To know and accept you do not know everything. I’m a church girl, so of course, I have a scripture for that! Proverbs 27.1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Pray. Pray while working, pray while not working, pray all throughout the process. Again, you can’t do it all on your own strength. If it was that easy everyone would do it. We have the greater strength on our side that is open and willing to help us build.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Day Edwards, a social entrepreneur, and second-generation church planter who loves helping churches earn more so they can do more. Day is the Founder of Church Space; a mobile app and website that connects vacant church spaces with business owners, event professionals, and church plants seeking space at an affordable rate. Helping Churchs create revenue-generating models and systems is her thing. “I truly believe when churches have more, they are able to do more for their congregation, community, and society.” — Day Edwards
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Hello, thank you for having me! Yes, I am a second-generation church planter that grew up watching her mother plant churches. I saw how her everyday work really had a symbolic impact within our community, and it really inspired me to follow that path. I served as a church planter for a number of years, and after that I founded a PR company that helped churches. At first, I only took over public relations and marketing for the congregations, which eventually led me to come up with the idea of Church Space. Church Space not only aims to work on the public relations needs of each church, but also to help rent out their underutilized space and produce revenue for them.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Last year was an amazing year for us, we won over five thousand dollars in a pitch competition in only a matter of seconds. This was a blessing for me, because I was able to go out and tell our story. The story of how passionate we are about what we do. This entails not only how we produce certain revenue for churches, but also how people and the community provide support for us. This was definitely one of the most interesting things that has happened to me since our launch in 2018.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
My tipping point was realizing that after being an entrepreneur for 20 years, I was still going to have to gravitate towards business accelerators. It was a hard realization. I felt like I was constantly having to prove I was an entrepreneur, and this made it even worse. The fact that I could not do it on my own felt like defeat to me in some way. However, I was lucky to come in contact with two business accelerator companies that were founded by African Americans; HBCUvc and the 1863 Pipeline Program. This instilled more confidence in me due to that these people not only looked like me but shared the same journey as me. Having their support made me feel as though I was better understood and not having to constantly fight to prove myself. One key lesson I definitely learned, especially as a black female founder, was that it is okay to say “I don’t know everything and I need help”. Often as women, we want to prove that we’re all knowing, and it’s okay not to be; It’s a process. Thanks to the help of the organizations I was working with I was able to accept this. I was also able to get comfortable with my own journey. However, before all of that, the first thing for me was realizing I can’t do anything without Christ. I am a woman of faith and that is what has opened doors for me, it’s key.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I’ve made was right when I was starting. I created an advert for churches to rent their space and included a picture of a church building. There was a slogan on it that read “empty churches make money.” That really upset the pastors. At the moment I didn’t realize how it sounded. I was extremely confused when I started to get a backlash over it. People would comment angry emojis all over my posts! Apparently, pastors and churchgoers correlated it with a negative tone and were not happy with me. That was the moment when I learned that advertising tone and message really need to speak to the heart of customers and consumers. It was a very good lesson that I will never forget.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are constantly working on new projects that are going to help the churches stay up to date with technology and social media. The idea is for churches to stay better engaged to their community, their following and the church outside of the building. Focusing mainly on the virtual church, while still giving the option to rent out the church to remain generating revenue. Like I mentioned previously, a big passion of ours is helping churches have ways to engage and remain generating revenue.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- To know and accept you do not know everything. I’m a church girl, so of course, I have a scripture for that! Proverbs 27.1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
- That it is okay to ask for help, to look for team members and build a team. Also, to always rely on God because the Word tells us that he’ll give us our daily bread. Knowing and starting everyday by asking God to give us our daily bread and the strength to accomplish it.
- To rest. It is so important to rest! I recently took a 4-day vacation to the beach and it refreshed my soul and spirit. I’ve learned rest really helps us as business owners, as wives, as moms. It helps us not to have a burnout where we lose our passion, where we lose the sense of actually making an impact because we are constantly toiling rather than enjoying the experience of building.
- To have an amazing support system. It’s really good to have someone you can bounce ideas off of.
- Pray. Pray while working, pray while not working, pray all throughout the process. Again, you can’t do it all on your own strength. If it was that easy everyone would do it. We have the greater strength on our side that is open and willing to help us build.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Rest and find people who do what you need them to do. A good team is amazing.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I would have to say my son. He’s only five, but he is my helper. I get a lot of questions about raising prophetic kids. He might only be five but we’ve raised him in such a way to always communicate with God and the Holy Spirit. By doing so he keeps me in line with a lot of my business meetings, my schedule, my purpose and the passion behind Church Space. Especially Church Space TV. Recently we launched a platform for churches to stream their content, and every morning he’s up checking on Church Space TV to see what new churches have added videos. He’s like my quality control manager now. His birth also had a lot of impact on me, before he was born I was in the PR and pageant industry. Becoming a mom stirred me towards Church Space. I never wanted to just be a mom, I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to create an impact.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
I think I would move churches to understand that God wants us to be wealthy and that is okay to have more than enough. To have exceedingly and abundantly, because he’s a God of grace, love and provision. Most Christians think that the humble or Christian thing to do is to not have too much, right? But God shows us that we are just stewards and that if we humble ourselves he’ll give us more than enough.
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