MT 21 Gospel Driven Business: T-Town Roofing

Ricky and Krystal Hanks, Field Adviser Ryan Snell and the rest of the T-Town family pose for a photo. (Paul Wizikowski)

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 T-Town Roofing

Using his position as a business leader, Ricky Hanks promotes mentoring relationships within the community. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, roofer is president of T-Town Roofing, and his wife, Krystal, is COO.

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Hanks and Matt Moore started the Young Businessmen of Tulsa in order to share lessons learned, cautionary tales, and do's and don'ts with young men in business. The organization hosts a monthly luncheon featuring a keynote business speaker, as well as one-on-one mentoring. Though Young Businessmen of Tulsa started small, it's seen dramatic growth.

"We started out with about eight guys, and we had 107 people at our last luncheon," Hanks says. "We try to teach guys that it's OK to ask a man for help; it's OK to let someone know that you can take your guard down. ... We just want to make sure that guys have an access to the right answers to the questions of running a business. So if we don't have the right answers, we can typically get them in the right direction with someone who does."

Hanks likes to encourage the mentors to share their stories rather than dispensing advice. That advice extends to business failings as well as successes.

"As a mentor, share your real challenges," he says. "Don't try to put up a curtain. Let these guys know really what you've been through. Let them know what it took to get to where you are. Being a mentor is first really just sharing your story, and the heartaches, the pains and the victories."

Just as Jesus told parables in order to teach His audience spiritual truths, Hanks believes mentors sharing their life stories can be valuable to young men.

"We try to find out where somebody's at, and we try to share a story with them to help them get past that decision," he says. "We might show them how to look at different angles, but we don't ever tell you what to do. We think you need to hear from God on that."

But his advice isn't limited to mentors only; Hanks also encourages young men in his life to be proactive in their search for a mentor. Sometimes, he says, that means going outside of the Young Businessmen of Tulsa group and recruiting the desired mentor.

"First of all, if we don't have the mentor you're looking for, then go find one," Hanks says. "Men who have reached success in their lives are willing to give back if you're willing to help. One of the things we always say in our meetings is your mentor will not chase you down. But if you chase your mentor down, they're willing to help you, and if that one won't, the next one will. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help and don't be afraid to say, 'Can I buy you lunch?' Then when you're with them, respect their time. Be on time. Take notes. And the things they're teaching you? Be accountable to do them. Don't just waste this guy's time. ... Find some areas in your life and identify what needs to be changed, and then make the changes necessary to get to where you want to go."

First, though, come the qualities that young businessmen would want to emulate, of which Hanks has many. From the beginning, he says, he has worked hard to set T-Town apart from other roofing companies through its employees' integrity, work ethic and relationships in the community.

"We wanted to start a roofing business that the world is not familiar with," Hanks says. "We wanted to change the way people view the roofing company. We wanted to enter a community, be part of the community and make an impact on the community. ... We like to see the ways we can give back. We're really trying to change the way people view roofers."

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