mt_blue-shirt-1It was approximately three years ago that I had a phone conversation with Michael Trent. He is the “Founder and Idea Engineer” of Third Place Consulting and my church at the time had asked me if I could work with Michael on the concept for our new church coffee shop/cafe. I was super intrigued to be working with Michael as I was just then beginning to study more about the idea of third place. I had a great time hanging with him those few days, and I introduced him to his now favorite local restaurant in Los Angeles, Beverly Glen Deli. (Tip: In my 7 years at Bel Air we would go there for breakfast a lot and to the next door Starbucks–cause it was close to church–and I never saw more stars then there each week. Great breakfast and fun, low key, off the map people watching).

Anyways, Mike and I have stayed in touch over these last few years and have been having ever increasingly phone conversations about ways that we can work together more on some projects.

Mike is a great guy (total connector) and you can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.

In His Own Words

What are you really passionate about?

Rhett, I’ve come to realize in the last few years, clearly what I am called to do: Connect People, Develop Leaders, and Fund Causes. As I look back over my life, both personally and professionally, I see how my heart, mind, and actions drive me toward one of those three no matter what. I want to see people connect to one another because ‘iron still sharpens iron’; relationships are still an essential part of human existence and God’s plan for us. On my tombstone – I want pepperoni and for it to read “Michael unlocked the potential of every person and organization he came into contact with”. That often comes at a price when you are used to push someone to another level in order to unlock their potential, but the ROI is so worth it. And as an entrepreneur I’ve become solid and comfortable with the fact that God wants to use me to generate resources that will be leveraged to fund ministries and causes that please Him.

How does what you are doing vocationally or volunteer wise serve that passion?

God is my favorite comedian. But He’s really not joking when He says that He will give us the desires of our hearts. I feel that God has customized a job description just for me and that He is also using that very customization to help others see that God may have a plan, purpose, and professional direction for them that doesn’t fit some of the more traditional ‘ministry’ or ‘calling’ categories.

Every day I get a chance to connect people and connect with people. Every day I get a chance to develop myself as a leader and to invest in those around me. And every day I see how God is using my life to fund and fuel phenomenal ministries and causes. My prayer is that I’m always connecting, developing, and funding how and where He wants – knowing that He always knows best.

How can those around you (friends, online community, etc.) best support you?

Without question – at this moment in time – the answer to that is easy. We launched an initiative called Message In Hand, which are conversational coffee sleeves that help to promote great causes, and in the end impact communities and the Kingdom as we do more together than we ever could separately. So spreading the word and even grabbing a case to drop at a local café would be amazing.

Anything else we should know about this passion?

I laugh all the time at how great life is when you are doing what you love – when you live in that sweet spot. Honestly, I never imagined God would call me to be a Church Bartender and pour into the lives of others through the opportunities He provides. I’m so thankful to God for using the experiences, education, mentors, and mistakes in my life to ultimately do more that I could ever ask, think, or imagine.

Previous Interviews in the ‘What Are You Passionate About?’ Series

Jesse Phillips

Dawn Nicole Baldwin

Dawn Carter

Jason Taylor

Wess Daniels

Matt Knisely

Tony Steward