When I, Mark Canada, was about five years old, I asked Santa for a Superman suit. You can imagine my anticipation on Christmas morning as I ran to the tree. There was a package there with my name on it. My little fingers dug into the seams, and I threw off the wrapping paper to reveal my very own Superman suit. It looked up at me through the cellophane front panel, promising great adventures ahead.
Then I saw something that first confused me and then disgusted me. Across the front of the package, in bold letters, were words to the effect of "This suit will not allow you to fly." I was crushed. Why else would anyone want a Superman suit? I didn't want to walk around in a blue suit looking like Superman. No, I wanted to fly!
I had planned to soar forward in daring rescues, made possible by the miraculous blue suit. I never wore the suit; not ever. It was set aside as a fraud. I didn't bother to tell Santa Claus of the egregious error he had made.
The shaping of our values
Such experiences at a young age both form our values and reveal the values that are part of our unique DNA. In using the word “values,” I refer to the principles we use, either consciously or subconsciously, to guide and determine our thoughts and actions. These values often show what we really believe to be important in life.
At Marketplace and Development Enterprises, we have intentionally chosen each one of our values. The values of an organization can be compared to an individual's character. Like character, an organization's values, whether documented or simply observed, illustrate who they are more than a mission statement or a five-year plan.
Authenticity in many forms
One of MDE’s values is authenticity. We strive to be up front with both our volunteers and our members as to who we are and who we are not – what we can help with and what we cannot. Some blue suits were never made to help you fly. We are committed to describing what our blue suits can and cannot do. We are also committed to partnering with mature followers of Jesus Christ who seek to be authentic as they pursue excellence in both making disciples and making money. They have integrity. Their business is not a front and following Christ in making disciples is not an afterthought. These marketplace workers and entrepreneurs bring authentic presence to unreached communities, pursuing authentic relationships so that everyone may experience the love and hear the message of Jesus.
As an organization, MDE is committed to authenticity. We strive to fulfill the promises we make to both our volunteers and our members. That means we are careful not to over-promise. We would prefer to over-deliver. Some blue suits were never made to help you fly.