C3 Leaders JUST BUSINESS … Christ in commerce, community, and culture
You might call Craig Chapman a ‘lucky’ man.
After all, he was at Microsoft during the roaring 90’s. Can you spell stock options?
He married another Microsoft employee; stock options x 2. Many of their options were cashed out before Microsoft’s stock began to languish. After he left Microsoft, Craig eventually co-founded INRIX in 2005. It quickly became the leading-provider of traffic information, directions and driver services in the world. It most likely will be another IPO success story creating another group of millionaires in the Puget Sound area. Great timing, great luck.
In the meantime, because of their financial resources, Craig has been helping to raise 10 year old twins with his wife, April while investing his time and wealth into various non-profit organizations. April and Craig have been together 18 years. Craig recently left the board of INRIX to pursue more philanthropic options.
Luck, just another American success story, or something more? Well, there is another story. There usually is.
Craig started out like many of us. He went to college, became a Christian youth leader, maintained a good academic record, and graduated. “My goal was to excel at my job in order to get promotions, make good money, and make my parents proud of me”, admitted Craig.
And he did well in those first jobs. After 16+ years in engineering and software development, he eventually joined Microsoft in 1993. But, in the meantime, he carried the burden and shame of a failed marriage, feeling unworthy of serving in God’s kingdom. When he finally married April in 1994 they started behind the curve with ‘significant debt’.
In the midst of this situation, the Chapman’s confronted the truth of Malachi 3:10. They realized they had never attempted to trust the Lord with their finances. From then on things changed. “Despite our difficult financial situation, we made sure that we paid God first with every paycheck or bonus”, said Craig. ” Here was the exciting part for us: God blessed us right from the start – for some reason, we just kept making more money, eliminating debt, and seeing our finances blessed! We knew that this was clearly from God because we weren’t doing anything else differently – except being obedient in our financial stewardship.”
And then God continued to work on them. Their relationship with the Word, with the community of faith and the needs of the world, began to sharpen their senses. Craig describes this evolution as if the Lord was “pulling back a curtain and revealing the details little by little over time. One acrostic we picked up along the way that began to shape our thinking about generous living was ‘LIFE’ – Labor, Influence, Finances, and Expertise.”
God had revealed the immensity of His generosity for a purpose. And as time went on and burdensome debt turned into abundant wealth, Craig and April began to give beyond the tithe; providing more and more of their wealth to areas they felt God was directing them. They also saw the wisdom of another gift they had been given: leverage.
But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:3-23)
“I think we all intuitively understand the principle of leverage as applying a small amount of input and yielding greater results due to some multiplier effect at work”, explained Craig. “So, as we understand God’s ability to increase our capacity to serve with the LIFE resources He’s given us, we want to find the multiplier effects that will give us the greatest output and maximize our kingdom impact.”
As the Chapman’s prayerfully consider where God wants them to be, one of the investments Craig has been prompted to make with his heart, his time and his resources is in a C3 Leaders Forum where he shares leadership responsibilities with Joe Castleberry. “I realized I had never been in a group focused on building relationships; with God and each other”, said Craig. It became another ‘leverage’ point for him. “By gaining each other’s trust and gradually drilling in on aspects of our lives, we create a springboard for how God is acting in our lives.” Craig relates it to excavation. “We are navigating layers of trust, and, I get to help guide the navigation through those layers; iron sharpening iron.”
There is a type of iron
on which a cutting knife is made and a type of iron
which is harder than a knife to sharpen it.
At one time in his life, after the divorce, he felt that he would never be able to be used by God again. But now, “from the ashes” he has been given the gift of generosity, leverage and wisdom to be shared within his C3 Leaders Forum and with the world. With that gift, you might change the word ‘luck’ to ‘blessed”, a more appropriate term for a Christ-directed life.
Article Written by Ron Worman a C3 Leaders Forum Chair