I’ve been a tenant in a building designed to be a startup incubator, but I’ve never been a member of an entrepreneurial community like The Exchange 202. There’s a huge difference—community is organic and requires a human catalyst—a reactive agent a physical space doesn’t provide.
At the coworking community The Exchange in Mobile, Alabama, the motto is “Reimagine Work.”
Recognizing that technology empowers anyone to work anywhere they choose, its members choose to work in an environment to have access to people, ideas, and collaborative tools that help them reach new levels. The Exchange’s focus centers on cultivating a creative culture where members feel free to engage other thinkers and doers.
Somewhere in that mix is an individual with a title that hints at someone who makes things happen: Chief Catalyst.
After almost two decades of work in nonprofit organizations, building capacity through communications and leadership development, Todd Greer, PhD. (Organizational Leadership, Regent University) recognized a need for a “third space” (not a traditional home or corporate environment) that could facilitate the movement of people, ideas, services, products, and organization.
Todd’s mission in life is to grow others through the engagement of their “sweet spot” where they can thrive in teams, organizations and especially as people.
The PhD after Todd’s name reveals he’s well-educated. Beyond that, he’s smart and filled with emotional intelligence.
Todd and I have intermittent conversations; some short, some long, on Twitter, via text, sometimes on the phone or video chat. This conversation is no different, taking place between text and email.
I asked Todd how he approaches his work as worship, or as he might suggest, reimagining work as worship:
TG: Thanks for being such a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I am excited to be part of a community here in Mobile that, for all its faults and shortcomings, is allowing individuals and groups to make real impact for the growth of our community!
EW: 2 Thessalonians 1:11 reads, " So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his calling. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do."
Is Exchange 202 a response to a prompting of your faith?
TG: The Exchange was a response to a need in my own life for developing a connected community. Having spent almost a decade in full-time ministry, but feeling a deep desire for a community that fit into the third space realm (not traditional home or work), I worked with some great co-founders and partners to be able to shape a space that is welcome and inviting to all (much like the spiritual community should be).
I have long looked for a way to help others in their developmental processes and the Exchange allows me to cheer them on, build them up, and connect them for deeper growth!
EW: 2 Thessalonians continues: (1:12) Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him."
You are an encourager and quick to call attention to the success of others, without drawing attention to yourself. How do you think this brings honor to Jesus?
TG: The truth is, community is at the very core of what I believe we are called to embody as the people of God. In Romans 12:10, the Apostle Paul calls the body to “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV)
I believe there is so much that happens each day that gets lost in the distractions and noise of this world. We want to be champions for positive growth in the lives of our members and our community.
It isn't always easy to say, “It‘s not about me,” but I think the more that we can be on the frontlines as encouragers for others we ultimately find our own strength is not in ourselves but in Christ and ALL creation!
EW: The Exchange 202 web site reads “Do what you love. Love where you do it.”
How do you do your work and serve the Exchange community with love?
TG: I jokingly share that on any given day I play a wide variety of roles. The idea of being a catalyst is about helping things move in the right direction. Because I love my community and our members, I want them to experience excellence in all that we do.
Sometimes that means helping them find connections that can help them move their work, other times it includes providing new opportunities for learning or new resources, and sometimes it just simply means being available to listen.
EW: How do you personally approach your work as worship, and how is Exchange 202 an expression of that?
TG: Paul talks about the importance of shining like stars (Philippians 2:15), Jesus says that we are to be a light set on a hill (Matt. 5:14). Personally, and with the entire Exchange experience, want to be a beacon that welcomes all people to come together to share in life together — regardless of background, beliefs, race, etc.
Every day I learn something new that reveals to me what love, community, and grace looks like.
Every day, I know I fall far short of being all that Christ has called me to be, but I want to use all that I can to bring honor and that includes simply giving a community that can help them thrive in their work and as people.
Wouldn’t you like to be part of this kind of community, catalyzed by a leader like Todd?
Our conversation is made more remarkable in that we’ve never met in person, after being introduced by a mutual colleague who thought Todd might connect with my writing.
I need to get to Mobile to meet Todd in person, and experience The Exchange... Not only would it be epic, but think about the creative disruption we could cause together!
Todd inspires me from a distance. I’m thinking of refining EntreWorship’s mission to be Reimagining What It Means to Work by Faith.
Thanks Todd! I’m glad we met this side of eternity.
Now get back to work.
Connect with Todd Greer at Exchange 202
Connect with Todd on Twitter and LinkedIn
Whatever you do, just connect with Todd.
Photos courtesy of Exchange 202.