How Nonprofits Can Serve the Church

In this episode, Darrell Bock and Milyce Pipkin interview Mike Wiltz, the President and CEO of the Hope Center, about the purpose of the Hope Center and its goal to help local churches better serve their communities.

About The Table Podcast

The Table is a weekly podcast on topics related to God, Christianity, and cultural engagement brought to you by the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. The show features interviews with guests who are experts on the chosen topic, and each episode is hosted by a member of The Hendricks Center’s team.

Timecodes
2:40
What is the Hope Center?
8:45
What kind of Ministries are at the Hope Center?
10:52
Hope Center’s Relation to the Local Church
13:06
What is a Parachurch?
23:16
Future Plans for the Hope Center
38:21
Advice for Non-Profits
Resources
Transcript

Darrell Bock: 

Welcome to The Table. We discuss issues of God and culture. I'm Darrell Bock, executive director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. And today our topic is non-profits, non-profit organizations. And we have, over here, our guest, Mike Wiltz, who's official title is? 

Mike Wiltz: 

President and CEO of the Hope Center. 

Darrell Bock: 

President and CEO. You got the double whammy combination. 

Mike Wiltz: 

I did get the double whammy, yes. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. So he's going to help explain what the Hope Center is, and that's our way into thinking about non-profits and what they do for us in how they serve our communities. So that's where we're headed. And then I have over here, Milyce Pipkin, who's an associate at the Hendricks Center. And Milyce, I think I'll start with you. So why are you at The Table today? Tell us about your background and the kinds of things that you used to do that this represents another opportunity to do. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Thank you so much, Darrell. Absolutely love the Lord as everyone here at this table. And what brings me here is an opportunity to utilize over 30 years of experience of not only doing my own television talk show for public broadcasting for PBS, but also being a news anchor and a reporter of over 30 years for commercial television stations up and down the eastern seaboard in the south. So this is sort of my forte. And what I do at the Hendricks Center I just love because it gives me an opportunity to culturally engage, making sure we bring God into the whole thing. Because at the end of the day, He's creator, He's maker of all things, sustainer of all things. So this is just a wonderful opportunity for me to just give Him glory for the gift that I have of just being a journalist. And I love it. 

Darrell Bock: 

Okay. So you're kind of getting the full court press here. You got two of us who are hosting who are going to ask you about what's going on here. So there's a tradition, it's a little bit like hazing, that's always the first question we ask any guest who's here for the first time, and that is, what's a nice guy like you doing in the gig that you have? How did you get to the Hope Center? 

Mike Wiltz: 

I think that God is on the throne and He gave me the spiritual boot to get me to where He needs me to be. So it's the only other way to explain it. He just has a way of connecting the dots. 

Darrell Bock: 

Okay. So you ended up at the Hope Center. Let's talk about what the Hope Center is. Because I imagine most people, if they live in the Dallas area, some may have heard of the Hope Center, but a lot of people wouldn't. And if you don't live in the Dallas area, you'd have no idea what the Hope Center is. So it sounds hopeful, the title. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

So there's a lot of hope. Tell us about it. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, I'm hopeful in my answer. Well, I would say it's a crossroads of ministry. There's 57 ministries that reside in a 185,000 square foot building in Plano, Texas, just north of the Richardson border. And like I say, it's a crossroads where 57 ministries come together to lock arms to figure out how we collaborate together, to work together and reach 143 countries. So we have a say at the Hope Center that, "A lot of people want to reach the world. At the Hope Center, we're reaching the world." 

Darrell Bock: 

So you've got a huge array of different kinds of ministries. Can I ask you the spectrum of the kinds of things, the groups that you're hosting? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Boy, we have a lot of equipping ministries, bible studies, discipleship. We have outreach, global outreach, church planning. We focus a lot on the kids, orphans. There's legal support there for religious injustice, have a lot of programs that actually go in and support the churches like daycare. We have a university there that does classes. So we have professional speakers that speak all over the world. And so, it's just a ray of support and ministry that's just been birthed out of there. 

Darrell Bock: 

So I'll give you two that I'm aware of. One is a group called Point of View. Kirby Anderson. So you host, I could view them as a competitor. You host someone who has their own radio show and who does their own radio work and broadcasts on the radio. And then on the other range, you've got Dan Wallace's group that looks at biblical manuscripts, right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. Absolutely. 

Darrell Bock: 

So I think that's 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Pretty big spectrum. 

Darrell Bock: 

That's a pretty big Spectrum. Exactly right. 

Mike Wiltz: 

We have Indiana Jones, an incredible ministry that reaches the entire country through the radio. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, I take it you also have some international radio ministries that are housed at the Hope Center? 

