Rod Brenneman, Former CEO of Butterball, on Building Continuous Giving Engines

The Finish Line Podcast
Episode 41

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What We’ll Cover

Rod Brenneman has spent much of his career in agribusiness leading up to his role as CEO of Butterball. When he left Butterball in 2014, he wasn’t sure what he would do next. However, God certainly had some interesting plans in store for him.

It was around that time that Rod was introduced to Gary Ringger, the founder of Lifesong for Orphans. As God began to develop their relationship, Rod began to wrestle with one particular question: Is there a way to blend business and ministry to support Lifesong’s work indefinitely?

Since that time, Rod has developed a passion for what he calls giving engines. Giving engines are businesses whose profits are used to support the work of a ministry in an ongoing manner. Together with Lifesong, Rod has used his agribusiness experience to develop berry farms in Ukraine, Zambia, and Uganda. 

Today, these giving engines operate over 100 acres of berry producing land, employ 325 people, and generate over $600,000 annually to support Lifesong’s work with orphans. When they are fully operational, the berry farms will generate over a million dollars per year, all while employing many of the orphans they support. 

Rod is passionate about the idea of giving engines not only for their strategic effectiveness, but also for their ability to re-engage business minds when people are finishing up their corporate careers. Listen now to hear all Rod had to share.

Quotes to Remember

  • “Everything really belongs to God. We’re just called to be stewards of what He’s given us.”
  • “A giving engine is simply a business that directs all or a potion of its profits to ministry helping to make that ministry sustainable.”
  • “A giving engine represents an investment in economic, social, and spiritual transformation that provides ongoing sustainable support.”
  • “We expect them to deliver adequate or market-rate returns to provide sustainable cashflow for ministry.”
  • “I really want to challenge other people like me to think about finding ways to use their A-game skills for kingdom purposes.”
  • “Dream big, so that when it happens you’ll know that it was God and not you.”

Links from the Show

Bible References from the Show

Luke 3:11 | Whoever Has Two Tunics And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

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