By our mid 20’s, our passports were full. We had traveled to 30 countries and nearly every continent in the world. We had visited Russia right after Communism crumbled, spent time with Masai tribes in Kenya, lived with Gypsies in Ukraine, recovered from malaria in Ghana, visited lepers in Thailand, and traveled far into the Amazon rainforest.
With new friends around the world, we experienced hope and beauty, pain and poverty along the way. In our youthful idealism, we saw government as the mechanism for change. We studied political science, pursued careers in and out of Washington DC in development, education and finance. But we soon realized, government was always going to be limited and so we began yearning for something more, something different. That something would become Paradigm Shift.
We founded Paradigm Shift, armed with a stack of sticky notes as we wrote down words that gripped our hearts. Words like missions, entrepreneurship, poverty, injustice, discipleship, business and many others were posted all over our dining room.
Being energized by the explosive growth of followers of Jesus in the Global South, we saw the church in the developing world positioned like never before to offer hope in their communities. The tipping point of urbanization across the world was quickly approaching and our heart for the urban poor meant looking at both the opportunities and challenges stemming from dual economies in these global cities – the rich and the poor living side by side.
And in virtually every urban community in the developing world there is a church. Many of which are filled with an incredible depth of skilled professionals. But rarely are they given a platform to engage in ways that fundamentally address poverty in meaningful ways and in the process share their faith. What would it look like if the church had a model to do just that? And with that dream, Paradigm Shift began.