Mike Wiltz: 

We do. We have people that are broadcasting into all parts of the world? Some of them are transitioning to be more local broadcast now. But yeah, they broadcast out of the Hope Center and reach individuals digitally. We actually have a radio station as well. 

Darrell Bock: 

Oh wow. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Maybe another competitor. I'm not quite sure. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, I don't know how long I want to talk to you. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

So I'm really interested in how a vision like this gets started. Who and what and how did this come to be? Because it really sounds huge. 

Mike Wiltz: 

So June Hunt's really kind of the one that came up with the idea, called people around her came up with the idea. And she was moving her Hope for the Heart Ministries into a bigger space. And some people around her that loved her really well said, "Why don't you expand what you're going to purchase and include other ministries?" And so, the whole idea behind it would be to create a really good, world class building where ministries can actually afford to rent space there. And so, our square footage rental is well below market. So it's her way of just saying, I think that I'd love to be able to share on an incredible space but actually extend that to other ministries. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

So in a lot of ways, this is her ministry? This is her way of giving back in a huge way? 

Mike Wiltz: 

She's certainly, along with some people that are alongside her, certainly started with the idea. And I think it's just been amazing just to watch over 13 years what's happened. 

Darrell Bock: 

Anyone who knows June knows her heart for ministry and the way she wants to serve the Lord. And this has been a very concrete way of doing it. So it's really a nice space. Now, most people would go, okay, so you got all this square footage. I forgot what the number was, you gave it to me. 

Mike Wiltz: 

185,000 square feet. 

Darrell Bock: 

185 thou. 

Mike Wiltz: 

That's a lot of ministry. 

Darrell Bock: 

It's a lot of space. 

Mike Wiltz: 

It's a lot of space. 

Darrell Bock: 

I was going to say a lot of hot air, but I'm trying to be nice. So that's a lot of space. But your intent is not merely to be kind of a landlord. 

Mike Wiltz: 

That is true. There's three things that we're looking to move the Hope Center forward. One of them is just equipping, or I would say intentional collaboration. So as you sit and talk to not-for-profits, you talk to churches, there's so much in their lane of what they're trying to do. It's just more or less to be able to pause and say, "Let's just pause for a second and let's find out what's going on." So as an example, we have 23 ministries that are serving in Africa alone. So the question that we're asking is, "Do you know that there are other ministries in the Hope Center that are serving right alongside you that we could come together to be better together?" So it's just an intentional piece. 

I think the second piece that we're looking for is efficiency through shared resources. So this is a beautiful recording studio. Do we need a bunch of recording studios or should we have one, and that we could all share that resource? And so it brings the cost down for ministries to support their ministry and do it more cost effectively. And really, the last space that we're looking at, I'm calling it amplification of message. So what is it that the world needs to hear, cultural engagement? What are those topics that need to be tackled? Some people are afraid to tackle them, some people don't know exactly what the right speaker is or whatever the case may be. But the Hope Center provides a great venue space and a core of a neutral playing field, if you will, to be able to get after some of these topics biblically and to be able to amplify God's message. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

That's good. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. So let me ask you one more question and I'll have Milyce turn on her journalistic vibes. When you got to the Hope Center, are there any particular ministries that you came across and became acquainted with when you went, "I don't even think I knew that something like that existed. And man, that's interesting."? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Oh my gosh. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Where do you start? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, where do you start? I'd say probably about 80% of them fell in that category. Some of them I knew were there. But some of the smaller ones that have a more unique, behind the scenes approach to reaching some of the most difficult places in the world, it's just jaw-dropping kind of what they're doing. But it's interesting to see the personal story of some of the smaller ministries and what God's laid on their heart and, as a result, the ministry has birthed. And so that's the stuff that gets my attention of, they saw or felt a need and they maybe left the corporate world to kind of do that. 

Darrell Bock: 

I seem to remember when you gave me a personal tour of The Hope Center a while back. And I don't remember the name of the ministry, but it was a ministry that worked with, I guess, orphans and widows and that kind of thing that really tried to meet a need. And you sit there and you look at this and you go, how can you do this from such a distance? How does that work? That kind of a question. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, we have orphans outreach and we have another ministry that SAC orphans that is in Russia. And so, for example, sent a message out to say, "How are we doing in Ukraine and Russia?" And we have 11 ministries there, and a couple of them were right there serving orphans coming across the border and helping out with the women as well. So there's another ministry that has a hospital in Romania, Need Him Ministry, that serves. So there is, without question, intentional. There are ministries there that actually help provide funding for you too if you're looking to adopt someone. So a lot of different spaces with how we love on the orphans and just really love on them well. 

