Q&A with Joel Cox, Director of Programs
Written by Allison Johnson on February 17th, 2016.
We are thrilled to announce that Joel Cox has joined the Seed Effect team as our new Director of Programs! Find out more about Joel, how God redirected his course, what it’s like to work for a Christian nonprofit, and how he landed at Seed Effect.
Why did you choose to travel to Sudan in 2011?
In 2010, I started to feel God nudging me to do something outside my comfort zone. I was very involved in my church but was struggling with whether that was truly an overflow of God’s love in me or just me trying to be a “good Christian” through my own effort. There was an opportunity to go to Sudan in 2010 on a church planting mission trip but I said no, I had long considered myself to not be the kind of person who goes on mission trips. God continued to put this desire in me to do something where I knew I would have to rely on Him. In 2011, the opportunity to go to Sudan presented itself again and it just clicked that that was something I would never choose to do on my own and therefore, anything that happened there would be from Him and not a result of my effort.
In your opinion, what was it about Seed Effect that was different than other nonprofits?
Seed Effect was the first organization I became aware of that mixed business (my background), with helping people physically/tangibly, with sharing the gospel to make an eternal impact. I was hooked. It’s hard for me to describe how impactful it was to me to see how business skills and the way I think could be used in a creative way to help people get out of poverty and more importantly to potentially introduce them to Christ.
What are you most looking forward to for Seed Effect this year?
South Sudan is a tough place to choose to do ministry, especially if that ministry involves trying to help people financially. But God loves using the least likely places and people to do big things. God may or may not choose to use Seed Effect but I know we are willing and asking to be used. I’m excited to see what comes of that.
How do you get your news in the morning?
This is where I should say the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal or at least the Dallas Morning News right? I pretty exclusively go to George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith for my morning news (The Ticket).
Tell us one thing your co-workers should know about you.
Make sure I eat at normal times, I get cranky otherwise
If you wife was to answer the previous question, what would she say?
If you want to get on Joel’s good side, take him to a BBQ place…but don’t let him get the beans…
What was your previous job and what made you decide to leave to join Seed Effect?
I worked for BNSF Railway for the past 8 years in various roles including Strategic Studies, Pricing, and Sales. I really enjoyed working there and the people I worked with. I was not looking for a job. The opening with Seed Effect drew my attention because it presented an opportunity to use the way I think in a way that really helps people. God has increasingly built a passion in me for using business to help people both here on earth and as a platform for sharing the gospel ever since learning about Seed Effect in 2011. How often do opportunities arise to make your passion your full time job?
What has been the hardest thing about making the shift to a Christian nonprofit?
Without consciously realizing it, I think I had an expectation that when I told people about the move they would think it was really great and be really supportive. While there have certainly been many of those people, there have also been people I think a lot of that have strongly questioned the decision. I am someone who takes a long time to make big decisions because I want to be as sure as possible that God is behind it and it is a wise move. So, for there to be people I trust questioning the wisdom of leaving a secure corporate job for a Christian nonprofit, that’s been the hardest part. But I don’t blame them for that, it’s a completely understandable position and one I wrestled with for a long time myself. I trust that God has my wife and I in His hands and I could not be more excited about serving Him through Seed Effect!
Joel Cox joined the Seed Effect team in January 2016. We are grateful for his servant’s heart and the passion he brings to our team! Now let’s go get some BBQ!