The Beginning

In the early 1990s, a young missions-driven real estate developer named Tim Shrout discovered a unique marketplace opportunity. The government was piloting a new grant program to incentivize non-profit organizations to buy and manage affordable apartments. It was a public-private partnership aimed at solving a looming national housing crisis.

Tim’s entrepreneurial mind began dreaming of a non-profit affordable housing company that could leverage this opportunity for the Great Commission. Not only could this new business sustain affordable housing for people who need it, the profits could fund priority global missions initiatives all around the world.

This missional business concept excited Tim so much he nearly left his other business ventures to pursue it himself. But ultimately, he decided to reach out to Dave Cooper with the idea. Dave was an entrepreneur that shared Tim’s passion for global missions. The two families were friends, attended the same missions-minded church, and were already working together on a few side projects.

Over lunch one day, Tim floated the creative business model he was dreaming about, and the concept ignited something supernatural in Dave as well. Together, Tim and Dave became the co-founders and legacy board members of Community Reinvestment Foundation, Inc. (or CRF). Dave spearheaded the day-to-day operations of this new nonprofit startup and slowly started to build a substantial affordable housing portfolio that positively impacted both the residents and the missions work they always dreamed of supporting.

A New Day

After two decades of consistent growth and impact, the CRF board began thinking about the future. They needed a next generation leader who could navigate the business side of the organization, but who also carried the unwavering global missions focus of the founders.

Erik Cooper had a background in the business world, graduating from Indiana University’s Kelley School of business with a degree in accounting before taking a 12-year “detour” into full-time vocational ministry. Erik came on board with the company in the fall of 2012 with a two-pronged plan to slowly take on the leadership of the housing company while revamping the organization’s missions strategy.

That ultimately led to the founding of The Stone Table in 2015. This new missions organization was conceived as a “sister organization” to CRF. The housing company would continue to generate the financial resources and The Stone Table would multiply and invest them in strategic missions work around the world.

Looking to the Future

As we prayed about what to call this new organization, we knew we needed a name with deep meaning. In C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia Aslan (the Christ-character) is killed and resurrected on The Stone Table in a beautiful allegory of the Gospel. It’s a daily reminder that our work is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His redeeming, resurrecting work for all creation.

The Stone Table continues to underwrite strategic global missions projects through the profits of CRF and a growing coalition of church and business partners, but God’s unfolding vision is demanding that we expand. We are called to raise up and equip the next generaton of Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs, encourage and mobilize more marketplace Christians, resource and support missionaries on the field in a business context, and champion and resource the global Church to the glory of God. That’s the Gospel-mission cast before us, and we are just getting started.

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