In 1992, a retiring pastor and some savvy entrepreneurs saw an opportunity in the affordable housing business. They launched Community Reinvestment Foundation (CRF), a nonprofit aimed at creating and sustaining high-quality, low-income housing for people who need it, with half the business profits designated for underwriting global missions projects. Through years of hard work, their idea began to flourish more than any of them ever imagined.
While CRF continued to acquire and build a growing portfolio of multi-family and senior apartments, all of the company’s charitable giving was handled by ActioNow, the missions fundraising organization pioneered by one of CRF’s founding board members. As the housing business blossomed, the investment in global missions expanded alongside it. It was a tangible picture of how entrepreneurs and business people can leverage their skill sets as well as their finances to impact people with the Gospel.
In early 2012, the CRF board began thinking about the future. They needed a leader who could navigate the business side of the organization but who also had a heart for the global missions roots of the company. 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 dozen-year “detour” into full-time vocational ministry. He came on board in the fall of 2012 with a two-pronged plan to lead the macro vision of CRF while simultaneously taking the reins of the organization’s missions strategy as well.
As ActioNow began to wind down in 2015, the CRF leadership began to pray and ask God to reveal the next season of this work and ministry. A new organization was conceived, a “sister organization” for CRF, taking up the missions mantle of the original founders as marketplace christians creating and leveraging resources for the expression and expansion of the Kingdom of God around the world.
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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