New Podcast

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Faith Driven Entrepreneur

New Podcast by Henry Kaestner

Here is a new podcast I think you'll find enjoyable. I know I have.

Henry Kaestner, was our HTPB keynote speaker last year. His new podcast is doing something intriguing. 

Henry is a Silicon VC who believes making money isn’t enough. He wants entrepreneurs who are driven by their faith. Men and women who will change the world with great ideas and God-centered leadership. Entrepreneurs who change people’s lives for Christ. This is Henry’s heart and the heart of his partners. 

This is one unique VC firm and one unique podcast.

I encourage you to download and subscribe to the Faith Driven Entrepreneur podcast today.

You get to ask your questions and have a faith driven VC and successful entrepreneur answer them.

Henry and his partner share their best values-based advice in edible 15-20 minute segments.

Listen, learn, apply. Join me as a subscriber

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

 

New monthly feature from the HTPB

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October: Russ and Danielle West

Intentionally Helping Marriages Blossom

The leaders who host the Atlanta High Tech Prayer Breakfast are out there all year long. The Breakfast is just the beginning of their ministries. God called them to serve many different people in so many different ways. We will highlight one new leader’s ministry each month. Maybe they can serve you. Maybe you can serve with them.

This month we feature Russ and Danielle West. This couple ministers to married couples internationally through their site. Russ is a top gun software sales rep and so was Danielle. I met Russ before he met Danielle. He walked into a Grace@Work group I was leading. He shared a bit of his story and concluded by telling us his marriage just blew up! I won’t steal his thunder. He explains his story below. It’s gripping.

Take a look at their ministry by visiting their site. They are making a difference in many people’s marriages by sharing what it means to be intentional. Great content is the result of a heart for God and for married couples.


Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

P.S. If you are a table host of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast and would like us to consider featuring your ministry, send me an email.

What is the ministry you are involved with? 

We have a marriage ministry that includes our marriage website intentionalmarriages.net. In addition to the website, we are one of the leaders of our church’s marriage curriculum called Thrive that is taught once a quarter in either 8 or 12-week small group format. We also work with couples one on one.

Who does the ministry help?

Married couples. All types of marriages, ones that simply want to invest in their good marriage to make it better, ones who recognize they have been on parallel paths and need a road map back, and ones who are in crisis.

What impact have you seen through your ministry?

Restoration and excitement about a marriage that couples thought was not fixable. We have seen couples who have been married 40 years and thought they had a good marriage say they were able to take their marriage to a much greater place by implementing tools and processes to manage conflict, communicate better, understand how their past impacts their marriage, and forgive on a daily basis. We have also seen couples that were ready to give up on their marriage not only stay together but build a healthy, thriving marriage. 

What was the journey that brought you to be a part of the ministry?

We both have a passion for making our own marriage the best it can be and helping others with their marriage. When Danielle and I met, I had been divorced, and Danielle had experienced bad dating relationships. 

From the beginning, we were intentional about our dating relationship. As we started talking about marriage, we decided to go to counseling to understand what role we played in our past relationships that did not turn out well. After going to counseling for a year before our wedding, we made the commitment to go to counseling on a regular basis for the rest of our lives as we felt it would be one of the best investments for our marriage. We have now been going to marriage counseling for 14 years. 

As we learned to be intentional with our marriage, we decided to attend our church's marriage class. We were amazed by the curriculum and what we learned from the other couples, so we decided to go through the training process to become leaders. Most couples have never experienced transparent, vulnerable conversations in a group setting and do not want the group to stop meeting. 

Unfortunately, we could not continue meeting since we facilitate another group. This pain point of wanting to stay connected to each group caused us to come up with the idea of starting a marriage website to share what we have learned from 5 years of leading marriage small groups and 14 years of marriage counseling. Because we share the good, bad and ugly, the website is a private membership website, which means most of the content is behind a wall that requires your email and a password. We share resources and tools that have helped us significantly.

What impact has the ministry had on your own life, family, and marriage?

We both have a lot of emotional wounds (baggage) from our childhoods and past relationships. The ministry helps us stay intentional and focused on the process and tools to have a thriving marriage. It is a great form of accountability. We also are constantly learning something new that helps our marriage and enables us to help others. Growing up with a violent alcoholic father impacts the way I react to many interactions with Danielle in a very negative way. Counseling and the tools/processes we have learned from our marriage class have helped me immensely be the husband God wants me to be.  

Danielle came from a family where their style of conflict was shutting down and not discussing the issues. That method did not carry over very well into our marriage. Counseling is a hard science to measure success, but going from three days of not talking after an argument to now recovering within 20 minutes and most often in the moment is huge.

What were your concerns before getting involved? 

The vulnerability of putting our stuff online even with a password wall was significantly different than sharing our marriage journey face-to-face. The technical aspect of pulling off a membership website with no coding background. And the simple fear of “what if nobody joins us?” 

