How a Fast-Growth Firm Lives Their Faith: The GBSI Institute

By 10/30/2014 Business No Comments

“Not all travel, but everyone goes.”

GBSI, Inc. is a Pensacola, FL-based information technology powerhouse providing education and training services as well as information assurance solutions to industry and government. For four consecutive years, GBSI is an INC 5000 fast growth private company as well as a “Florida Company to Watch” award winner and more.

More important, GBSI is a best practice 2%er company (for-profit, privately-held, Biblically based) who lives their eternal calling through their non-profit GBSI Institute.

Here is the story of the GBSI Institute, a great best practice in how to integrate your faith through your company.

I recently had the privilege to interview Terrell Davis, Director of the GBSI Institute. Here is an excerpt from that interview.

Jim: Terrell, why was the GBSI Institute birthed?

Terrell: The Institute was birthed for the purpose of helping people.  Our co-founders, Randy and Terri Ramos, felt that God wanted more of their business. After much prayer and thought, they God directed them to form a separate non-profit entity to best fulfill God’s direction for their work.

It was out of Randy’s obedience to God’s personal direction that Global Business Solutions Institute was born.  From its start, the mission of the Institute has been “to share the love and compassion of Christ to enhance the lives of the needy and alleviate poverty around the Globe.”

We now are working with malnutrition and community development Guatemala, education and medical needs in Burkina Faso and Nigeria, providing training for churches seeking to connect with the unreached in South East Asia, and felon reintegration across the Florida Panhandle.

Jim: How does the GBSI Institute fit with your calling?

Terrell: I worked within the “four-walls” of the church for 15 years serving as a Minister of Education and Missions.  Some of my joys in ministry have always been to help people see what God desires in their life…that He wants a relationship with them which includes how His love is multiplied to the needs of people.

As God’s people living in the United States, we have a responsibility to meet the needs of hurting people around the globe with the abundance of what we have been given.  God has developed me to be a teacher and encourager…my role as Corporate Pastor with Global Business Solutions, Inc., and Director of the Institute allows me to work in my sweet spot of ministry.

Jim: I see how this really fits your calling. But how does the Institute align with the values / convictions of GBSI corporate?

Terrell: Randy and Terri are active followers of Jesus Christ – they run their business under the direction of God and the principles taught in His Word.  The Institute allows the caring nature of GBSI to be seen. Along with with local church involvement, GBSI is their outlet for impacting the world.

Jim: Do the GBSI employees get involved?

Terrell: Absolutely -and very enthusiastically I might add. Our employees participate with Institute work in many ways including sending supplies to the children at a leper colony in Nigeria, assembling crafts for children to be used on the field in Guatemala, purchasing greenhouses and chicken coops, taking part in Institute trips, etc.  Every employee plays a part in the role of the Institute…we always say “not all travel, but everyone goes.”

Jim: Wow I love that! What a great slogan. Yet with all your impact, I know it did not come easy. What were the biggest challenge you’ve faced in birthing this institute and how are you overcoming it?

Terrell: One of the challenges has been with the identity of a secular company birthing a Christian Missions organization.  The New Testament church is made up of those who follow Christ.  The terminology of “secular” and “religious” and the walls created by these terms are lost in the environment of GBSI.

As we have followed God’s direction and become established in our work, we have been able to help local churches establish their missions objectives.  The Institute was blessed to start its first church about 3 months ago in Guatemala…funny, starting a church has helped quiet the critics who want to say we are only a humanitarian organization.

Jim: What other impact are you seeing for your efforts?

Terrell: One of our greatest impacts is in Guatemala.  Through God’s leading, we now employ a full-time missionary in the Guatemalan Highlands, have established two agricultural training centers, and with the mobilization of volunteer experts, we now have a self-sustaining 200 chicken chicken coop, and are producing 39,500 vegetable plants every 60 days in micro-greenhouses which are sustaining 110 family gardens.

Jim: What a creative way to teach others how to fish rather than just handing them one! I know you have much more you could share, but leave us with your top 3 pieces of advice you’d offer another company in forming their own institute?

Terrell: First, of course you must seek God’s direction, just like Randy and Terri did. It must be His plan or it will fail.

Second, realize that God is speaking to you. I believe we often sense God’s direction and then hand His direction over to a pastor or larger missions organization and end up missing the blessing and work He intended for us to champion and do.

Third, be obedient.  There will always be a step of faith when we follow God’s direction.

Jim: That is truly wonderful advice. So how can we learn more about the GBSI Institute and get involved?

Terrell: Our website is a great place to find information gbsinstitute.com and to join our Facebook page where we post all our recent activities.  We are always available for questions on the Institute and how corporations can get involved in God’s work around the globe. I welcome anyone to call me at 850-944-7579 or email me at tdavis@gbsi.com.

Jim: Thanks so much, Terrell, and we’ll check in occasionally for updates on how your GBSI Institute is living the GBSI values.

More 2%er Best Practices Stories

My passion is to help chronicle and share best practices of 2%er companies.  What does your company do to live their Biblical values? What companies would you recommend we interview or research? Thanks for your help!

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.

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