Darrell Bock: 

I said I had one last question, but I'm lying because I got another one. But how do you help those ministries connect to the local church so that people in churches can understand what's going on, not just at the Hope Center, but across the believing community? 

Mike Wiltz: 

What a great question. Thanks for that question. Just yesterday I had 22 executive pastors, I think 15 of them showed up for the first time. And there's two things we're trying to do there, kind of the same thing, sit across from a table to speak the same language and say, "These individuals help move the church. They're the problem solvers. They're the ones behind the scenes, making a lot happen." And then introduce them to the Hope Center that says, a lot of times the churches will try to invent it internally first, when you have, right down the road, 57 ministries that are just willing to help. So just yesterday we had 15 churches. And I think half of them, or maybe three quarters of them, first time they've been in the Hope Center. They didn't even know that the place existed. I've also reached out to a couple of senior pastors and bringing them over for some tours and kind of the same conversation, "Did you know this place even existed? And really, how can we help?" 

Darrell Bock: 

So what we've had is a group, a location that's been housing all these ministries. But the trick now is to get them connected in such a way that they're mutually supportive of one another, on the one hand, but they also can connect to the local churches that are looking for outreach ministries on the other. And that's a perfect, perfect landing place for just talking about non-profits in general, in thinking through the role of the non-profit. Because I think most people think, well if it's going to happen, it's got to happen in the local church. But the flip side of that is, if the local church tries to do it, the local church may not be able to do some of the things that these non-profits are doing. So with that table set- 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Well, you almost asked the question, you might as well put it out there because I don't want to take away from what you just said because that's really good to talk about the non-profit component. But I was thinking also the parachurch component and the real definition of that for people who may not be as familiar with that. And I can't think of a better person to talk about that than somebody who's working with 57 of them, including themselves. So what would be your definition of the parachurch? And again, don't want to be remiss of what Dr. Bock was just asking about the non-profits. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, I think it's a great question. I have a tendency to simplify everything so it's not complicated. But if you talk to the parachurch Ministries, they say we are the church. And you kind of eluded to that at the beginning. But they have probably a unique skillset or services or resources they can provide that they're passionate about. So it's just really set up to support the church. 

I was on a church staff for 12 years. What I found was happening to the church is that there's so many demands on the church, and the dollars that are going towards staff have to change. So it's less about Sunday, it's more about digital, it's more about marketing, it's more about social media. And the more that they change, it kind of changes who the church is. And so that's actually one of the reasons why I kind of stepped away because I said, "Well, the church needs to really stay focused on it's due north and what the purpose of that is. And there are solutions already out there so the church doesn't necessarily have to reinvent itself because there's plenty of solutions people out there that want to help. 

Darrell Bock: 

So one of the things that you're advocating is kind of a partnering relationship between the local church and the parachurch. They both have church in their name. And it's a reminder, I want to make this observation theologically, that church is not a building, it's not a location. It's a group of people who share a certain common theological confession and recognition of their need for God and what Christ has done for them. So if that's the church, then certainly just because you're not meeting on a Sunday in a building doesn't mean you're not part of the church. Although the local gathering and the gathering together for a shared ministry and a shared mission is part of what the church is supposed to do and be. 

So you're connecting pieces. The thing that strikes me about something like the Hope Center and the kind of ministries that you mentioned, and what they do is, these are not things that come easily to a local church body. They don't happen by default. And they certainly don't happen even sometimes with intention. But what you're offering are a variety of ministries with experience in these areas that the local church, generally, staff doesn't have experience and isn't inclined to go there without some intentionality, et cetera. And frankly, if you just think about the missions wing of a local church, many missions wings of a local church couldn't do their missions program without non-profit parachurch structures. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. For sure. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. So you're feeling pretty important. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Opportunistic, I think. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

It's even bigger than just even that, what you were just saying about the non-profit and the parachurch. The church, in my opinion, doesn't have the ability to do all that you can do. Like you're saying, they don't have the staff, they don't have the funds, they don't have the time, they don't have that. But what you do and other parachurches, what you are able to provide are prongs of the church that can reach out and grab and pull in those areas that may be underserved to some degree. And then you love well, loving God and loving people. And so you're meeting the mandate and you're doing the work. And so, hats off to you and what you're doing, by the way, on behalf of the Hendricks Center and myself and Darrell. Because to put all of that under one umbrella and then to be able to offer it as a resource to people and to churches and to our community is really to be commended. So we thank you for all that you guys do. 

