Empowerment Is a Goal for Mission and Marketplace Conference
By Kai EL’ Zabar
Dr. Winston is the founder and senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center (LWCC), a multi-cultural, non-denominational church with more than 20,000 members located in Forest Park, Illinois, and Living Word Christian Center-Tuskegee, in Tuskegee, Alabama. LWCC has a broad range of ministries and related entities.
As an extension of it’s ministry the Living Word Christian Center’s produces Missions and Marketplace Conference. This year’s 2016 conference will take place (March 27-April 1), presented by the Joseph Business School in association with The Merge Symposium at Living Word Christian Center, 7600 W. Roosevelt Road in Forest Park, Illinois.
Dr. Winston was inspired to establish the Missions and Marketplace Conference to enhance the quality of life of people. Dr. Winston says, “From the start, this conference, which began many years ago under a different name, was about empowerment. My desire was to empower people for success, leadership and ownership, especially in the African American community. The idea was to bring in the best speakers who had a proven track record in the marketplace and could inspire and teach others to be successful. This is still the mission of the conference today”
Not surprising, born in Tuskegee, Alabama, Dr. Winston was inspired and influenced for leadership by the numerous educators, scientists, and physicians who surrounded him as a youth, and by the historic aviation accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen who served as his role models. He is a graduate of the internationally known Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), in Tuskegee, Alabama, where Booker T. Washington’s and George Washington Carver’s legacies of leadership and invention permeated the environment.
Fortunate to have been a participant in such a nurturing environment Dr. Winston was supported and inspired by everything that made up the environment; the physicians, educators, all the other accomplished people who made up the community; the history and the of excite of the future as possibility. In pursuit of his future, Dr. Winston served for six years as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, where his extraordinary achievements in aerial flight earned him The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal for performance in combat, and the Squadron Top Gun Award.
After completing his military service, at the rank of captain, Dr. Winston joined the IBM Corporation as a marketing representative where his exceptional managerial and relational skills earned him several promotions. Before he resigned in 1985 to enter full-time ministry, he was a regional marketing manager in IBM’s Midwest Region.
His accomplished reminded him of the invaluable contribution of a supportive community environment. He says, “I believe helping people to achieve their best in life and to fulfil their God-given purpose is what the gospel is all about. As we enter into what many people call Holy Week, it’s important to remember that God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. God desires for His children to be healthy, wealthy and wise. He delights in our prosperity, which includes safety and protection, the financial ability to leave an inheritance to our children’s children, joy and peace.”
Given the state of the world and our communities, Dr. Winston says, “The issue of empowerment and ownership is as important today as it was when the Missions and Marketplace Conference first started in the 1990s. Let me share two statistics that support this statement. In Chicago, African Americans make up about 35% of the population, but only 1% of all revenues from Chicago businesses come from the African American community. My point is this, despite the size of the population, Blacks own very little in the city. Minorities should own businesses, real estate, investments, and more. This is one reason we’re having this conference.”
In keeping with that line of thinking it makes sense that Dr. Winston is also the founder and president of the nationally accredited Joseph Business School (JBS), which teaches practical and biblical principles to empower adults to develop indispensable skills as successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. JBS is located in Forest Park, Illinois with partnership locations on five continents. The Joseph Business School also has an online program.
He is also the founder of Bill Winston Ministries (BWM), a partnership-based global outreach ministry. BWM produces the Believer’s Walk of Faith television and radio program reaching over 800 million households worldwide. Dr. Winston also has 700 national and international churches and ministries under his spiritual covering through Faith Ministries Alliance (FMA).
All these components are extensions of the community and the Missions and Marketplace Conference brings them all together to make available to participants. Dr. Winston says, “The issue of empowerment and ownership is as important today as it was when the Missions and Marketplace Conference first started in the 1990s. Let me share two statistics that support this statement. In Chicago, African Americans make up about 35% of the population, but only 1% of all revenues from Chicago businesses come from the African American community. My point is this, despite the size of the population, Blacks own very little in the city. Minorities should own businesses, real estate, investments, and more. This is one reason we’re having this conference.”
From Dr. Winston’s viewpoint he teaches about faith as a lifestyle, and bringing people’s faith to the marketplace. To explain further what he means he says, “I’ll begin by sharing a personal story. After I left the military as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, I joined the IBM Corporation in computer sales. At the entry level, every IBM salesperson worked on quota or commission, meaning we were paid a percentage based on what we sold. In the beginning I struggled to sell anything. I was discouraged, bills will due, and I took a second job to take care of my family. Then I got saved (accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior) and started listening to a Bible teacher on a local Christian radio station who taught about the kingdom of God and living by faith. As I applied the biblical principles I heard, along with the technical knowledge I gained from IBM, everything began to change. I shot to the top in sales, started bringing home big commission checks, and because of my performance I was promoted into management. I share this story because I learned that adding biblical principles of faith to your purpose and profession, whatever it may be, guarantees success.”
“Now that I am a full-time pastor, the application of faith has not changed. We, meaning my family and I, came to Chicago after my attending seminary with only $200 and no place of our own to stay. Today, our ministry is viewed by over 800 million households worldwide. We’ve started a Joseph Business School (of entrepreneurship) on five continents around the world. We’ve acquired two retail shopping malls, and have brought thousands of souls to Christ. Some might say that is impossible. My answer is…it sure is, with men. But with faith in God, all things are possible. This conference is about bringing faith back into the marketplace.”
In keeping with Dr. Winston’s philosophy this years’ conference theme is “Taking the Lead,” whether it’s your own life, in a classroom, your family or your business, one must be empowered.
The conference is at Living Word Christian Center, 7600 W. Roosevelt Road in Forest Park, Illinois.
- Daytime workshops: Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1
- 7:30AM to 3:00PM (registration fee required).
- Topics include branding, leadership development, financial management, organizational strategy, social media marketing and much more.
- Evening sessions: 6:00PM to 9:00PM (Free onsite childcare is provided).
The 2016 Missions and Marketplace Conference is presented by the Joseph Business School in association with The Merge Symposium, Living Word Christian Center, Living Word Bible Training Center, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Walgreens.
All speaker information can be found mm.billwinston.org. For more information or to register for daytime workshops, visit the website, call 866.816.4653 or follow @drbillwinston on Twitter.