I recently had the opportunity to meet an entrepreneur who embodied the concept of work being a sacred calling from the Lord. Mike Pitman is the founder and owner of My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company. His coffee company operates on a profit motive, but they also aspire to, “Bring the light of Jesus Christ to all the world.” The following paragraphs will offer readers insight into how one entrepreneur uses his business venture as a holy ministry.
Out of the Darkness and into the Light
Mike Pittman was not raised in a Christian home; therefore, his faith journey started a little later in life. At the age of 36 years-old, Mike surrendered his heart and his life to Jesus Christ. He made a promise to God that he would immerse himself in God’s love letter – the Bible. Walking daily with the Lord is something that Pittman takes very seriously, and his Christian growth spurred him into action. Mike started Mandy Green Ministries to help families who have children at St. Jude’s Hospital. The goal of this ministry is to work through the Ronald McDonald House and serve families who are dealing with their child’s cancer. Through this ministry, much fruit has been produced for the Kingdom including multiple children and family members who have accepted Jesus as their Savior.
In 1999, Mike Pittman’s eyes were opened to global missions through a missionary from China who visited his local church. He went on a mission trip to Beijing, China, and that trip opened up many future mission trips to Asia for Mike. God placed a burden on Pittman’s heart for the persecuted church in Asia, and this burden draws him to that region to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ yearly. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Pittman began to consider ways that a new business venture could be created that would fund and support ministry in Asia. While on a mission trip in Northeast Asia, Pittman noticed that a major industry in the area was coffee farming. God began revealing a possible business opportunity that could help support missions in areas where the Gospel is not embraced.
How it All Began
Coffee roasting was the concept God revealed to Mike that could open doors in areas where the Christian church is persecuted. Ironically, he knew nothing about coffee or the coffee industry, but he knew that God had revealed an idea that could open areas of Asia to the Gospel. Being in the pulp and paper industry for 25 years as a materials manager, Pittman had a lot to learn about coffee roasting. By faith, he did some research and decided to purchase a coffee roaster. God provided capital from some silent partners who shared Mike’s vision for reaching the lost. Mike learned where to purchase the coffee beans, but getting the beans roasted consistently proved to be a challenge. Providentially he was led to an expert coffee roaster who was also a Christian. This expert showed Mike how to create consistently delicious coffee blends.
Pittman had the idea and concept for My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company moving forward, but now he had to get exposure among potential customers. He decided that he would purchase a vendor booth at the Celebration Village holiday market in Tupelo, Mississippi. Not only did Pittman sell out of his freshly roasted coffee during the three day market, he got his product into the hands of the right people. God was orchestrating His plan for Mike’s holy calling.
The American Family Association Partnership
One of the consumers of My Brother’s Cup Coffee at Celebration Village was an employee from the American Family Association (AFA). AFA is a pro-family organization that owns over 200 radio stations, publishes a monthly magazine, and runs an online news service. Mike was asked to share a weekly devotional at AFA, and his entrepreneurial vision for business as missions resonated with AFA. My Brother’s Cup and AFA have been actively growing in their partnership over the last few months. Currently, all order fulfillment for My Brother’s Cup Coffee is being handled through AFA’s e-commerce system. With both organizations working diligently to sell a great product while impacting the Kingdom, future growth is inevitable.
Current Scope and Future Vision
My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company is currently shipping 1,000 pounds of roasted coffee each week. To help put this in perspective, each bag of coffee sold weighs twelve ounces, so My Brother’s Cup is selling approximately 1,300 bags of coffee each week. With AFA handling all of the order fulfillment through their e-commerce system, roasting 1,000 pounds of coffee weekly has become more manageable for Pittman. My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company employs two full-time employees and one part-time employee. While Mike is excited about future growth, his vision for the company transcends profits.
In the near future Mike Pittman hopes to purchase all of his coffee beans from local Christian coffee farmers in Asia. These farmers would tithe to the persecuted churches in their region enabling the Gospel to permeate these localities. He also hopes to create profit-generating coffee houses in areas that are hostile to the Gospel. Many regions that openly persecute Christians become much friendlier to “religious” activity if there is an economic incentive. The coffee houses would help fund the spread of the Good News in the underground churches. The legitimate business of the coffee houses would create gathering places for locals who need to hear the saving message of Jesus Christ. Plans for the development of a non-profit organization that is linked to My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company are ongoing. This non-profit branch of My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company would directly fund and support global missions. Pittman’s vision does not end there. Once My Brother’s Cup becomes completely sustainable financially, Mike intends to reverse tithe. He will live off of 10% of his income and use the remaining 90% to fund mission work. Mike Pittman is proving that business can be a holy ministry!
Parting Remarks from Mike Pittman
Before I concluded my interview with Mike, I asked him what he would like to share with other Christians who are struggling to see their careers as a holy calling from the Lord. His comments penetrated my heart. “When I turned to the Lord I wanted to be more than a reader of God’s Word. I became a doer…God requires faith, trust, and prayer.” Pittman wanted to point other Christians to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Finally, Mike wanted to emphasize that viewing a career as a calling takes, “love, passion, perseverance, and endurance.”
In my life there are several people who stand out as having monumental faith. Listening to Mike Pittman’s entrepreneurial journey helped me to see that he is an ordinary man who has achieved extraordinary things through his faithfulness and vision. What excited me most about Mike’s story is that at the age of 57, his story is just beginning. What might be written about Pittman’s Kingdom achievements 15 years from now? Only the Lord knows, but I know that he will faithfully, and prayerfully, go wherever the Lord leads him. This monumental faith of an entrepreneur inspires me, and I pray that it will inspire you!
To learn more about My Brother’s Cup Coffee Company, visit http://mybrotherscup.com/
You can contact Mike Pittman directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee can be ordered from http://afastore.afa.net/p/668/my-brothers-cup-coffee or http://mybrotherscup.com/