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01 - How to Bridge Business with Ministry

Joel Moutray Sean Wycliffe


At the age of 19, Sean Wycliffe was a passionate entrepreneur working seven days a week in order to become rich and successful. Within a year, Sean’s business reached a million dollars in revenue and his own personal spending exceeded $10,000 a month. Unfortunately, the business went bust, and he was forced to sell everything he had. Through this experience, Sean got to know God and then decided he wanted to build businesses that would follow biblical principles. Listen in as he shares about his latest business venture, The Fruit Tree, and learn the seven levels of an Adventist business.






  • January 12, 2019
    1:15 PM
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Ever wondered what God can do and with the humble green smoothie Hi I'm Joe military and you're listening to the phone and share podcast in today's episode I sit down with Shaun White Cliffs to discuss exactly that. Sean thank you so much for joining me great to be here Joe thanks so much for having me you're from the fruit tree Yes and that is in California correct and we're excited to have you on because we're going talk about Christian entrepreneurship specifically having us on to bring our ship because God has called people to full time ministry pastors and teachers and missionaries doctors etc people also call people to to work for other companies you know working for a bank or working at a hospital as a nurse and cetera but God is also called people to start businesses to be a witness in the marketplace and that's what God has called you to do and it's very inspiring and saw Tell us about the fruit tree and how God led you there and what God is doing from a business like that yeah absolutely So there's a couple things that have happened the past the fruit tree it really started with my dad having a heart attack about 18 years ago he's a doctor and Loma Linda and after that he started reading books about health and he ended up becoming a raw egg and mostly and started making these green smoothies and they're extremely healthy they still are extremely healthy but they taste really bad and so my dad would eat these and he would try to get me to eat them and I would have a hard time doing it so if years later my wife actually took that concept and tried to make it taste good so that I would actually get my greens because I came from a background of never eating greens and so she came up with a great recipe and so I started drinking that and we started sharing with friends and at our church and things like that and that was all it was and so anyways that was that well about a year and a half ago or so one of my really good friends the law and he had come back to the Berkeley area to do. Some campus ministry with us and things like that and so that was exciting but we were also praying and looking at different businesses and ministries that we could start that could help him be supported financially and maybe something beyond that so we looked at a lot of different things he looked at starting an app we looked at maybe setting up a concert tour set up and different things and so one day we were talking and he said he would if we start selling green smoothies around our church and so I thought about it for a little bit initially it didn't make much sense he said was do a door to door you know let's see how that goes and so I'll sing I'll know and well and I started thinking about it more and got put in my mind you know that could actually be a good idea what if we actually did that and got subscribers we could kind of be like a modern day milkman but with green smoothies instead of milk and so all these things started to turn in my mind and so I went back in the room and talk to the lawn and say hey I think that's a good idea let's start and so he kind of looks at me dumbfounded now like what that's a good idea and so in any case we started talking about it and going through the motions and a week later we had blended some green smoothies we had some coolers and we started going door to door next our church in Alameda California and what would you guys say I mean a carry on here you want to buy some green juices. You tried that and we had we had a couple different canvases that we were trying and attempting I think one of them was something like Hey we're the neighborhood juice or Ian We want to help you get greens to your door and that's why we're here and there's a couple different things that we tried some of them were off the top of our head literally as we went to the door whatever came to our mind and that went on for the day and I think nobody but a few people sampled and we just decided we're going to do it so over the course of a few days some people started buying it and then over the course of a few days people started subscribing and you know I'll never forget there was one story that happened the law was knocking on doors and basically what happened was it was 8 o'clock at night or something it was really late all right and it was dark and he's knocking on the door and. This lady comes to the door and kind of cracks it open as he told me it and he gives her a sample and without even doing anything other than tasting a sample he said sign me up sign me up for a subscription 3 a week and so we just run her credit card there for 150 bucks or whatever it was and you know that was when it really dawned in my mind that OK we really have something that could be really big here that God has given us and so we continue to grow the home delivery