Mike Wiltz: 

We're all blessed. And one of the stories I like to tell that I think tells this pretty well is that there's church planning going on in Africa. And Mercy Ships is one of our ministries there. And for those that don't know, Mercy Ships is a floating hospital. So I'm looking at the church planters and say, "Do you have people in your church that are sick that need surgery? Last time I checked, I know I'm not very good at surgery, but there's a new ship that's coming in a new location soon in Africa. You know the owner of that hospital. So let's start working together to be able to really take care of people." 

Darrell Bock: 

And the other thing that I think is important, because we've tended to talk about even the Hope Center as its own location, is that actually, one of the goals that you have is to pull together non-profits that aren't housed in the center, but that sometimes show up for events and that kind of thing. So even though you have, I think you said 57 ministries, I think I remember that number right. I think of Heinz 57 ketch-up. 

Mike Wiltz: 

There you go. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

There you go. 

Mike Wiltz: 

It's a good seasoning. 

Darrell Bock: 

Right. So anyway, you got 57 ministries there, but you're actually connected to other ministries that aren't located there, and some of whom are looking to come to the center so they can get what it is that the center can provide to a non-profit. Is that right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, that is correct. So we have 32 ministries on the waiting list trying to get in. And a lot of ministries, they'll have their meetings right there in our lobby and be able to do that. But the other piece of that is, E3 just actually did this about a month ago. But they invited other church planting ministries from all over the country into the Hope Center to have a strategy session of how to collectively go after Africa. So we'll have conferences all the time and invite people in to do that collaborations, even if you're not a ministry within the Hope Center. 

Darrell Bock: 

Just to make it clear, you've got space that you rent out to these ministries at an exceedingly reasonable price. But you also have gathering spaces. I know you've got a place where you can hold a conference and you can put together a big conference and there's a big meeting room. You've got smaller conference rooms where people can meet. So you don't have to be at the Hope Center to utilize what the Hope Center is offering to the churches and to these communities. And for these ministries that don't have those kinds of capability, you mentioned a studio earlier, and don't have those capabilities. You offer all these, I guess, I would call them amenities that, alongside their office space, or even if they're not at the Hope Center to ministries, they can utilize them I would assume, that allows them to use the space for ministry in ways that they can't provide for themselves. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Completely. We're all the same team, and so we want to do this together. I think one of the things I have to also mention though is one of the most key ingredients in our recipe is our cafe. Have you ever eaten there? 

Milyce Pipkin: 

You got to mention the food. 

Mike Wiltz: 

I just had slugs there just a few- 

Darrell Bock: 

Why are the church's hard as our stomach? 

Mike Wiltz: 

You don't need to leave the building because the food is just right there. It's right there. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Is that open to the public? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Open to the public, yeah. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Very good, because I was going to ask you too, you said you have a waiting list of over 33 ministries or parachurches trying to get in there, organizations. What's your criteria? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, I think our first priority is to take care of the tenants that are in there. There's a lot of ministries in there that are just really expanding and we can't keep up with the growth, which is a really good problem to have. We also feel that we're a little bit unique in the fact that we want to steward the space really well. So we feel that most landlords, if you don't show up to work, we're good with that because it's less wear and tear in the building. And we actually say, we want to utilize every single square inch of this, so if there are other ministries that come in. 

So as ministry models change within our tenants, we'll have conversations with them to say, can we better utilize some of the space? And of course, they're very accommodating to try to make that happen. So that's one of the things we take care of, the tenants that are in there first. The other thing we look at is just diversification. So if we have some of those mysteries in there already, we just added a ministry recently that goes after the Chinese market, the Chinese country. And we never were in China before. So we try to diversify as much as possible when we're taking a look at some of the ministries. 

Darrell Bock: 

And the Hope Center, to some degree, is transitioning. Is that right? In your role, you're relatively new to the role. How long have you been there? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Seven months. 

Darrell Bock: 

Seven months. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah. Rookie. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. He's just getting rolling. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Well, congratulations on your job and opportunity. 

Darrell Bock: 

He's just getting rolling. But one of the things that I think you've sought to bring is to make sure the Hope Center is more than a landlord and really does take advantage of the pooling of talent that is in the building in many ways, right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. So when I was candidating for the position, that's kind of one of the things that I just said, was, there is so much potential here. The Holy Spirit math is 1 + 1 is 5 or 10 or 1,000. So we're stronger together. And so that's a cultural shift. That's always been part of the strategy for the Hope Center. But a lot of it, I would say, is more organic. Meet somebody at the coffee bar and, "Hey, can we have a conversation?" So I think the intentionality behind it is what we're trying to drive. 

