The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Author, Awaken the Outlaw, (2015)



Senior Vice President for Fundraising Communications at Pursuant, a fundraising company for nonprofits

Wrote, edited and collaborated more than 30 books and eBook projects

Graduated from Belmont University in Tenn.

Married to Brooke

Two young children: Carter and Caden


Guest Bio

Ben Stroup: Awaken the Outlaw


Ben says most of the rules in life are simple and remain fairly straightforward as we grow up: go to college, get married, buy a home, raise children and prepare for retirement. This sounds like a great life plan, but Ben says it is not true. “In every life there is a moment when you realize some part of your life is an illusion.” For Ben this moment came at the age of nineteen. He took his first church staff position in college in his pursuit of vocational ministry. As he was building bridges to students in the community who had never been part of church and to their families, some people in the church became frustrated with him. Their criticism of his leadership in the youth ministry left him feeling bitter and disillusioned. “All that I had prepared for seemed meaningless,” shares Ben. His career plan was to work in full time ministry. In fact, he had been awarded a presidential scholarship because of his plans to continue on to divinity school after graduation. “I knew I couldn’t go on in my religious studies because my heart had been completely gutted,” shares Ben. Although he had done everything he knew to do to follow the rules, those rules failed him. The experience with the church sent him into a tailspin. “If this is what it meant to follow God, then I was done.” It was almost five years later before Ben would heal from that experience. During his time of wandering, Ben had a dream that he was walking toward a gothic style church. He saw two dark wooden doors that were closed. When he opened the doors he immediately felt comfortable. The next day when he heard church bells ringing, he decided to check it out. He found the church that he had seen in his dream. When he walked into the church Ben says,  “I knew this would be the place where I would be brought back to life with respect to my spiritual journey.”

His senior year of college Ben began writing for the university newspaper. Writing helped to fill the void left by the drama he encountered when he worked at the church. He also wrote some editorials about the changes in administration that were going on in the college. His articles were widely read on campus and people encouraged him to continue his writing. It was during this time Ben learned that he could write something that people wanted to read and that inspired change. He says writing fully activated the Outlaw within him. Ben defines the Outlaw as “that part of us that is activated and put into motion in times of great transition. The Outlaw is part of every one of us who can no longer operate within the story we have been told.”

He started to do some freelance writing, but it was not enough to make a full-time gig. So he tried working for a publisher but if just didn't fell like a good fit. Then, Ben did what anyone with a religion degree who was also fluent in biblical Greek and Hebrew would do -- he took a job that offered security and stability selling payroll software to midsized businesses.  He knew if he could learn to sell then he could do anything. “I was successful in everything I did. I achieved things that few people expected me to be able to do. Yet no success and no amount of money captured my mind and attention like writing did,” reveals Ben. On the side, he juggled his freelance writing business. He began writing books for other people. He realized he had a knack for learning to see the world through someone else’s eyes. One day while driving his son Ben fell asleep at the wheel. They were both okay but he wrecked the car. This was a wakeup call for Ben. “If I was determined to make something work to the point of pushing my body to the point of exhaustion, then perhaps I needed to pay attention to what was pushing me to do that and adjust as needed.”


Transformation is not pretty, safe, or predictable. Ben describes the next phase a person goes through in their transformation journey is the Magician. The Magician possesses the power to change; he is in a constant state of adaption. “Only you keep you from becoming the person you were divinely inspired to become. The greatest obstacle to your progress is you,” shares Ben. He says you must give yourself permission to change or transform otherwise you never will. When Ben decided to leave his job, he was married and had one son. It was the end of 2009 and the height of the Great Recession. He was told he was too young, too inexperienced, that he wouldn’t make it and would come crawling back for his job. He says the first 90 days of entrepreneurial life scared him to death. His first year of self employment he worked out of a corner in the extra room of his house. His work space eventually evolved into a two hundred foot Amish storage shed, complete with an HVAC and electricity. The “Work House,” as his boys call it, is much more than a place to work. It is also a mile marker in Ben’s life. “I helped create it and bring it into reality.”              


Once you have found the courage to embrace change Ben says the final step on your journey is to become the Hero. A Hero is not someone who operates on behalf of his or her own goodwill. Rather, a Hero is someone who returns from a journey of personal transformation with a unique gift to offer the community that originally forced him or her out. Today, Ben uses words, sentences, and paragraphs to help organizations across the globe advance their mission and create change in the world. He recently made another shift in his professional life.

Ben says the older we get the more likely it is that we’ll stop paying attention to our own ideas about how we could improve the world around us. We buy into the lie that following the leader is the best strategy. We begin to believe that what we have to offer doesn’t matter so we give up and give in to the rules set for us by others. Ben says, “The Creator breathed something unique and special in you at the moment of your creation. And you have an obligation to discover what that is and use it to benefit others.”

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