All that disappeared when I reminded myself that this is a website built for our kids in hopes that someday they will learn from our mistakes. We have a responsibility with this digital footprint we are leaving behind. Are we posting our lunch or the wisdom we’ve been blessed to learn?

How did God address those concerns? 

The measurable items we can easily point to are the 103 members who joined before we formally launched and a church in Florida who asked us to speak to their married couples. The immeasurable ones are the marriages who are thriving because of the principles we have shared with them and the ones who have recovered from crisis.

What surprised you after you started the ministry? 

How the simple tools we practice and the vulnerability in which we share have resulted in open, rich, transformative marriages.

What would be your pitch to someone interested in helping in the ministry or learning more about it? 

Successful marriages are intentional. We provide resources to help married couples make intentional investments in their marriage. Join us! 

How has the High Tech Prayer Breakfast impacted your ministry?

The High Tech Prayer Breakfast has been such an important part of our marriage ministry. When I was going through my divorce, I met three angels at a Grace@Work study led by Charlie Paparelli. These three (Robert DiCristina, Doug Legg, and Robert Campbell) had all been through a divorce and mentored me in how God would want me to handle the divorce process instead of doing it the world’s way. 

It was a very humbling journey, and their love, wisdom, and investment in me laid the groundwork for my passion to help other marriages. Also, Robert DiCristina ended up introducing me to Danielle. God works in such wonderful ways even in our brokenness. Finally, many of the people we have helped through our marriage ministry are members of the High Tech community. 

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Grace@Work Small Groups

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Discover Your Grace@Work Small Group

Take One of the Most Important Steps to Growing Your Spiritual Walk

Yesterday morning I met with the Grace@Work small group leaders from across Atlanta. These are leaders excited and dedicated to helping you grow spiritually. Look through this list and find a group that works with your schedule and give it a try. Find a small group near you. These groups have enriched the lives of thousands, they can do the same for you. I challenge you to give them a try.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

Alpharetta: Intradiem

Meeting Time: Friday, 7:15 - 8:30 am
Leader Email: Don Otto (LinkedIn), Tim FitzGerald (LI)
Location: 3650 Mansell Road, Building Two, Suite 500, Alpharetta, GA, 30009

Alpharetta: Windward Pkwy

Meeting Time: Friday, 6:45 - 8:00 am
Leader Email: Jeff Browning (LI), Jason Phillips (LI)
Location: 5900 Windward Pkwy, Suite 250, Alpharetta, GA 30005

AtlantaTech Village

Meeting Time: Thursday, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: John Duisberg (LI), Joe Yi (LI)
Location: 3423 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA, 30305

Midtown at the ATDC: Advanced Technology Development Center

Meeting Time: Tuesday, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: Courtney Alexander (LI), Adam Sheridan (LI)
Location: 75 Fifth Street, Atlanta, GA, 30308

Midtown at the ATDC 2: Advanced Technology Development Center

Meeting Time: Wednesday, 11:45 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: Scott Lopano (LI), Blake Patton (LI)
Location: 75 Fifth Street, Atlanta, GA, 30308

Norcross/Peachtree Corners

Meeting Time: Wednesday, 7:00 - 8:30 am
Leader Email: David Hauser (LI), Chris Baker (LI)
Location:  6050 Peachtree Pkwy, Norcross, GA 30092

Old Peachtree Road & I-85: iStaff Offices 85 & Old Peachtree Road

Meeting Time: Monday, 7:15 - 8:15 am
Leader Email: Jason Smith (LI)
Location: 1325 Satellite Blvd Suite 1305, Suwanee, GA, 30024

Perimeter 1: ROAM Dunwoody

Meeting Time: Monday, 7:15 - 8:30am
Leader Email: Mike Morris (LI)
Location: Suite 800 (2nd Floor), 1155 Mt Vernon Hwy NE, Atlanta,  GA, 30338

Perimeter 2: HA + W | Aprio 

Meeting Time: Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00am
Leader Email: Susan O'Dwyer (LI), Curtis Cain (LI)
Location: Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA, 30328

*See our Grace@Work page for newly added groups or any changes since this blog post.

Making the Bible Personal and Real: Blake Patton

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Blake Patton

An interview with Grace@Work Bible study leader Blake Patton, Managing Partner at Tech Square Ventures

In three short years, Blake has established Tech Square Ventures as the leading early-stage Venture Capital firm in Atlanta. Using his Georgia Tech network and his reputation as a technology leader, great entrepreneurs intending to build high-value companies followed.

I met Blake while cruising around the ATDC several years ago. He was intent on building a stronger community in his role as ATDC’s General Manager. I ran the idea of a Grace@Work Bible study by him, and he loved it. He said, “This is an element we are missing in our community. Faith is a big part of people’s lives. It would be great if you host the study.”

