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On a Journey to Meet Needs

Marketplace & Development Enterprises has a unique service model. BAM entrepreneurs pay a small monthly membership fee, which provides them access to all of our BAM support services: business guidance and accountability, mission mentoring, personal support, and more. These services are provided by our faculty of seasoned, volunteer Christian business leaders, technical specialists, and mission experts who are equally passionate about Business and Mission. This month we showcase one of those volunteers, Tim Krauss, who is himself a BAMer.

Tim began his story by saying, “I didn’t realize I was an entrepreneur until I turned thirty. So, I always felt like I was a little late to the game.” Tim had earned an undergraduate degree in business and management, but at that point, he was unsure of what he wanted to do. “I was still figuring that out with the Lord,” he remarked. By the time he turned 25, he had held 19 jobs and had lived in 25 locations. To sum up this period, he said, “We went through many transitions as God kept moving our family, and I had to learn and adapt.”

Once during a move, Tim was told in no uncertain terms that he needed to get rid of his waterbed. Hoping to donate it to someone in need, he contacted his church. The church secretary mentioned a man named Bill who probably needed a bed, but she didn’t have his contact information. This shocked Tim, who felt the church should be the main place where needs were met, and people found the love of Christ.

So, he created an online platform where people could connect and have their needs met. This was similar to sites like Craigslist and Freecycle but with a more personalized, community-centric approach. At one point, NeedsMet had several thousand users in all 50 states – and beyond! 

Tim and Marianne were married in Georgia and then felt the Lord sending them to Chicago. They’d never been there and didn’t know a soul. But, they obediently packed up their U-Haul and prepared for the move. The night before they set out, a stranger called to say she had a place for them to stay the first night. Beyond that, there was no plan.

On their first morning in Chicagoland, they prayerfully looked over a map and chose Schaumberg, Illinois. That same day they found an apartment and moved in. Only then did they discover that they were living close to the mega-church, Willow Creek, which at that time had 35,000 members. Certainly, there were needs to be met there! Confident in his product, Tim pitched NeedsMet. But he soon realized that the pace of church is different than in business.

In time, Willow Creek presented Tim with a new project: Take a book of job listings from top-level employers who were seeking quality employees, and put it online. Tim, now 23, eagerly took the challenge. The match was struck, launching The Job Connections, an online job board helping mega-churches connect job seekers with employers. Tim successfully ran the company for 15 years, during which time 115,000 people found jobs and discovered God’s calling on their lives. The company was later sold to a group in Atlanta that has now taken it to the next level. Lots of needs being met, building on that first vision.

Business and Mission

Business and Mission is not just a strategy for Tim; it’s a lifestyle. And it’s baked into his approach to acquiring new clients. “I have learned to rely on the Lord as my marketing department. I pray for clients, and he brings them to me.” For the past 20 years, Tim has been working with app developers from around the world, and serving both for-profit and nonprofit clients. 

Tim learned about Marketplace and Development Enterprises when he was looking for a way to give back. He loves coaching start-ups since it builds on his life experience. “Because I have been on the rollercoaster, I can help entrepreneurs navigate it and talk to them about Jesus along the way.” Tim also volunteers with Springboard based in Spokane, Washington, and has taught courses in entrepreneurship at Gonzaga University. Through MDE, Tim coaches and advises BAMers serving in unreached communities around the world.

Tim finds alignment with the mission of MDE. “I would like to see MDE be a place where entrepreneurs can thrive and have the right people, the right systems, the right knowledge, and the right processes to be successful in business. If they are successful in business and profitable in another country, that brings great opportunity to show the love of Jesus to their workers and their community.”

Tim and Marianne are currently on a five-month service trip with their four children, ages 10, 13, 15, and 17. It is not only about Tim coming alongside ministries and friends with IT needs, but the whole family is involved in serving – cooking, cleaning, painting, and watching children. “My wife and I thought a lot about the one character trait we want to guarantee our kids have when they leave home. We decided it would be a heart to serve. By serving all different kinds of people, they will grow in love, compassion, and grace. In seeing God’s heart, we want them to also develop a heart for the nations.” Wherever they are, they trust God to connect them to people who need prayer and encouragement. “It is all about who is in front of you. That kind of ministry should never be underestimated.”