Darrell Bock: 

So you're working hard to foster that environment and make sure that the people who come in, this is actually piggybacking off of Milyce's question, and that is, one of the things that you're looking for are ministries that don't just want to show up for office space, but that actually do want to walk in and say, I want to take advantage of the full environment that's represented here and the kind of cross-fertilization that can take place. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Completely. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Now, you guys are located in Plano. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

I kind of have a two-pronged question. And I know that's not good to ask somebody two questions, but I'm kind of wondering, are there plans to expand? And then the second question is just that, what are your plans? How do you see yourself growing? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. Well, great question. So we're landlocked where we are. Can't go up. Can't go out. And so the two pronged strategy of growth is this. The first one is just, spend the next year to two years really getting this collaboration piece down and really understand who we are and what we're doing so we can execute that well. And then the other thing, we get calls all the time all over the country for, "Can you help us do this?" So that would be a longer term solution to be able to do that where a lot of ministry currently exists to be able to go do that. So again, one of the things that we have the benefit of, we have June Hunt behind us to be able to financially support that. So take some dollars to get that model up and running. So that's a conversation that's on The Table from a couple years out that says, where other investors are interested in duplicating that, we're completely on board with leaning in to make that happen and help facilitate that. 

Darrell Bock: 

Now, I'll ask what I think I would say is a challenging question. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Be nice. 

Darrell Bock: 

I will. So you're located in Plano. Anyone who knows the map of Dallas knows it goes Dallas, Richardson, Plano, more or less, at least if you're headed north up 75 on Central Expressway. And yet your ministries cover globally. I'll ask the first part of the question this way. Do you have many ministries that are concentrating on how the Dallas, Fort Worth community, the local community in particular is served? Are most of your ministries national or global? 

Mike Wiltz: 

That's a head scratch for me. I would say most of us are national and global. Union Mission Gospel is one that's local. So there are ministries that support churches that can make it local. But really, the tenants that we currently have are more global. And that's an area that I want to be able to grow in to be able to support that. The other thing that's interesting though, when you start to talk to the churches, it gets to be more of how do we partner with the churches to help that versus necessarily- 

Darrell Bock: 

So you're sensing where I'm going, which is, on the one hand you've got this location with all these national, global ministries in which the prongs are going out, but they're going outside the DFW community. I could see another hub, for lack of a ministry hub, that might be focused and concentrating on the local community per se, in that kind of way. And your way to deal with that is to say, well, if we can get connected to the local churches and help them come together, then we can impact the local community even though our ministries are mostly national and global. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Right. Completely. Another ministry, Dallas Baptist University's there. And so they do classes. 

Darrell Bock: 

Meet there. That's when you said you had a university, I was saying, man, that's pretty good. 

Mike Wiltz: 

There's another competitor maybe. I don't know. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, I'm feeling. And the longer I talk to you, the more nervous I get. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, DTS doesn't have an office there yet. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. Exactly right. So I guess the challenge is that it would be very easy to take the model that you have, which is a national and global model in place of ministry, and create a similar kind of hub that would be dedicated to the more local community and that kind of thing, right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, I think that's a really good question. When you start to look at, are there other Hope Centers across the country? There's more of those that says, as you're coming in, we need to know how you're going to impact the local community. And so, for sure, that's an avenue that we could take a look at. But it'd be, I think, in the midst of partnerships. 

Darrell Bock: 

Right. Exactly. Because the value of what you offer to local churches is this ability to help the local church reach beyond itself and its own community into these other communities, which many local churches need that capability of outreach because they aren't going to be able to do it themselves. They have to have the partnerships in order to be able to. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Do you have an example of how you all are working with the church that you want to share with us? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, I think it's, like I said, for me, because I come from that world, it's relationships. So again, we just started the conversation, honestly, yesterday when I had the executive pastors in, and I've had a handful of senior pastors in. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

When they come to the Hope Center, what do they see? We've talked about the 57 ministries under 185,000 square feet. And we're talking about a nice place to eat. But what else will we see? 

Darrell Bock: 

Those are all the basic requirements. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, I would say, having been an executive pastor, what I see and what they saw yesterday, I believe, was they're constantly having to solve problems or build something or get people mobilized or whatever that looks like. That's where the buck stops, is on that executive pastor, executive director table. So when you walk in and you say, I have all of this help right here, I don't need to reinvent what I'm doing, or at minimum, I can have a conversation to get some good advice for what I should be doing. I think it was somewhat of a relief to know that that's a well kept secret, but hopefully not going to be a well kept secret for churches going forward. 

