Welcome to The COB Club. The full name of The COB Club is the Christian Online Business Club. What a mouthful! It is also a long domain name. That is why it was shortened to The COB Club. This club is for those who are at peace with the Christian faith and interested in business. They are interested because they are either thinking of starting a business or have made a start but need a bit of encouragement or even reassurance that they are doing the right thing. You need to be comfortable with looking at things from a Christian perspective as well as building a business to fit in here.
Before I tell you what the COB Club is all about I had better tell you what it is not.
Is it a church? No, but it is a place where people of faith gather to share and to fellowship together.
Is it a support group? Well, not in the sense that people gather and ask people to listen to their woes. That does not fit in with one of our core values i.e meeting the needs of the weak without weakening them further. It is a place where people who see that business is a tool to meet the needs of others gather together to help each other.
Is it your typical business club? You know the group of people who gather in a hired room to listen to talks that help them with their business. They have a drink or even a meal together and develop relationships that help them build their business. Well sort of but we gather with the help of technology rather than hiring a room.
What is the Christian Online Business Club?
Somewhere that a group of Christians can gather to share ideas that will help them improve the world using the mechanism of business. People who know business is a tool that can be used for good or evil and are determined to use it for good.
For some, this will mean providing jobs in a community which really needs them. For others, it will mean meeting a need in the community like food that is fit to eat. Others run a business to earn the money to support their family while they or their spouse run some kind of Helping Hands project in the community as an act of love for their neighbours. See what I mean about business being a tool to achieve the vision that God has put on their heart to help others.
Our bias is towards supporting those who are venturing out of the safety of the church world and are learning to swim amongst the sharks in the world of business. People who are interested in starting or even developing small community-based businesses or are self-employed. They could be so small that the standard definitions of small business look huge to them.
Who is the Christian Online Business Club for?
Is it for pioneers? Well, it could be. But not all pioneers use business as a tool to help them in their work. On the other hand, not all Christians who use business as a tool to help them in the work God has given them to do on His behalf would call themselves pioneers.
Is it for those developing New Expressions of church? Well maybe. Some New Expressions of church use business as a tool to help them achieve their aims but not all.
Is it a place for ministers to congregate? Well, I suspect many ministers are too busy ministering to get involved. It is a place where they can send people they know who want to use their business as a tool to increase God’s influence in the world. If they have a business that they use to support themselves then yes it is the place for them.
Is it a place for ordinary Christians? Well, it depends on what you mean by ordinary. If you mean ordinary in the sense of the laity or the non-ordained person yes it is. If you mean ordinary in the sense of not doing other kinds of special things then no it is not. You see to succeed in a business environment you cannot be ordinary you have to be extraordinary. So if you are extraordinary in that sense then the Christian Online Business Club is the place for you to hang out and find like-minded people.
Is it a place just for Christians or can anyone join? Interesting question. The thing is how does anyone know if you are a person of faith. The Christian Online Business Club takes the ancient statements of faith seriously especially the Apostles Creed. After that, we are all on a journey with our lives gradually coming more and more into line with God wants them to be. None of us are perfect and we were all “not-yet Christians” at one time. The truth is that unless God has drawn you to join in with us you will not be comfortable.
Why focus on Christians?
We are a peculiar people. Yes, we because that is one of the labels that I wear. I would say wear with pride but then there is the whole idea of being humble that makes that sound out of place. See why we see ourselves as being so different from others.
It is not only that but there are other issues we face as well. We struggle with ethics. We struggle with the idea of making money. We want to do things to meet the needs of others but then look at the world of business, see the sharks and shrink back. Somehow we need to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves yet how can we do that unless we learn from each other.
We are special as well because we have a hotline to heaven. We have all sorts of special gifts and talents that we can use to help us if only we learned to use them in a business environment. Amongst Christians, it does not feel out of place saying something like, God told me to do this or God gave me a dream that warned me about that.
Not only that but if we hold to the basic doctrinal statement of the Apostle’s Creed then we know we have a heavenly Father. If we share a Father then we are brothers and sisters so it would be a good idea to get to know each other especially when we have something else in common like using business to serve our Father’s purposes.
What does the Christian Online Business Club offer?
It is a place to learn more about how to apply the Christian faith to business using a variety of learning modalities. Err what! We use videos, live conferencing, and provide a means whereby members can interact with each other.)
It is a community of like-minded people who can swap ideas and even provide each other with advice or recommendations that will help them find the things that they need.
What does the Christian Online Business Club cost?
If this was a normal secular face to face business club there would be a subscription or a charge made to attend each meeting. The idea is to cover the costs and to make it possible to have a website. Oh, and the speakers would probably get something in return for taking part.
In years gone by, local business clubs would have chased after grants from the business support agencies that distributed money from the public purse. In fact, some were started and only survived as long as they received government funding. One day I might share some of the not so pretty stories of what I have seen in that respect.
Yet as this is something associated with the church some will expect it to be provided without money changing hands. Blow that for a game of soldiers. A labourer is worthy of their hire!
There is a membership subscription. It £10 a month. It is definitely not extortionate, probably the reverse i.e you get far more than that in terms of value. The shopping cart is set to trigger a price increase to £20 a month once a certain number of sales have been made so the sooner you sign up the better.
There is something special about the COB club as it also gives you access to The COB library. Included in the COB library is access to a long study that I did on Proverbs 31. It amazed me how many business principles I recognised in that passage. Another set of materials is called Find your Purpose Love your Life.
How you benefit from our attempt at tax evasion?
Yes, that does sound a bit odd for a faith-based site but read on. It does make sense and you will benefit from it in ways that you do not expect. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs expect us to operate according to something called 2015 Digital Services Regulations. This means that anyone delivering online products and services to a buyer that lives in the UK or the European Union is legally required to collect VAT on their behalf.
Their system is so difficult to administer that, to be honest, tax evasion is extremely tempting. How do you do evade paying tax and stay within the law? You use a get out clause. There is no tax payable on goods and services that meet their requirements for being live and interactive.
How is the Christian Online Business Club interactive? We have our ways and means of making you talk! (said in my best spy catcher voice) Seriously though we have discussion groups set up within the membership that you are encouraged to make good use of.
How is the Christian Online Business Club live? Members are invited to a monthly live call they can access either by phone or online.
All of that for £10 a month. (or £20 if you are not quick enough to join the Initial Contingent)
Why is the price in £s? The truth is that as I am in the UK it is easier to focus on the needs of those in the UK. I know the culture as I have lived in the UK all my life. Does that mean that you have to be from the UK to join? No, not at all. It does mean though that you need to be at peace with the idea that the main focus of The COB Club is on the UK.