I hosted, and Blake showed up. That study grew to a point where we decided to split it. One is focused on building ambassadors for Christ. Blake’s is focused on people interested in getting to know the God of the Bible.

Blake will be the local keynote at this year’s High Tech Prayer Breakfast on October 6th. Come by and meet Blake at his study then come to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast to hear his story.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries

Where: ATDC (Google Maps
Leader: Blake Patton
When: Wednesday 11:30 AM
Open: Yes. Everyone welcomed.

Why did you start the Bible study?

Patton: I first got involved in Grace@Work when I was leading ATDC four years ago. I heard stories of the studies' impact from Sig Mosley and others, so I wanted it to be a part of the evolving community at ATDC and around Tech Square. I teamed up with Charlie Paparelli, Bird Blitch, and Greg Foster and we started meeting with other seekers weekly. 

What was your biggest concern?

Patton: Our biggest concern was where to start. We quickly learned that personal invitations to attend the study were the best way to get the group going. I didn’t know how to lead a study, but fortunately, Charlie, Cortney Alexander, and Sawyer Miller stepped up and have been terrific facilitators. After our first study group had grown, I helped support Sawyer in creating a second seeker study.

What do you use to study?

Patton: The Bible is an amazing leadership manual. The best part of the study for me is learning from other technology leaders in our community how they are applying their faith in their professional lives. 

What’s an unexpected benefit of doing the Bible study?

Patton: The study has given me clarity on why I love what I do. It has helped me view being an investor as an opportunity to serve God by serving others – helping entrepreneurs succeed and achieve their dreams. The companies in the building create jobs and improve lives. When they succeed, we succeed allowing us to invest in more entrepreneurs. What I learn by studying with other investors and entrepreneurs builds my relationship with Christ, and helps make me a more successful investor.

Cutting Through Spiritual Fog with Biblical Insight: Mike Morris

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Mike Morris

An interview with Grace@Work Bible Study leader Mike Morris, Co-founder of Broadgreen Solutions

Mike is one of my most favorite people in the whole world and a close friend. He is smart, funny, practical and transparent. You can’t help becoming friends with Mike within a few minutes of meeting him. This is true in his ministry and his work.
 
On the advice of Matt Stevens, the Chairman of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast, Mike attended a Grace@Work Bible study I was leading at the ATDC. That was back in 2008. And within a few years of attending the study, Mike became the leader. 
 
Mike was a rising star with the North Highland Company. He later became a Group VP leading multiple business units for the consulting firm. Later he co-founded the successful Broadgreen Solutions.
 
Mike is one of the men in my life from whom I seek advice. He is a clear thinker. He cuts through the fog of confusion in seconds and helps me define the problem I need to solve. He not only does this in his management consulting practice but also in his ministry.
 
If you have the opportunity to attend Mike’s study, you really need to do it. He makes the Bible come to life. God’s Word will speak to your intellect. It will travel to your heart. And it will eventually show itself in your feet. You will walk more closely with the Lord, guaranteed! 
 
Charlie
 
Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries
 
Where: ROAM Dunwoody (Google Maps
Leader: Mike Morris
When: Monday 7:30 am to 8:30 am
Open: Yes. Everyone welcomed.
 
How long have you been leading a Grace@Work Bible study group?  
 
Morris: I started leading this study about two years ago. I previously led one in Midtown for three to four years.

Why did you start leading this Bible study group? 
 
Morris: I felt God nudging me to start the study. I was working out of the ROAM co-working space in Dunwoody, as the co-founder of a new business. I looked around at the environment, and it seemed like a great place to launch a Grace@Work study. 
 
I also realized that, if I didn’t start it then, while I was also co-founding a business, my life was going to fill-up, and I wouldn’t have time for the study. I wanted to start the study while also starting the business, to make sure I fit it into my workweek.

What were your fears or concerns before starting?  
 
Morris: Launching a study is a bit of a “build it, and they will come” adventure. My concern was and still is participation. We get people who come for a while, then their work situation changes and the time, date or location no longer works. I overcame my concern by partnering with Matt Stevens. We co-launched the study and pulled on our networks to find our first members.

What has been the single biggest reward of doing the study?  
 
Morris: The personal impact on a few individuals.  I’ve had people pull me aside or catch me after a study to talk about the impact our study had on them.  That keeps me coming back.

How do you continue to grow your study?  
 
Morris: Word of mouth.

What is a story of how your Bible study has had an impact?  
 
Morris: I got to know someone more closely because he came to our study. He really plugged in and was going through some personal challenges at the time.

Outside of the study, he ended up going deep on some issues. At a critical moment, he put his faith in Christ. He called me the next day to tell me. I was thrilled to play a small role in God’s bigger plan.

Where does your group meet? 
 