Darrell Bock: 

So your point is, you're trying to help people network. And a lot of those spokes for that networking already exists. It's just a matter of connecting. I'm thinking of the computer imagery. It's a matter of putting the HDMI cord into the HDMI socket in the computer. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah. Well, what I find fascinating is the culture right now, I don't need to tell you what the culture's doing, but is a little bit of polarization and isolation. And I see the churches and, quite honestly, the parachurch organization kind of staying in their lane, doing their thing. And it's a head scratcher to me that says, "We're all in this together." 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Why are you doing that? 

Mike Wiltz: 

"Why are we not working together?" I mean, God's designed us to be able to use our gifts to be in unity together. So let's be an example really to the world of this is how it's supposed to work. 

Darrell Bock: 

So the goal is to get the word out, let people know what's here, et cetera. You said many of the people who walked into that building yesterday didn't even know you existed or what was in the building, what the possibilities were, et cetera. And to build that opportunity for networking, perhaps even networking in ways that they hadn't even contemplated ever before. And so I imagine that a lot of those people went, "Wow, think about the opportunities that this represents, et cetera." I think about the Mercy Ship that you were talking about, that's the floating hospital. I think about the ministry that my wife has been involved in that sent her down to the Amazon in Brazil multiple times. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Amazon Outreach? 

Darrell Bock: 

Exactly right. 

Mike Wiltz: 

They're in the Hope Center. 

Darrell Bock: 

There you go. Okay. So there you go. You're back, and she's on a boat, sleeping on a hammock, having, I guess I'd call it the real Amazon experience as opposed to the romantic Amazon experience, and opened her eyes to a level of ministry and a level of care and the condition of the church in another part of the world that she had never been exposed to before. 

Mike Wiltz: 

And I think the other thing, those stories are told throughout the building. It's like, you're not going to believe what happened yesterday. And so there is just really a culture of hope in the building of storytelling of how God is working. There's another part of the Hope Center that no one really sees. But even yesterday, we have people that come by the Hope Center that are suicidal and they see the sign, and they pull in and they go, "I don't know what this place is." It just happened yesterday. And of course, we have a building full of pastors and Marketplace Chaplain, CEO of Marketplace, Jason Brown, had a chance just to counsel right there on the spot. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

That's amazing. Probably saved a life. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Probably saved a life. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

The Lord used your resources to save a life. 

Mike Wiltz: 

And unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, it happens when they see that sign. That's what they're coming in for, is some hope. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

It's amazing. 

Mike Wiltz: 

It's not necessarily on the flyer, but certainly, we want to love on people whenever that may be. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

I'm so glad you shared that. That's just amazing. 

Darrell Bock: 

That is an amazing story. So what other secrets does the Center have? 

Milyce Pipkin: 

What other kinds of hope? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, I will say that if you want to come over for lunch, we have this beautiful space in the back, this beautiful pear garden. You just want to retreat with a cup of coffee, and just a great place to unwind and chillax. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Look at you. 

Darrell Bock: 

Chillax. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Chillax. 

Darrell Bock: 

That's chill and relax all put together in one. 

Mike Wiltz: 

How about that? 

Darrell Bock: 

You must be from Chicago. Yeah. He has a lot of great likes in his experience. So as you think about this, you've been at this seven months and you're into it, and we're thinking about the role of the non-profit, et cetera. What would be your hope for non-profits? You're at the Hope Center and you're thinking about non-profits. And if what you have in mind were to come to fruition, what would it look like in say 5 or 10 years? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Boy, I would envision an environment of natural collaboration where we're storytelling how ministries are coming together because they love and lean on each other and celebrate the differences, but celebrate what they're able to do together is better. So just that culture of thinking outside of your lane and understanding the big picture, how God's at work. That would be ideal for me, that that's what you walk into and that's a normative conversation. 

Darrell Bock: 

Interesting. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

So you really did end up being the perfect guy for that job? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Well, if you would like. Yeah, the jury's still out. I'm still young. I'm excited about the start. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

This is good stuff. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, I guess it's disclosure time. I've watched a little bit up close what he walked into. I knew what he was coming from in terms of not where he had been before, but where The Hope Center had been before. And watching him lay plans and begin to do the work of really hands on ministry, in some ways. It's been encouraging to see. And we hope that what you have laid out in front of you gets delivered. 

Mike Wiltz: 

I appreciate that. I think that the head scratcher for me, or the spiritual boot, was I had that 20 plus years in the corporate world. And then I had a 12 that, well, if you count my elder years, 16 years in the ministry world and just saying, "God, what are we doing with both of those?" And so to be able to come into the Hope Center and sit across from ministry and say, "Tell me about your ministry. And just to be able to dive into whatever that is, and to be able to emotionally engage, it's been a blessing to have both of those experiences in my past. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

I kind of feel where you're going with that. I had 30 years of working in the secular world, broadcasting and print media and all these other things. And then you come into ministry, here at the seminary, at Dallas Theological Seminary. And for the last five, six years, it's been, okay, what do I do with all this to bring this together, Lord? And then you just lean in. Like you're saying, you lean in and you wait, and then you answer the call when you get it. And you trust Him. So it's good stuff. 

