Christian Leadership to Change the World
Regent Leaders in the World: David Proffitt
CBN.com Hewlett has Packard, Ben has Jerry and Johnson has Johnson. Everyone wins when a great partnership is forged.
Even geese know that by flying together in a “V” formation the whole flock adds more than 70 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew solo. The point: sharing a common direction brings potency. Since its establishment 30 years ago, Regent University has enjoyed the success of many significant partnerships. Regent’s Executive Director of Corporate Development David Proffitt now leads the way in one of Regent’s most promising ventures—Corporate Partners.
“I’m passionate about the ‘product’ of Regent—Christian Leadership to Change the World,” says Proffitt.
“So it’s no secret that I want to connect with strong, innovative organizations that will help us attract students of the highest caliber.” In return—and at no cost to them—these organizations develop stronger employees with improved skill sets and expanded visions.
Regent’s Corporate Partners’ agreements are tailored to the needs of the organization but, generally, partnerships include benefits such as tuition discounts for employees and their dependents, in-house workshops and admission to significant leadership events. To date, Regent Corporate Partners include the Christian Broadcasting Network, Diebold, Mercy Ships, Norfolk Southern, The Salvation Army, Sentara Healthcare, US Airways, USAA, Yum Brand Restaurants, Compassion International and others.
Offering outstanding educational benefits and increasing its pool of future students in return is an obvious win-win created by Corporate Partners. However, Regent sees that its relationship with like-minded organizations is fostering global influence well beyond expectation.
Proffitt powerfully evidenced this through a recent cycle of partnership that looked something like this: Regent connected with Compassion International through Corporate Partners. Compassion, which exists to break the poverty cycle globally, connected with Promise Keepers (PK) to promote child sponsorships during PK conferences. PK, whose mission is to ignite and unite men to become passionate followers of Christ, connected with Regent, which sponsors PK conferences as part of its vision to develop Christian leaders.
“When we align ourselves with partners committed to the same high call of stewardship, leadership and integrity, we engage in our culture as a mighty force,” says Compassion U.S. Communication Director Kathy Redmond. “Ultimately, we’re fighting the same fight and winning ... together.”
Last fall, Proffitt, a few PK representatives and a handful of noted musicians, artists and business leaders from the United States and Europe traveled to several Compassion projects in Uganda, Africa.
For seven days, these guests of Compassion were lavished with the humble generosity of the Ugandans they met. Choirs of lively children, displaying ear-to-ear smiles, honored their guests with song and dance. Village women showcased their fine basket weaving. One group of villagers even spent the whole night preparing an elaborate lunch in anticipation of their guests.
“I came to Uganda expecting to minister. What I didn’t expect was that I would be unbelievably ministered to,” says Proffitt.
However, malaria affects 20 percent of the Ugandan population and AIDS an additional 9 percent, so the people welcome resources of relief. Proffitt’s trip included a tour of a Compassion facility where villagers receive medical check-ups and are taught basic survival and farming skills. He and his team then carried cornmeal, rice and other supplies to Naniongo, a single mother of six living in a nearby town. Naniongo’s tiny home is nothing more than adobe walls and a dirt floor, covered by a corrugated iron roof, but she dreams of more. Previously a professed Muslim, she learned to read and write through one of Compassion’s literacy programs and practices her reading using a Bible also provided by the organization. In seemingly providential timing, Naniongo shared with Proffitt’s team that she was convinced of Christ’s love for her.
“One of the most significant things I noticed about these people as they encountered God was that they never wallowed in self-pity,” Proffitt shares. “Instead, they speak with a sense of life and excitement I have never witnessed of the incredible grace of God.”
Indeed, his Ugandan experience was rich in culture and a buzz of activity, but it was the people and the awareness of how possible it is to link arms and make a positive difference that gripped Proffitt most deeply.
“Here you have the joining of these dynamic organizations, all mutually called to be good stewards of our resources as we unequivocally change people’s lives. And we saw that happening right in front of us through the beautiful people of Uganda,” Proffitt says.
Since 2007, more than 110 emerging leaders have enrolled at Regent through the Corporate Partners incentive. With a profound understanding that collaboration can advance an individual, a corporate mission and a community half-way around the globe, Proffitt hopes to see that number grow. “I want
others to see that Regent is raising up world changers, and, with partners like Compassion and Promise Keepers, we’re also being a leader.”
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