Morris: ROAM Dunwoody, Monday mornings.  We start to trickle in about 7:15 am, then our study runs 7:30 to 8:30 am. We have a hard stop so people can get to work. It’s a great way to give God the first fruits from the workweek.

Speaking Truth in Love: Jason Smith

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Jason Smith

An interview with Grace@Work Bible Study leader Jason Smith, President of iStaff

Jason Smith is one of the very best and most active members of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast leadership team. He is a table host with two tables, and he is always careful to invite friends, co-workers, vendors, and clients to this iconic event. 

He uses the prayer breakfast as his number one tool as an ambassador for Christ in the Atlanta technology marketplace. Jason is the founder and leader of iStaff, a premier staffing firm for technology and accounting professionals.

One day, Jason called me and asked me to lunch. He said, “We keep seeing each other at industry meetings but don’t know each other.” 

This is when I learned his story as a young man who grew up on the beaches of Jacksonville and who came to know Jesus as an adult. 

Jason is a good friend, HTPB Board Member and a great Bible study leader. Christ is the foundation of his family, and his business and all that wisdom and knowledge comes through in his study. 

If you live or work near Suwanee, or know someone who does, this is a study that is worth attending.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries

Where: iStaff (Google Map)
Bible study leader: Jason Smith
When: Monday 7:15am - 8:15am
Open: Yes. Everyone welcomed.

How long have you been leading a Grace@Work Bible study group? 

Smith: 7 years

What were your fears or concerns before starting? 

Smith: I was a new Christian and didn’t have a high-level knowledge of the Bible.

What has been the single biggest reward of doing the study? 

Smith: Seeing others grow in Christ.

How do you continue to grow your study?  

Smith: I invite people personally and also our group members invite people. It is very organic. We are in Suwanee so we have to be intentional about inviting new members

What is a story of how your Bible study has had an impact on leading people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ?  

Smith: I invited a friend to the study. At the first meeting, he announced, “I believe that all good people go to heaven.” He felt this strongly and didn’t seem open to debate.

We didn’t argue with him, we just loved him and spoke the truth in love. About two years later he professed Christ as the only way to heaven. 

Where does your group meet?  

Smith: iStaff’s offices in Suwanee, GA

Becoming a Christ Ambassador: Cortney Alexander

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Cortney Alexander

An interview with Grace@Work Bible study leader Cortney Alexander, Patent Lawyer

I met Cortney in his conference room. One of my companies was looking for a patent law firm to evaluate the strength of our patents. At the end of the meeting, I got up to leave and Cortney blocked my way. He said, “I heard about you. You are in marketplace ministry. I read about you on the High Tech Prayer Breakfast website.”

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

“Show me how to do marketplace ministry,” he said.

“You should attend one of the Grace@Work groups offered by our members. They are all over the city,” I said.

“Ok. I will,” he responded.

I figured I would never see him again. But the next week he showed up at my Grace@Work group at the ATDC. Then, in what seemed like no time, he was taking over the leadership.

Cortney is a gifted leader with deep knowledge of scripture. He comes prepared. He is a superb facilitator. Not only that, he also personally cares about everyone who attends. I’ve learned much from him.

Charlie
Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries
 


Where: ATDC
Bible study leader: Cortney Alexander
When: 11:30 AM Tuesday
Open: Yes. Everyone welcome

Why did you start a Bible study?

I was interested in reaching people like me: people who went off to college and were pulled away from whatever relationship they might have had with God. Then they were too focused on career and family to make any time for him.

How did you get involved?

When I met Charlie in making a pitch for his company’s business, I stopped him on his way out the door to ask about HTM. He pointed me to the Grace@Work groups, and I signed up for the study at the Atlanta Technology Development Center in midtown. That happened to be the study Charlie and Blake Patton were leading.

In August 2016, I took over the study for several weeks while Charlie was out of town. Like Tom Brady when he filled in for Drew Bledsoe, I didn’t let go when he returned!

What is one story that demonstrates the study’s impact?

We’ve seen God at work in a number of lives since then. One is Tom Grant, a lawyer practicing technology law and commercial litigation. He joined our study for Discovery 2015 after attending the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. He’s since said that he didn’t know why he kept coming back those first few weeks, and, to be honest, I was a little surprised, too! But God kept drawing him back.

After some months of attending our study, Tom told a story about a personal turning point that occurred in an unexpected moment—in the midst of an argument with his wife. When (in the heat of the moment!) she questioned why he was even going to a Bible study, he responded, “Because I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!” I love his response!

How has your study grown?

We’re now preparing to split the study in two: (1) an introductory study for those exploring what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, and (2) an “ambassador training” study for those interested in diving deeper into the Bible to better prepare to live out the gospel in their daily lives.

I wonder when I’ll find myself out of town for a few weeks and return to find that God has raised up another person to lead people in the study of His word. For me, that journey started by attending a Grace@Work group.

We’d love to have you join us.