Darrell Bock: 

And so our stories are very, very similar in the sense of, she thought, when she came here for seminary, that she had left her broadcasting stuff behind. Been there, done that. Lo and behold, she runs into us or we run into her, I'm not sure. And she's bringing this experience and we're doing these podcasts and we're drawing on the experience that she has and we're trying to help her think about that in a ministry context. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

And I'm enjoying being loved by good people and loving them. And I can imagine that's happening for you. 

Mike Wiltz: 

For sure. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

And when I think about what's going on with the parachurch and that sort of thing, you're having to put 33 ministries on hold, non-profits on hold. I know that's tough. But at the end of the day, what do you say to either those on hold or to those who are waiting to be birthed? What kind of encouragement, what can you tell them about holding on a little longer, about waiting on the Lord? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Good question. I think a couple things we say is we usually tell the stories of people that've been praying for 7, 10 years and a little bit about when they finally got the call that says, "We have an opening for you." God's timing is always best. So it can happen. And it is just great to be able celebrate- 

Darrell Bock: 

You hold out hope. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Exactly. But in the meantime, we have incredible venues and tables. Come have your ministry meetings here, here's the coffee bar. 

Darrell Bock: 

Get to know us. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Get to know us. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

That's good. So they're not really out. And you guys are pulling them in, as you keep indicating. Keep saying, "Here we are. Here's a table for that matter. Here's a place, use this space." 

Mike Wiltz: 

Come be a part of the family. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Yeah, you're part of the family. Very good. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah. Well, Mike, if you were to encourage someone leading a non-profit or maybe if you were to offer some lessons. I realize you're just into this, but still. Because one of the challenges, of course, of being a non-profit is just executing the space and particularly sometimes having to wrestle with, we are a non-profit, we aren't generating our own income, in many cases. We are ministering. So you have any advice for non-profits based upon the experience and the interaction you've had with them at the Hope Center? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Gosh, great question. I think it's, be obedient to your call. The good news about being at the Hope Center is that you get to see some pretty mature and big ministries that started with a dream. And then you also get to see the ones that just have left the corporate world, or whatever their story is, to start their ministries. And so, you get to see the whole gamut and you get to see the maturation of all that. But I think if God has called you, and He doesn't make mistakes, you could see different stages of that unfolding right before your eyes, and you get to cry with him, you get to hug them, and you get to celebrate. And His call is right, then God will take care of you. 

Darrell Bock: 

The beauty of the collaboration that can happen at the Hope Center is that you probably do have that mix of people who've been at this for years. I imagine you have several people who served overseas for a long time and now have come back here to finish their careers in ministry, that kind of thing. And then you've got the person who's just starting out and learning the ropes. And so to be able to put that all together in one room and have someone with experience come alongside someone who might not have that much experience, that's got to be potentially encouraging, particularly for the person who's just trying to figure it out. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah. It's really fun to watch. There are some incredible individuals over there that just hang out at the coffee bar and you just grab them by the hands like, "I got to introduce you to this guy or this gal, and you need to get to know them." And two weeks later, they're sitting there having coffee. And seeing that relationship build is incredible. 

Darrell Bock: 

So sometimes the staffs that are in the Hope Center are one or two people, right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yep. Yeah. 

Darrell Bock: 

The ministry headquarters might be no more than that. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Correct. 

Darrell Bock: 

So if they were ministering on their own outside the Hope Center, they'd feel pretty isolated. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah. I'm the CEO, I'm the donor person, I'm the curriculum writer, PR. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, exactly. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

You work in the coffee shop. Barista. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Very true for that. 

Darrell Bock: 

It's challenge. There's an element of being, at least a certain kind of non-profit, that can be pretty challenging because it's all on very few shoulders. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Completely. But you have that support network right there. There's a floor, the third floor, their name they call themselves is the zoo crew because they feel like they're in little cages. But really, it's just one or two offices, and they have their own bond that they've developed. And so they're all up in one part of the building and constantly leaning on each other. Might be just, "Hey, happy birthday," or, "What's going on with your family?" To, "I'm having a ministry challenge." And so they've developed incredible relationships based on that environment for sure. 