subscription business from there before we're going to the successes that the Lord has brought you to let's talk a little bit about like actually what it is I mean you sell green juices I mean do they come in a bottle do they coming glass or they come in you know how do you how do you guys produce it or to get your ingredients Yeah yeah absolutely so so we sell organic green smoothies. Everything's local everything seasonal and so that's good for you but we also want to make it taste good and so that's the trick is to make it taste great and also be extremely healthy so we blend these things we actually have a kitchen now commercial kitchen in Alameda where we blend the smoothies every night before we go out you know and sell the next day and it's just all organic blended really good we put it in glass jars and we seal them and we basically sell to people and so when people bring us the jar back watch you give them a refund for the jar we do a jar deposit and so that way we can eliminate using plastic bottles and so we compost everything that we don't use although we do smoothies So we use most everything and so yeah so we're trying to make the healthiest thing also taste great and also be great for the moment when you say blend a blender or to use a juice or fiber and when you go to do yes so we actually use a commercial to make splendor that's really cool Now let's talk about what God has done for the success of the business how long it was Have you started it where you guys at right now is still working I know the few people subscribe where to go from there yeah yeah so so we started in August 2017 and it's been almost a year and a half now and God has really blessed the starters door to door. As we were talking about now we're in $26.00 farmers' markets every week we also started selling them in P.V.C. as well at the grind convenience store that they have up there and then we're also in a local grocery store now in California and we're just expanding more farmers' markets more retail outlets and we also still do home deliveries we do workplace deliveries as well and so God is really bless this quite a bit we're selling maybe about a 1000 or so bottles per week at this point and so so this is one from a little let's try this and see if this will help you know with a little local church ministry to you there's about 6 of us doing it full time now for part time people recruiting to try to get another 4 or 5 missionaries come with us either full time part time long term seasonal just to help expand more farmers' markets and more retail outlets so since we are talking about that you are looking for people to come work we're going to find out information about that yes so if you go to the fruit tree dot you'll see our website and we don't have too much information in there about the job opportunity so if you e-mail us at help at the fruit tree dot C.E.O. or you can call or text us at 510-833-6085 again that's 510-833-6085 or reach out to us on Instagram we're at underscore fruit underscore 3 anyway just contact us and we can let you know about our current opportunities I think that's exciting I do want to talk now about how to run business you know that's an aspiring story but being an entrepreneur is not new to you before this guy's actually taking on a little bit of a journey maybe even part of your own conversion to to grow you into to doing a business that now benefits the community as well as is profitable for you in the ministry tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and how God led you to even and it will even break down some of those principles Yeah yeah absolutely So this is I would say my my 3rd major kind of business that I've started the 1st one was back when I was 19 actually I was a freshman. And going into my sophomore year in college at U.C. Berkeley and it was never a marketing company were selling long distance phone service and so I got recruited there and started doing this in the summers are going really well and then when I was 19 and up in a Porsche dropping out of school and my brother was work with me so he bought a Porsche up to school and so keep in mind I was Christian at the time I was actually nondenominational Christian but when I started really getting into business I started really getting into it and so I was working 7 days a week working 100 hours a week no exaggeration and was disregarding my health my lung collapsed twice my appendix rupture once during over the next year and was really doing anything I could to just make money it was all just about making money and so we were doing pretty well we were making pretty good money we got that business up collectively to over a 1000000 in revenue over the next year and I was just all into making money and so in fact when I was 21 and up on a Ferrari my brother $92.00 friends bought a $1000000.00 house in San Juan Capistrano and we were just running this whole thing out of there and just completely disregarded God completely disregarded any morals that I had had a point to that point for the sake of making money and so that led to my 1st conversion experience that business for a multitude of reasons went down and we went from making all that revenue to 0 and so I was $21.00 at the time and I thought I was gonna be a billionaire and I was going to be rich forever and so I didn't save any money and we were spending all our money my personal bills were about $10000.00 a month and so there was this whole mess that I went through and it ended with me going and living with my dad I had asked my dad if I could stay with him and so my dad actually had