As I was perusing Twitter and Tweets this morning I ran across a Donald Miller Tweet that caught my eye. It read, “The deadline to win a trip for two to Portland is tomorrow! Enter the contest today!”
Wait. Whaaaat? My morning mind was excited (rarely does my morning mind get excited, it is usually my late night mind that does most of the work as far as getting excited goes…). I could not deny my morning mind this excitement, so I have decided to enter this contest in hopes of winning a trip to Portland for the Donald Miller Seminar! Here is the link to the site of the Seminar: http://www.donmilleris.com/conference, and here is a video that helps explains the rules and also aids in promoting the contest.
Aaaand now for the Ross Moffitt Story….
I am an idea man, or at least I like to think of myself as one. I have written, and have started to write, a countless number of songs, songs I am convinced would top the charts in a matter of minutes if they were to ever find the hands of just the right Honky Tonk singer. I have started to write at least three books, finishing none of them, due to discouragement and/or distractions. I have at least three or four inventions and ideas that will undoubtedly make me rich, if I had the funds to patent them and/or market them (my latest is a funny mask that slides into that useless pocket-sleeve behind your passenger seat. You bust out the mask during traffic to make others laugh. Henceforth making probably the most least fun activity ever, fun. Which also explains the motto of the Traffic Mask, which is, “Making Traffic Fun!”).
As you can see my mind is always working, always creating. However, it is rarely producing anything that ends up being worth a dang thing, mostly due to my lack of not being able to follow an idea all the way through until it absolutely does not succeed or absolutely does succeed. I just get caught up in either the next idea or the next pretty girl that happens to walk beside me on my way to class, and I am never able to finish.
About six months ago, I had an idea that I believe to be my best one yet. I had just gotten done visiting with my Mother’s inner-city group that she works with on Wednesday nights here in Nashville. On that particular night they had called upon a guest speaker to deliver the message to this room filled with inner-city kids, kids who are capable of breaking your heart in a million pieces and in a thousand different ways with only a few minutes of their life stories. The guest speaker for the night was a lady by the name of Clemmie Greenlee. Here is a link to a story USA TODAY did on her. She is a fascinating lady! This article is short and to the point. So read read read! http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-10-07-charitystreetangel_N.htm.
I had ran into Clemmie Greenlee a few years before while I was visiting the NHPP (Nashville Homeless Power Project) headquarters in downtown Nashville where I had gone in hopes of learning how to better serve the homeless. I walked into a room, filled with six or seven homeless people all sitting in a circle. With a confused as heck look on my face I stood for a second making small talk with the other people in the room (who were clearly homeless), when Clemmie walked in and told me to “pull up a chair, we are about to start.” I went to sit in the first empty seat I saw which caused an uproar in the room. Apparently I had tried to sit in “Jesus’ seat.” I guess you could say at that point I was inches away from sitting on Jesus. I found the fact that they were “saving a seat for Jesus” one of the coolest Jesus things I had ever heard. Anyways, I finally got my chair pulled up and quietly listened as Clemmie listened to these people’s crazy life stories, their struggles, their hopes, and their dreams, all the while she fed them with encouragement and love. I left that room inspired to change the world.
So after my Mother had informed me Clemmie was speaking to her inner-city kids that night, I drove in from Knoxville to attend. I called up my friend and we arrived early, ate some cookies, and then witnessed an intense lesson directed right at these kids. Never in my life had I heard such an intense and emotional lesson delivered from a place of such love and care. She spoke right at these kids, not hiding the truths of what real street life was like, or the truths that if they did not choose right that is where they would end up. She told vivid stories about gangs, drugs, and violence. She told stories about a world I would not be able to touch with a forty foot Bible.
As I walked out of the small Church that night, I knew I had to do something. I also knew, if I wanted it to work then I could not rush into it, like I had with all my other ideas. The idea needed to plant itself in my brain, and I would need to water it and watch it grow until I knew I was in a position where I could make it succeed.
I plan on graduating from college sometime before next Christmas. I plan on using this time in college to learn and develop my idea that will hopefully help impact the lives of millions of kids (why not think big?). Here is where I am so far with my idea. I will probably accidentally present it in sales pitch form. I find this to be how I communicate my ideas. Hopefully this will not just be another one of those 3,000 marketing pitches you will hear today though. I hope it plucks a chord in your soul and you will one day want to join my team. Or heck, even start a team of your own, that is setting out to make a difference.
