Timothy Hoerr believes in taking risks – as long as they’re the right kind taken for the right reason.
“We can be salt and light by taking risks that are prompted by God’s Spirit,” the Pinnacle Forum Partner says.
When it comes to the need for Christians to live out their faith, Tim feels so strongly that he’s written two books on the subject – both of which mirror what Pinnacle Forum is all about.
His first, “Thank God It’s Monday! A Toolkit for Aligning Your Lifevision and Your Work,” was followed in late 2014 by “Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work.” And most recently, Tim developed an entire year’s “Risking It” study for his peers in his Central Illinois Chapter.
Tim says he was drawn to Pinnacle Forum by how its mission of cultural transformation aligned with his own sense of purpose.
“I love Pinnacle Forum’s focus on the Four ‘E’s’ – because this is really the essence of what I view to be my primary mission in life,” he explains. “I come alongside entrepreneurs and others to encourage and equip them so that they can engage in their personal mission and execute their gameplan. It really is at the center of our company’s focus and my personal focus.”
His company is Serra Ventures, LLC, a firm he founded to help companies with business strategy, capital formation, merger-acquisition and organizational development. In addition to being that firm’s CEO, he is also managing partner of Serra Capital, which provides funding to emerging and growth-stage high-tech companies.
Tim’s journey of faith – and Spirit-prompted risk-taking – has been a long one. “I had a strong sense of calling from the Lord from a very young age,” he says. He gave his life to Christ at age 15, and deepened his commitment when he found a church home and a wife – in that order – in Champaign after college. “It was there that I became a true worshipper of Christ, endeavoring to devote my entire mind, soul and strength to Him. Surrendering complete control of my life to Him has been my constant goal ever since.”
Early in his career, Tim wrestled with whether to leave the marketplace for the ministry, until “the Lord confirmed in a variety of ways that He desired me to be a ‘minister’ in the midst of the business community. While I didn’t exactly know what that meant, I was determined to bring new energy to my work as a management consultant and discover how to best integrate my ministry with my work.”
It was during a mission trip to the Czech Republic that God revealed His plan for Tim’s life. “The Lord showed me that it was to integrate spiritual principles into the everyday lives of people in all lines of work. My ministry – and ‘life theme’ — was to develop a series of consulting tools to assist people in discovering and applying spiritual truth to their lives and their companies.”
Thus began a journey of executing on His God-given calling that would take Tim from working for an international accounting and consulting firm to joining a software company to starting a bioscience instrument firm – with many prayers, moves and ups and downs along the way.
And then came Serra Ventures, founded to help high-tech start-ups with everything from developing strategy to fundraising to recruiting — all seasoned with, in Tim’s words, “a good old dose of common sense.” More important, he says, “we would do it with a strong sense of kingdom values and kingdom vision — finding teams that want to solve big problems, funding them, advising them, encouraging them … creating jobs… transforming our city.”
That required taking the kind of Spirit-prompted risks that Tim believes can be life-changing for us and those around us.
“Through the taking of risks – ranging from the small and simple to the large and looming – our individual stories can come alive, become more tangible and more vibrant – and ultimately we can better align our personal story with God’s far bigger story,” he explains.
Today, living in Champaign with Toni, his wife of more than 30 years, Tim wants the people of PinnacleForum to understand why it’s so important for them to become Four “E” risk-takers.
First, he says, risk-taking is faith in action. It’s one thing to do “spiritual” things such as praying or helping others, Tim continues, but it’s another thing when it involves the ordinary, work-a-day decisions of life. “Some of these decisions represent opportunities to leave our comfort zones and step into something that is difficult, potentially scary, or uncomfortable.”
Second, he says, the specific outcome of risk-taking is not guaranteed, but God’s faithfulness is.
“God is whispering to us on a pretty consistent basis – and His whispers are often invitations to take a risk. As we wrestle with His promptings, we’re trying to determine whether the voice we’re hearing really is God’s or not. And if we do decide to move forward, the specific outcome we envision is not guaranteed. God’s purpose in inviting the risk may be different than what we have in mind. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that regardless of the outcome, He promises to be with us, to encourage and strengthen us as we step out.”
Third, he says, risks taken in faith are a form of worship. “When we think of worship, we usually think of a Sunday morning service, listening to Christian radio, praying quietly in our home – and those are all forms of worship,” he explains. “But risk-taking and worship are vitally linked – two ways of saying the same thing. Risk-taking in each day’s course of events is one of the most fundamental ways we express worship to the King. What we are really saying to God in this process is, ‘I love you. I trust you. I worship you.’”