just had a real conversion experience and he went to restoration of a letter with Randy skeet and so he had the 3 conversion experience and so I can't help you with your problems but maybe God can let's go and have arranged he prayed for you and so sure enough rain if you praise and we're able to sell the house and sell the car and all the stuff and so anyways I was still very hard headed and just trying to make money trying to pull myself up and. And get back to where I was and nothing was working at all during this period this was in the year 2005 so my dad gave me this D.V.D. series by a guy named Leo Scrivens and I watched it it was about how to be successful from the Bible and then another one on Daniel revelation and so I saw that the avenues message was true so this is when I 1st really became an avenue this although I wasn't converted yet and so I went to see at the end of that year and that was my 1st real big conversion experience with an avid his and after that I went to ministry for 2 years volunteering in Southern California and studied the Bible doing ministry and a host of other things and so that was my 1st entrepreneur experience tell us about the 2nd one which is the one before the fruit tree and this is where we're going to we're going to tell a story we're also going to dig a little deeper and pull out some business principles some biblical business principles that the listener can apply if God is calling them to to start a business right so so my 2nd big business venture was after I graduated college so I was a ministry for a few years and then I graduate I went back to school at U.C. Berkeley graduated in December 2010 and after that I started this other business called Deal flicks and so we sell discount movie tickets now when I went back to school I kind of backs a little bit of my faith and I met a girl she was because the time we started dating we ended up living together for a little bit and that's kind of where I was at spiritually and so coming out of that I was graduating college and I was just looking for something I could do as a college graduate maybe to make money I was trying to get jobs I couldn't get any jobs in my field that I wanted to go into and so I ended up star in this thing called Deal flicks and so that was Priceline for movie tickets what we do is we would partner with movie theaters and sell their empty movie theater seats for a discount and make money with it and so I was looking at that and I was excited about it because you know my previous business I did I wasn't able to keep the Sabbath I would work 7 days a week but this one I could easily keep the Sabbath I could run it really well and you know that was that and so this was back in 2012 when we finally. Launched deal Flix and so so anyways it started to grow we actually end up raising about 4200000 in Vester funding we got to or 5000000 revenue and so I learned a lot with that but a couple of years ago couple things were happening so one I watched this media series called media on the brain My wife had been trying to get me to watch out for a while and finally I like OK I got to watch this and so I watched it and I realized wow you know not just watching R. rated movies is bad but all sorts of media can have a negative effect on our brain and so I had really stopped watching media a couple years ago but now I'm sitting here and I'm C.E.O. and you know running this movie take a business so that was that experience also at the same time concurrently different things were happening in the business are making it difficult and so one of our biggest partners got bought out and we lost that contract and so we lost about 2000000 in revenue for that and from there it made it difficult to fundraise and there's a host of other things that were going on and so over the last few years that business have been declining and so over the last year the fruit tree started and that was growing while this was declining and so through a number of different. I guess impressions from God and providential things we actually ended up shutting down deal Flix in August this year August 14th and we just dissolved it officially actually a couple days ago and so so now I'm just full time at the fruit tree and you know just doing ministry in my area that's powerful how God you know he works with us and he's patient with us as we learn his biblical principles let's What lessons did you learn from that let's talk to the audience someone who wants to start a business and you have to be if you're in a situation where it's kind of tricky because you want to do God's will but what you're doing wasn't his will. What can we learn from that situation so there's so many business things that I've learned but if I had an opportunity to share one thing with listeners on a podcast like this it would be that when you start a business or even if you get into a career doesn't assume to be a business you could say I want to become a banker or I want to become a doctor or whatever it is you want to do when you're getting into your business or career life it's easy often for us to just say OK what can I do that will make me successful and that was the 1st thought that I had when I 1st got into business I just wanted to be successful and so that's often what we think about but over the years I have learnt look there's a little bit more beyond that you can go beyond just trying to be successful and that you can try to be successful while still obeying God's will his revealed will for your life and so this involves God's commandments this involves his calling our life to do ministry and so