ponders how Mr. James leans into Papa Jacob and how Papa Jacob leans into Mr. James and his family. Mr. James is like another grandfather to Chris. The relationship between Papa Jacob and Mr. James brings blessing to everyone around them.

It is clear to Chris that Papa Jacob plays a divine role in Mr. James’ and his children's lives. He does this with many more employees. Mr. James is one of many.

Papa Jacob shows up to work every day and genuinely desires his employees to be better off for having worked at Paulk Vineyards. His care goes beyond making sure they are well compensated. Their relationships, spiritual growth, and physical wellness matter to Papa Jacob.

Chris concludes that following the family tradition established by his grandfather to make a profit, bless the community, and advance Paulk Vineyard's purpose will allow him to fulfill his call to divine mission, and returns to Georgia.

That was twenty years ago now. Today Chris Paulk works hard to be present for his employees. He never stops asking, "How can I invest in them?" If they have a flat tire, Chris comes alongside and helps them change it or connects them with someone who can help. "I enjoy surprising them with an occasional splurge, like paying for a parent's funeral or other unexpected gifts."

Every second and fourth Tuesday, Chris gives life application lessons over lunch. Attendance is voluntary—and may be about finances, relationships, or, just recently, excuses. Employees come and find hope and encouragement for a better life.

Chris has found his seed (purpose). Making an impact in his employees’ lives feels divine and makes him leap with joy. When life breaks their hearts, his heart is broken with them. He is writing a fantastic story through his life and business.

Following his grandfather's example, Paulk Vineyards is doing business as a divine mission. It makes a profit, blesses its community, and advances its purpose.

Maximizing significance flows from finding your purpose. To help you maximize your significance, like Chris, use my Cultivating Impact Business Impact Plan. It's free, my gift to you. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

Harry T. Jones P.S. Get my free gift, Cultivating Impact Business Impact Plan today.

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