Share Collective, Inc. was birthed out of the 34 year ministry experience of founder, Steve Helm. Having a great interest and education aimed toward medicine and biological sciences, Steve followed a calling to serve as an innovative senior pastor, and in executive roles in well-known mega churches.
Seeing life, ministry and opportunities "a bit uniquely" from the pack, Steve recognized the valiant, yet relatively short-lived efforts by the faith community to address global poverty, the plight of orphans, and health crises like AIDS, Ebola. Millions of dollars have been invested over time with few sustainable results. (See article: Taking the Miss out of Missions)
Steve's belief was that the calling of the church (the Great Commission) required that the work of the church be to equip Christ followers not to simply recruit more attendees to come "inside the church", but to advance the cause of hope outside the walls of Christian organizations and buildings in every dimension of life. For years Steve ruminated on how, if harnessed, the faith community (churches, individuals) could explore new, unconventional models, aimed toward specific outcomes, rather than weaker efforts supported by tradition or isolated stories of success.
While serving to create and advance global strategies for a major international ministry, Steve began to put into action his "holy hunches" and became instrumental in the formation of dozens of farm schools, and the creation of a coffee co-op numbering more than 2,000 farmers in Haiti (following the earth quake). Observing the results, Steve saw that economic empowerment, rather than handouts, did more to generate lasting change in every area of life than any other strategy.
Still living out his life-long calling, Steve is driven by his belief that God has provided solutions for desperate people, but may need others to help cultivate access or help discover what is already within reach. Coffee was seen as one such, very powerful, tool to address abject poverty and associated social maladies.
Steve began importing coffee, and showing farmers how to maximize their yields. As economic strength resulted, the participating families became creative with their own investments and with their own dollars. Also, it was observed that the better families' nutrition, the greater the chance children of those families had of attending and excelling at school.
A surprising outcome was the impact seen on orphans. A little background: Orphanages are a centuries' old solution to house and raise children without parents. In more recent times, however, children are brought to orphanages for many reasons other than being without parents. Parents often bring their own children to orphanages when they simply cannot afford to feed, cloth and educate them. Further, when both parents are, in fact, deceased, many children are brought to an orphanage by another family member, WHO WOULD raise that child as their own if they had financial capacity. In the areas where Steve saw economic capacity grow, there was less need for orphanages, as families, now having capacity, raised their own children. Even when parents had died, extended families enveloped their nieces, nephews, or grandchildren directly because they had the financial strength to do so. This is a very compelling observation!
In December, 2014, Steve, also known as the Javapastor (twitter, Instagram) launched out to begin the Share Collective, Inc. initiative, seeking to unite individuals, churches, businesses, to see lasting change in every dimension of life in third world contexts. Having a great passion and extensive knowledge about coffee, it became apparent that coffee would become the bridge between the "third world" and "our world", trumpeting the emerging hope brought by revealing the God-giving potentials. It would be coffee that would catalyze the building of capacity, therein changing generations to come.
The journey continues…