when I had sort of my 2nd business venture I had that in mind I want to start something that I can actually follow God I don't want to be breaking the Sabbath every week I don't want to be lying every other week I don't want to be you know breaking pretty much all 10 of them all the time and so that's that's something that I had in mind however over the years now worth my last visit with this one but I've also learned is to not only have a business where I personally can follow God but to have a business that is actually. Following got it in itself and so what I mean by that is is you know I'm selling movie tickets right and so movie tickets is not necessarily the most as biblically appropriate business venture to get into and so now I'm selling green some of these you know and so that's a really good thing so God put it in my mind that there's 7 levels to a business the 1st level is just having a business or having a job or career you know that at least get something going instead of just you know the parents' house and so that's something we want to do just get a job or start something productive the 2nd level is actually having a successful business so not just doing something go through the motions but actually being successful at it do good at your job the 3rd level is having a business or a job where you can actually keep God's commandments follow His will for your life so that was that was pretty much what I was doing my last visit deal flicks where I could actually at least follow God in my own personal life but I put in my mind that there's 4 additional levels beyond that so Number Number 4 is having something that is not going against God's will and so this would be the difference between let's say having a bar where you're selling alcohol and who knows what else or let's say having a construction company you know which actually benefits society in my pig Gnostic in the sense that you know you're not actually preaching the gospel you know that you know it's to the to that to that extent but you're not going against God So that's the 4th level that's a good solid place to be I would say if anybody's going to be starting something try to be at least at level 4 where you're doing something whether it's a job a career or a business where you personally can follow God but also your career in business is following God in that way now the next level this work it's really exciting the 5th level is where you actually are doing something that is is medical missionary work for God And so what that means you might be you want to know I got to be a doctor no no no medical missionary work is is meeting people's needs and so so the idea is doing something that is benefiting the other person that's really meeting their needs so this. Could be in the medical field but this could also be something that is is teaching or this could be something that might be involving food at this there's a number of things that can actually benefit people that will lay a really good foundation for their spiritual lives and so this is really exciting work now beyond that level 6 is incorporating evangelism into this so not only have a successful business that's doing medical missionary work but also adding evangelism to it and so this could be handing out tracks or this could be doing something where you know maybe you have some cooking classes if you're in the food food business or you know if you're a doctor maybe you you do some health clinics or whatever it might be and hand out some tracks and talk about God in those times and so that's the 6 level now the 7th level is having a successful business that successfully evangelizes it's a guy who put in my mind if you know don't just tracks and tell people you know we headed off track yesterday actually focus on using your business that your voluntary job or your career to actively win souls for Christ on a daily basis with that as a motive yes you're out there to sell smoothies or you're out there it's you heal patients but you're also out there to pray with people to spread the gospel spread Christ to people successfully by His grace that's absolutely fascinating and it's really cool to see how that it that there's different levels there's different levels of being successful but God wants excellence and I was wondering what the 7th one would be because I was like it seems pretty like a complete picture but I like that we should seek to be successful as a business but successful ministry in addition to business and that's powerful and that many many many young people have myself at 1st things how can I be going to be a witness I'm I really just praying with people or passing out tracks but no we can be intentional about creating a business that actually helps and needs and also as a tool for vandalism thank you for sharing that. What I want to do now you have some powerful testimonies about how God has used this model that he showed to the 7 steps to be a blessing with the fruit tree 1st before we get to the couple testimonies about changed lives let's talk about the the the fruit tree tract I don't care what you called it but tell us about the tractor and what that's done Yeah yeah so if you listen to this you may or may not be familiar with glow tracks and if you're not you should get from them they're awesome they're amazing you can get a bunch of them had them out to anybody everywhere around the world it's great and so you know as a as a Christian as a 7 amnesty this is just something that we've come across that we do we have tracks we had them out and that's great now in the fruit tree we're at these farmers