The idea is based around a few basic principles. 1. People need clothes. 2. People like to be stylish. 3. People like to help other people, especially if it does not come at a great cost to themselves.
I want to start a non-profit clothing company in which the main mission is to help the struggling kids in my own backyard. I want to help the kids in my own country, my own community. I want to help the kids my Mom encounters at her inner-city program. I want to help the kids who are the future of my community!
The clothes that my non-profit would offer would be designed in order to fit the latest trends. I have along life’s journey made friends who are really into fashion design. I plan on either employing them, or getting them to help me pro-bono, in order to get started out on the right fashion foot. These same people would also serve as investors, because they will already have a hand in the process, they will of course, want it to succeed. However, even though it may start off with clothes, it would not have any definite stopping point as far as what products are produced. Basically, the idea would be to create a brand name. A brand name synonymous with loving, caring, and taking action.
The proceeds made from the sales of the products would stay in the community in which they were purchased. The money made would go towards helpings kids buy uniforms, helping build playgrounds, buy school books, allowing Santa to visit that 9 year old’s house for the first time, develop after school programs, pay for tutoring, pay for counseling, or anything else that the community kids made need funding for. I would also like for this to lead to mentoring relationships between the supporters of my company and the kids.
A pamphlet would be distributed for the public to see exactly how the money is being spent and where. It would also include stories about how the community had been changed for the better due to their purchasing of the non-profit’s products. This pamphlet would also include announcements about possible volunteer opportunities, or any other way in which one could become more actively involved in their community. Community involvement would be greatly stressed through the messages produced by my company. I believe this will be one of my greatest obstacles, getting people to believe in what I am doing, let alone join in to help. People follow passion. If I can continue to stay passionate and excited, continue to talk to people and promote, continue to get others to join in on my story, I know that my vision will sink its way into the hearts of many people. Just imagine driving past your old Elementary School and knowing that you helped in rebuilding the playground that had needed rebuilding since the Reagan administration. It is incidents like this that will help spread the word and make people want to take part.
These people together, will begin to live better stories. With the economy in the shape that it is in, there needs to be an escape for people. With my Dad recently losing his job and therefore losing everything he had worked hard for, I have seen more than ever the need to be able to create meaning in one’s life. I want to create an outlet so that people, like my Dad, can have a way to escape the woes of the day, and begin to get involved helping others. Helping is addictive and extremely fulfilling. What better way to turn around a bad day then to go out, build relationships, and help the needy kids of your own community?
Along with the community theme, I believe getting other non-profits in the area involved is a must. Just like in THE Church, when everyone works together, despite a few differences here or there, great feats can be accomplished.
After I established a working non-profit company in my own community, my dream goes further to include traveling around and helping other communities start an extension of my company, so that they may witness their communities change for the better as well.
I would like to begin taking the planning stage into the actually getting the job done stage right after I graduate. I do not want to sit in an office and work a 9-5 job everyday. I have decided to pursue a job teaching high school, so that I may be able to impact kids in that setting, and also so that I will have time and money to help get my idea get off the ground. My belief is to start out small and then watch it grow. Much like the parable of the mustard seed, I would like to see my mustard seed sized idea begin to grow and wiggle its way into the many beautiful gardens that are the communities of this country. I know that with the right kinds of motivation, with the help of others, and with Jesus on my side, I can make a great difference in the world.
As in all stories, I am fully aware that conflict will exist in my story, just as it does in anyone’s. I know that there will be countless conversations, in which I am trying to convince someone to believe in my idea. I know that there will be critics who will say words that will cut my soul in half, because they do not want me to succeed. I also know that I will create more conflict for myself than probably anyone else. Just like in my past, I will get tired, discouraged, disappointed, and upset, but I know that with the strength that only Jesus can provide, I am capable of conquering all conflict, and making my story work. I have my whole life ahead of me. Making the right decisions in order to live a better life now, will profoundly impact my future. I am just a wide eyed soon-to-be college graduate. I do not want to flounder after I graduate. I want to thrive!!!
I believe this seminar will not only allow me to meet a lot of incredible people who will inspire me, and be able to help me greatly, but will also encourage me to keep my dream alive. Encourage me to NOT get discouraged or get distracted, and just like Clemmie Greenlee, to dream big and not let anything hold me back from accomplishing great things and impacting the lives of others. I also believe it will allow me to continue my own personal growth in figuring out who I am and what makes me go. I want to go straight at my life and not around it. I want to live my own great story, all the while presenting others the same opportunity to live their own great stories. After all, isn’t that what this life is all about?
So how about it Don?