Mel & Mona
Mel and Mona Ponder began Business Empowered with a vision for impacting business leaders and individuals to exemplify and advance the Kingdom of God in their workplace and community through Godly principles.
They each have over 20 years experience in owning, managing and operating businesses, and have a keen understanding of the unique challenges and lifestyle demands business people face. They have worked with Fortune 500 companies, achieving national recognition for results. In addition, Mel has 8 years experience in government, which furthers his understanding of today’s business challenges. Most importantly, Mel and Mona each possess over 12 years of ministry leadership. This combination of experience in both ministry and the marketplace makes Mel and Mona Ponder uniquely qualified to provide vision, leadership, and expertise to help Business Empowered Members improve their results and impact their communities.
Mel and Mona are actively involved in church and community, and have served on the Board of Directors for multiple Ministries. They have been married for 27 years and are raising 3 children in Northwest Florida.
Business Empowered (BE) is a Christ centered outreach to the marketplace. BE is a Christian business association that desires to attract members who love the Lord and want to see His Kingdom principleslived out in the marketplace. We exist to equip, empower, and encourage leaders in the workplace. We believe that every person and city has a call and purpose that when realized and rightly connected to others, achieves even greater things.
The marketplace, as we define it, is the space that commerce occurs. Commerce, by definition, is the free exchange of goods and services for remuneration. At BE we believe that commerce involves some of the most important parts of our community, including both for profit as well as non-profit and service organizations. This can also be captured in the 7 Mountains of Culture – Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Entertainment, and Business. The last of which plays a primary role in the funding of the other six.
Additionally, because we believe that our faith in Christ goes beyond the traditional Sunday service, BE also encourages the involvement of evangelical, Christian churches. BE does not exist to replace the local church. Instead, we seek to come along side it to facilitate the preaching of the Gospel and the making of disciples of Christ in a Monday through Saturday setting in the marketplace.
We hold in the highest regard Honor and Unity and the goal of raising ethical and moral standards in business and public service, therefore, we welcome any and all who wish to join us in this cause. We use The Bible as the ethical and moral standard we measure ourselves against.
At Business Empowered, we hold in high regard our “Statement of Beliefs” And the biblical foundation upon which these “Beliefs” are based. A foundation for fair and charitable treatment of all men and women. This includes:
We believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible and undeniable word of God.
We believe that there is only one true God, the creator of all things - the heavens and the earth.
We believe Jesus Christ is the son of God.
We believe, according to Romans 10:9-10, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (NKJV)
We believe in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Body of Christ was meant to fit together perfectly according to Ephesians 4:16 (NLT). Functionality, growth, and blessing (Psalm 133) come from this.
We believe, according to Duet. 8:18 that God "gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish or confirm His covenant." (NKJV) This is not done for selfish ambition but in humility to not only look after your own interest but others as well. (Phil 2:3-4)
We believe that Individuals, Families, Businesses, Cities and Nations will walk in joy and peace, as they apply Biblical principles and walk in obedience to God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Business Empowered is a "Kingdom-minded" organization and we believe that we are to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness FIRST. (Matthew 6:33)
The Business Empowered “Statement of Beliefs”:
1. We believe God is a good Father and His ways are higher than ours (Psalm 136:1) (Isaiah 55:8-9).
2. We believe in a Culture of Honor (Romans 1:12). We value God’s image in others.
3. We believe in the Power of Blessing in word and deed. (Numbers 6:24-26) (Proverbs 11:25)
4. We believe we are Called as Ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the Marketplace (Matthew 28:19)
5. We believe in the Power of Unity (Psalm 133, Eph 4:16)
6. We believe we are Known by our Love of God and Others (Mark 12:30-31)
7. We believe Work is a Calling and should be Done as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23)
8. We believe Leading begins with Serving (Mark 9:35)
9. We believe that men and women should Enjoy the Good in all their Labor…it is a gift from God (Eccl. 3:13, 22)
10. We believe in Honoring God in our Sowing and Giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
11. We believe we are Empowered to release the light of God into dark places (John 1:5)
In November 2010, Business Empowered was launched in Destin, Florida. The desire and vision, however, began long before. Years prior, I was facing the struggle, as many do, of understanding my role with God and what that looks like in my passion for Him, business and the community. It was at a Friday night meeting at a local church where I caught the understanding that everyone was called into full time ministry. That understanding, coupled with a passion to see the body of Christ work in unity, made many things come into perspective for me. It also helped me frame the understanding and significance of the body of Christ within a city. A few years later, the Lord allowed me to play a part in helping launch what is now knows as the Destin’s Week of Blessings…a community event where the city’s pastors and the “church of Destin” come together annually to pray for the city and for the pastors to also “bless” area industries and community leaders. So, with these two foundations in my heart, Mona and I ventured out with the launching of this workplace ministry.
I had come back from a trip down to New Zealand where I went to help a movement under the leadership of Denis “Clarkie” and Coralie Clark called Business Edge. I saw a husband and wife team who, among other things, helped pastor business men and women in the marketplace. Through their efforts, I was able to see what might become here in my city. So, a year or so later, the Lord brought things together for us to launch what is today know at Business Empowered (or BE) here in Destin.
Our desire is equip, encourage, and empower marketplace leaders in their calling and in their community and to come alongside them and help them see their work as a calling. We, too, look to bring down any divides between industry lines as well as denominational lines, therefore pursuing unity within the “Church” of our city. We, too often, know who is on our “team” on Sunday mornings. We also need to know who is on our “Team” Monday through Saturday. The Church of the City is meant to play such a key role in our cities and communities. We try to do our part to encourage that as much as we can.
So, today, 8 years later, we have seen God do amazing things in and through our city and in and through BE. The more I think about how good God is and what He has in store for each of us, I become all excited again about the mission and vision of Business Empowered. I believe the Church was meant to have a seat at the table in every city. Business Empowered is just one of the vehicles God is using today to accomplish this. I am excited to see what He has in store for BE, our city, your city, and you! And, we are thankful to play a part!