markets every day some days were actually at 7 Farmers' markets and one day and so we're interacting with people and we're tell about what we're doing at the fruit tree and why we started it and we're avenues to we believe in how thin we believe in these things and we get in these conversations and that's great and sometimes we'll hand some tracks out but what we realize is we're saying some of the similar things to people and it's really our testimonial why we started this and why we believe in health and so we thought well why not put that into attract let's just put that in a track will look like a glow track you'll feel like glow tracked and essentially in one way shape or form a kind of track but for the customer that's coming for the agnostic for the Buddhists for the Catholics for the Evangelical for the blank whoever comes to our booth when they see it they don't think track they think business pamphlet and so when they come they want to taste a sample this movie and they say yeah do you have any more information on what you do and we say yes you're here and so it's so easy to hand out all of our workers able to hand these things out we've been handing these things up by the 00s I think we've had 10000 go out now over 10000 and so it's been a really big blessing because in the tract it says why green smoothies and it's called the fruit tree philosophy you know and so it's our theology but our theology is our philosophy and so so when someone reads it it's very unassuming. Open it and it's our testimony as we just shared earlier and then it goes into a Bible study and health an invitation to have more discussions and so so we're really excited about that we're looking forward to putting another track together about the Sabbath because people ask us all the time hey why are you not of the Saturday market that's 5 times bigger than the Monday market what are you doing and will tell will ravenous Christians we believe in the Sabbath we believe in taking Friday night Saturday off according to commandment and it's a blessing and we go into the greatness of it and so we're going to put that in a tract you know might be called Why are you not in my study Mark and so we want to put another track together about environmentalism which is another big thing that we're interested in because God wants to be stewards of the planet just like he wants to cure our bodies our family wants to cure the planet and sweeties glass jars we compost everything and so a lot of our customers that come they think that we're maybe atheist or something like that because typically when think of environmentalism that's what you think about but we want to have no no no we're environmentalists because we are 7 am as Christians in fact we are some of the staunchest environmentalists because ravenous Christians because the Bible teaches us to take care of the planet so we want to compost want to recycle we want to do whatever we can do you to take care of this planet that God's given us because that's what that's what God does He takes care of things and so tells a couple stories change lives from the business that God has given you to do with there with the tree Yeah absolutely saw give you 3 quick ones so there's a girl named Annie she came to our church Alameda and we started on the Bible and so she was interested in trying to smoothie as a customer so you know I gave her a smoothie and she bought one and she liked it and so you know then she wanted to get it more regularly she said you know I'm trying to lose weight to Seems like you'd be really good so she started just buying the smoothies for that reason well she also wanted to get them delivered and we have a delivery fee and so we said well why don't we just do this over Bible says I'll bring you smoothies and then you know we'll say the Bible and then we can we have a delivery fee since we do like that and so so the smoothie combined with the Bible said it was a great experience because she'd come we talked about the smoothie in health and. We get into a Bible study and that went on for a period of months he actually just got baptized a couple of months ago and summer 2018 and so that's really exciting her background was kind of like a Catholic kind of agnostic background so so so that was I thought God really using health combined with the Gospel in that instance another story that we have is from a friend of my name Nandu and so Nandu is actually a vendor at one of the farmers' markets that we go to on Sundays and so he was selling Indian food there and he became friends with us and my friend along and another became friends with them and. Caught the topic of religion came up and so you know this is what's nice about being in a business like this where you're doing green smoothies and you talk about your faith is that it just comes up kind of naturally and so he said What do you guys believe were you about and you know we talk about Christianity and Adventism And you know he told us he was Hindu and so the idea came up hey would you be interested in the Bible and he says yeah I would love to well he starts reading the Bible with us after a couple of weeks they get to the Sabbath and he says OK this is really cool you know I think I want to keep the Sabbath so he tells his boss that he's going to now start keeping the Sabbath and he's not going to work on Saturday anymore and so a couple more weeks goes by and he becomes a Christian and then a couple more weeks goes by any chance of becoming Adventist and he ended up getting baptized as well this summer and so definitely keep him in prayer you know that he