Cambridge Christian Professionals Network

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An interview by Ros Turner with Olugbenga Ogunbode, leader of the Cambridge Christian Professionals Network (CCPN)
 
Tell us about your Workplace Organisation

Our group is called the Cambridge Christian Professionals Network (CCPN).  We are around twenty and growing. We meet temporarily at St Paul's Cathedral, Hills Road, Cambridge on the last Monday of every month
 
What made you want to start the group?  How did you become the leader of the group? Where did you get the idea from?  How did you feel about it?  Did you have support from your church?

The motivation for the group was as a result of a number of factors but the key reason was essentially that there were a lot of business networking groups about and the focus was essentially on 'let's talk profits' and how to be ‘bullish’ in business and so on. None was focused on what we call 'Kingdom Principles' and as a Christian in business, and in the market place, as I grew in faith I realised that there were other deeper issues that were not beiong dealt with in the conventional business networks and the whole question of motivation in business was therefore important. It was a sketchy idea to start with but speaking to others, there was a general sense that this was needed and the combination of those thoughts and ideas lead to the formation of the group - CCPN.

The position of leadership was not set from the start as a new group. The role was essentially more of having an organiser and with time a committee was formed while the group grew. The leadership structure is therefore shared within the committee.

The idea came mainly from a number of similar networks in the United States and other parts of the world as they have had similar groups in place for many years.

The feeling was a positive one and it just felt the time was right also. As a Christian, I believe that listening to the Holy Spirit is very
important (without sounding too spiritual) but, all in all, the feeling was always to find out what God's will was for the group and not mine or that of the committee members.

The support from my local church was very positive and other churches gradually came on board and we tried to emphasise that it wasn't linked to a particular church. The pastors who had a prior business background before ministry generally were the first to come on board and caught the vision but like anything new it took time and with the passage of time it began to be taken seriously and a few churches now have our event on their website in Cambridge - which is great.
 
How did you go about inviting others to come to your group?  Did you put posters on notice boards for example?  Or word of mouth?  Did you sense any opposition or was it a smooth process?

A number of avenues such as writing to many of the churches in Cambridge, speaking to other Christian professionals and on a few occasions the evening news listed on the event page. All of these helped.

We used leaflets for one of the meetings but majority of the 'marketing' has been by word-of-mouth.

There wasn’t much opposition as such but a few reservations as with anything new. I think the biggest issue was the fear of the unknown with some church leaders worried about members and protecting their flocks etc. But, thankfully, I cannot recall any single member who has changed church as a result. If anything it has helped to unite the churches and the friendships.
 
What does the group exists to do and how do you go about doing it?

CCPN is a network of business leaders and professionals who are passionate about bringing Christian values to the market place. We exist to equip, encourage, and empower leaders of organisations and professionals in all fields of endeavour to embrace honesty, promote integrity, excellent stewardship, and sustainable growth.

We meet in Cambridge on the last Monday of every month, where we engage with inspirational speakers, hold workshops, discussions, and provide a platform for members to share freely and learn from one another in an open, honest, and respectful atmosphere.  Our programmes run for two hours from 7 - 9 pm and we provide lots of food items, drinks, and nibbles.
 
Do you have any good news stories of group members feeling supported by the grou (what happenned?), or group members coming to faith in Jesus as a direct or indirect result of the group? Are you impacting the workplace culture directly or indirectly as a result of the group?

We have received very positive feedback from participants who have attended our events in the past of how the principles they learned from CCPN have helped them stay focused and calm in challenging times, both inside and outside of their workplaces.  There is no doubt CCPN is impacting workplace cultures with the high calibre of seasoned speakers we've been privileged and blessed to have over the years.  Also for some attending, a CCPN meeting serves as a wake up call in the way they see their workplace and their role in the workplace.
 
What are the benefits of this group to the wider workplace community? How does your group make an impact in the workplace?

As in our mission statement, CCPN is a network of business people and professionals with integrity, who are continually empowered to live the principles of Jesus Christ in the marketplace. Some of the key benefits this Network offer include access to: 1. annual CCPN conferences and dinner at reduced rates;  2. carefully selected inspiring speakers; 3. CCPN's eNewsletter; 4 networking opportunities with people you can trust.

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