Darrell Bock: 

And I think I remember from the tour, walking through and seeing basically offices that could be described as nothing more than expanded cubicles. So it's clear in that place there's only one or maybe, at most, two people who are representing that ministry in that location, that kind of thing. I don't quite know how to ask this. Are you hosting ministries for whom this may be the headquarters? But I imagine there are some ministries for which this is a regional representation or something like that? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, for sure. There's quite a few of those. Johnny and Friends has a regional office. FCA is another one. Mercy Ships has two different locations. For sure, there's quite a few of those that have more of a regional feel to it. Yeah. 

Darrell Bock: 

Well, I just want to thank you for coming in and being a part of The Table and helping us understand a little bit about the Hope Center and also a little bit about the real hodgepodge world that non-profits are. Because you get all kinds of non-profits in all shapes and sizes, is that right? 

Mike Wiltz: 

Yeah, absolutely. And from the seat I sit, I get to just engage and hear personal story. They're the ones that are driving their ministry, but I get to be able to receive how God's working in each one of those. And just a blessing. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

I hope you're writing a book. I'm getting the testimony. 

Mike Wiltz: 

It is just a blessing to be able to be in that seat, to listen to all of that. And it's just a great place to be. 

Darrell Bock: 

Well, we thank you for the work that you do and for what it represents, and for the organizations, the 57 organizations and what was that? 180? 

Milyce Pipkin: 

85,000 square feet offering hope around the world. 

Mike Wiltz: 

Come on over. I'll buy you lunch. 

Darrell Bock: 

Yeah, I've done that once. It's worth it. And that food is good. Yeah, so we're there. And thanks, Milyce, for helping us with this. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Thank you so much for allowing me to be here. Nice to meet you, Mike. 

Darrell Bock: 

Nice to meet you as well. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

Wish you the best. 

Darrell Bock: 

And we thank you all for being on The Table. We hope you'll join us again soon. And if you want to see more episodes, you can go to voice.dts.edu/tablepodcast. And we've got over 500 plus. 

Milyce Pipkin: 

And counting, yeah. 

Darrell Bock: 

And counting. Yeah, we just added another one right into the bucket. So anyway, we thank y'all for being with us. I hope you'll join us again soon. 

Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock has earned recognition as a Humboldt Scholar (Tübingen University in Germany), is the author of over 40 books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus, and work in cultural engagement as host of the seminary's Table Podcasts. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) for 2000–2001, writes for the Christianity Today's Places and Space series, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College, Chosen People Ministries, the Institute for Global Engagement, and Christians in Public Service (CIPS). His articles appear in leading publications. He is often an expert for the media on NT issues. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas. When traveling overseas, he will tune into the current game involving his favorite teams from Houston—live—even in the wee hours of the morning. Married for over 40 years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son and is also a grandfather.
Mike Wiltz
Mike Wiltz is the President of The Hope Center. Mike earned his Bachelor of Science degree in International Business at Illinois State University in 1987 and studied during the summers of 1985 and 1986 at the College of Salzburg in Austria and The University of Paderborn in Germany.  While having a heart for ministry, he first entered the corporate workforce in Chicago working for RR Donnelley for 20 years, starting out in a sales role, and rising to serve as VP of Corporate Accounts, working for clients like UPS, Fed Ex, H&R Block, Wal-Mart, and Tyson Foods.  The Lord then called Mike to serve as Executive Director at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, TX for the past 11 years. There he led a staff of sixty- five employees in multiple disciplines, oversaw their financial budget and led all strategic planning.   
Milyce Pipkin
Milyce Kenny Pipkin (A.K.A., Dee Dee Sharp) is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is a student at DTS, earning a master’s degree in Christian Education/Ministry to Women (2023) and an intern at the Hendricks Center under the Cultural Engagement Department. She holds a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Faulkner Christian University in Montgomery, Alabama. Pipkin/Sharp is a 30-year veteran news anchor, reporter, and Public Broadcast System talk-show host (The Aware Show with Dee Dee Sharp). Her accomplishments include working in various markets along the east coast including Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina as well as Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. She also worked as a public representative for the former Alabama Governor, (Don Siegelman), House Ways and Means Chairman, (Representative John Knight) and the Mobile County Personnel Board. Pipkin/Sharp has received several broadcasting news awards throughout her career in the secular world but is now fully committed to the rewards of sharing the Gospel.     She is happily married to the love of her life (Roy Pipkin, Retired Army). Together they have five children and ten grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and seeing God’s glory in her story along the way in the things she does, the people she meets and the places she goes.  
Contributors
Darrell L. Bock
Mike Wiltz
Milyce Pipkin
Details
November 22, 2022
church, nonprofit, parachurch
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