has school that he's doing as well and his family is not Christian at all and so this is been a big. Thing that you know has happened around family because he's now a Christian and so his name is Don to keep him in prayer a 3rd one that I want to share this is actually somebody that. Is a U.C. Berkeley graduate a gnostic Buddhist happens to be my sister in law as well and so my wife and I have been trying to reach her for the last I would say decade for Christ and so she's had some interesting and they're not really so she anyways graduate school she's traveling the world for about a year she visits 22 countries and after that she comes back to Berkeley and she needs a place to live and she needs a job and so we say and this is why I love the future because I can say hey guess what if you work at the fruit tree we can't pay that much but if you work at the fruit tree then you can live in our living room for a discounted rate and so he says OK yeah that sounds good because right in the Bay Area is expensive they have apartments there for 3000 a month depending where you're at and so so she says OK yeah that sounds good $500.00 month for a living room and I work at the make money to cover that and then some so she kind of works for the future for that reason well through that experience she becomes friends with. A number of the folks at the fruit tree and they start to Bible studies with her to as spiritual things come up and so it's one of those things where you know my wife and I've been reaching out your for a while but it's you know family in this in that and so now she has friends independent of us at the fruit tree at the church they're doing Bible studies she becomes really open to things she ends up making a decision become a Christian and then adding this and it's baptized also a couple months ago in the summer and so praise God for these things we've seen him work through team somebody being a team member we've seen him work through you know a customer side we've seen him work through vendor we're just seeing him work in different avenues and you know there's a number of other testimony 6 years well but those are 3 that I can share right now that come to my praise praise be to God that is absolutely absolutely inspiring in closing Can you give a quick appeal to the young people into the people listening to this episode who are considering I have a board and they have ideas they have you know maybe an app idea or a business idea or they work in the workplace and they want to be a witness to God appeal to them to continue to use their talents and their professional lives to live for God absolutely fearless know this. When you have a burden or you have an interest in entrepreneurship or in business or even in a certain career path and you want to use that for God I just appeal to you to to do that to pray to God and ask him to open up the opportunities for you and so for me you know I'm 35 at this point and I started on entrepreneurship as a career I guess without knowing it when I was 1819 and so you know it's been a while and so it takes some time sometimes for some of us to learn the skills required and so I would encourage you to to develop skills to plug in to find mentors to connect with people that are successful in your field so you can learn those things and also connect with people that are successful at doing ministries and winning souls to Christ they can teach you those things too and to just go for it you know you're going to fail I mean for every for every success that we've have I can give you 10 to 20 failures that happened that same week so the reality is there will be failures along the way but but God God isn't interested in that I think of that bible verse in Proverbs that says you know a righteous man he will he will fall down but he will get back up paraphrasing of course and so the reality is that is the experience not only as us as sons and daughters of Christ but also as entrepreneurs as people in the workplace that are trying to do something for God there's a really exciting movement that's happening right now this is kind of 2018 within within Adventism there's a young professionals movement that's been developed with G Y C N A S I for people that are maybe post-college looking to get into careers or businesses or entrepreneurship and so there's some advance like that that are happening site Kurz you to plug into those and if you're interested and thrown ideas back forth I doze love to hear them so reach out to me I'm driving here and there to farmers' markets all the time and so I love to hear and talk people the phone I'm driving so feel free to reach out to me we can talk but But what I would love to see you know as Aves church is multiple things like the fruit tree just thriving worldwide and so this could be at farmers'. Markets every time I go to market I think it would be great to see 5 Adventist tents one selling bread one selling fake meat one thing soup one selling whatever and we all have tracks and we're all evangelists thing and representing Adventism I love to see more restaurants I love to see more stores I love to see gyms I love to see websites I love to see all these things and God I believe will love to see those things to you and so I really think he's going to be using business and entrepreneurship in these last days to move his work forward Thank you so much thank you Joe Thank you so much for listening we have a number of episodes yet to come so make sure to hit the subscribe button and check us out at learned share podcast dot com.


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