Ministry Today commends a different group of kingdom-minded people or organizations each year in our MT21 issue. In 2014, when we launched MT21, we honored churches and ministries that were influencing the 21st-century church.
In 2015, we highlighted 21 congregations that were "culturally diverse on purpose." This year, however, we're taking a different approach and naming 21 businesses whose leaders are a witness for Christ in some way through their professional platforms. From cupcake makers to insurance agency owners to roofers, we have covered a wide range of businesses in this year's MT21 feature.
Today, we are highlighting The Cross Worldwide (thecrossworldwide.com).
Roger Chasteen's unique approach to business has given him an eye for both marketplace opportunities and leadership potential. Calling himself a "serial entrepreneur," Chasteen has worked on his own since he was 27. He starts, buys and sells companies across the United States—and he's got a track record of success. By his count, he's started at least 10 companies, bought many more and sold 15.
"My view is I see an opportunity in the marketplace and will start a company to go after that opportunity," Chasteen says. "Some of my companies were in the right place at the right time, and others were seeing opportunities in the community. If I see an industry need, then I'll go out, start a company there and ride the wave as long as I can."
One such company is The Cross Worldwide, an international network of 10 Christian radio stations. The network is run entirely free of advertisements and is paid for by Chasteen's other companies.
The Cross Worldwide has its own app and is available in 54 countries. Chasteen says he's honored to be able to provide the love of Christ to so many through his stations.
"When we started this radio station, we wanted to give an opportunity to let people listen to Christian music and preaching with no reason to ever turn the channel," he says. "A lot of time in our cars, when advertising comes up, we switch the radio station, and sometimes we don't go back and stay on that station. We don't want any advertising ever because we don't want people to leave.
"We have a demographic that covers young and old, male and female," he adds. "We have a gospel/soul station and a Spanish station."
The company also hasn't spent any funds on marketing.
"It is growing on its own, and no man can take credit for what has happened," he says. "We're having pastors all over the country who are coming on to our preaching station every month, and we're helping those pastors grow their influence by sharing their messages on our stations. We have large, mega (church) pastors, and we have small (church) pastors as well. And the one thing that we've done is we've broken the denominational barrier. We have pastors of all denominations on this station. Now someone can go to wherever they're at and get the Word infused in their life for free."
Chasteen says his true passion is building up companies—but he doesn't usually stick around to profit from their success.
"I love building them," he says. "Once I build them, I hire a leadership team to run them. I consider myself an entrepreneurial builder. I enjoy the challenge of building a company but don't necessarily enjoy running it once it's built."
He always leaves his carefully built company in good hands when he moves on, and that's made Chasteen a strong judge of leadership talent. He likes to identify and raise up leaders from within the company to succeed him. There are a few key traits he looks for in potential leaders.
"First, I look for a successful track record," he says. "Then I look for someone who has a good standing in the community. One thing that's very, very important to me—it's the number-one core value in my company—is I look for someone who has humility. In my companies' core values, we have honesty, integrity, trust, character, respect, caring/fairness, diversity, openness, empowerment and personal mastery, but my belief is if I find someone who is humble, all the rest of these come with it."
That humble heart and approach to leadership lines up with Chasteen's approach to ministry in the workplace. He's a big believer that actions can speak louder than words.
"You don't have to be preaching from the pulpit to have a mission," Chasteen says. "Each Christian has a mission and a ministry field, and that ministry field is whatever environment they are in. You don't have to be a Bible thumper and shove it down people's throats. You have to let your light shine that people would want to know what's different. You've got to walk the walk as an example. Too many times, we have business leaders who say the right thing but don't walk the walk."
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