I am a female founder in the faith tech industry. My work is about helping society understand the value of the number one underutilized piece of property in the United States which is churches. Whether you talk about myself as an entrepreneur or the industry I am in, there is nothing common about my situation.
As a part of our series about strong women leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Day Edwards.
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
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular 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 tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I think I act as a disruptor because I am a female founder in the faith tech industry. My work is about helping society understand the value of the number one underutilized piece of property in the United States which is churches. Whether you talk about myself as an entrepreneur or the industry I am in, there is nothing common about my situation.
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 backlash over it. People would comment angry emojis all over my posts! Apparently, pastors and church goers 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.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I am a faith girl and that is the foundation of my life, so my first mentor will always be Jesus. How he discipled. His relationship with his disciples really showed me that if Jesus needed 12 devoted disciples, I definitely needed a team! Just from that revelation I understood the importance of team building, and of cultivating the right culture to build the brand and the business.
The second one would be Melissa Bradely, I met her at a business accelerator. She is one of the owners of 1863 Ventures. She has actually been generating a lot of press and advocating for black female founders to be able to have the same opportunity in regards to capital in their businesses. She is also a prime example of a go-getter and disruptor. You don’t see a lot of females in the VC industry, especially black females. Melissa is a black female leading a VC firm. This is why she is so important to me.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I believe that the disruption I am causing within the faith tech industry is definitely having a positive impact. Simply because on average, in matters of technology, churches are 10 to 13 years behind. I am trying to change that by helping them stay updated. Also because my strategy is thought-out to not only impact the church, but to also to help out the community in which the church serves. I believe that wherever a church is able to have more they are able to do more. What I mean by that is, whenever there is more financial resources available to them they are able to provide more to the community they serve and to the congregation as well.
I would define a ‘not so positive’ disruption as anytime someone disrupts something that they do not have a solution for. It leaves the matter in an unsettled way, things are left worse than how they were found.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- 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.
- To know and accept you do not know everything and that is okay. 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.”
- To have an amazing support system. Like I mentioned before, Jesus shows us that if even he needed 12 devoted disciples. Team support will help and support you through the ups and downs of building and paving the road to success.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
My next move comes as an inspiration from the CoronaVirus outbreak. As a result of it, churches had no other option than to close their doors for the time being. One evening I came up with an idea. I decided to put together a series of online courses for churches to understand how to better utilize their space. I also started to offer free church assessment to help churches strategize on the best utilization of their space when they open. Currently, that has evolved and led me to start my own consulting firm for churches, Church Space Consultants.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
The biggest challenge for women disruptors would have to be the under-gratification because of their sex. This is very evident within the start-up capital and investments they receive compared to their male counterparts.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Yes, there is a podcast from the founders of Airbnb called ‘How I Built This’ with Guy Raz. I don’t know if you know but church space is based on the airbnb type of model, but for churches. All along my research, whenever we were building church space always made sure to research their steps. How they got to where they are. Then I came across their podcast, it talked about how when they were first starting out it was so difficult to build a marketplace business. It explained you have two sides to fulfill, you have ‘Side A’ and ‘Side ‘B’, you have to have someone who wants a service and you have to have someone who is willing to provide it. It definitely changed my perspective.They talked about how they literally had to go from home to home knocking on doors asking people “can we rent out your home?”. That really encouraged me, because when I first started churches were not signing up. I had to work up a strategy, I decided to contact each church personally and explain the basis of our business. I did this for a while until it worked, and they finally started signing up! This process really helped us shape our marketing and better understand the demographic of one ‘Side A’ of our marketplace.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Rest in nature and rest in God” I’ve had to learn the hard way that 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.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that 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
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!