Discussing money and more with Sam Yoder

Discussing money and more with Sam Yoder

I sat down with Sam Yoder, the owner of Berlin Gardens and lead pastor at Gospel Haven Mennonite Church. We talked for about an hour, and he talked to me about money but so much more. There is a quote in this interview that says, “The motivation is to lead and grow people, but we make furniture to pay the bills.” It’s great to know a company of this size has shifted its focus from the bottom line to the people that are there.

Q: Where was Berlin Gardens when you took over and what were the biggest financial obstacles?

“When I took over Berlin Gardens, there were 27 employees. Now there are 247 employees. I was being ordained as a pastor, and I knew that being a general manager at another company was going to lead to burnout, so I wanted to buy a business. Berlin Gardens was the third company I had talked to. Previously, I had looked at a fabric shop in the area.

“The biggest financial obstacle was establishing a line of credit starting out. It was 2009 when I bought Berlin Gardens — everyone knows how stable the economy was then. I took the house as collateral, and the old owner of Berlin Gardens co-signed for me. I look back, and I don’t know if I would do it again.

“My wife and I prayed every morning about this, and we had a peace about it. I believe in praying because God works in the supernatural, but we must work in the natural.”

Q: Timewise, how do you balance a company and full-time preaching — plus family, et cetera? Have there been times where money ruled over family?

“I have cut back on working a full-time job. I work Monday, Wednesday and part of Friday. The reason I can do this is due to the great leadership I have in place. I took a sabbatical in the past, and I received such a low amount of phone calls in my time away from the business, all due to people in the leadership position.”

Q: What Bible verses have you found about money that you find resourceful?

“Matthew 6:20 (NKJV): ‘But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ This teaches me to use my business for a platform. So many more people can be reached through business than through church, even people that would never step a foot inside of the church.

“The other is the internal portion of Berlin Gardens. The motivation is to lead and grow people, but we make furniture and structures to pay the bills.

“We also set up a world map last year where the delivery and freight truck drivers could put a pin in the map where their native country is. By the end of the year, we had 30 countries represented on that map — a majority coming from Somalia because of the unrest and they came here to find peace.

“The other portion of scripture I find is a paraphrased version of the last four verses of Proverbs 27 found in Herr’s ‘Chips of Wisdom’ book.”

Q: What have your
children taught you
about money?

“That it’s not as important as relationships. What I am also trying to teach them is to give it away. It is always better to give than receive.”

This is one part of the interview; the second half will come in my next article. These answers were ringing through my head the next day, and I am hoping you learned as much from them as I did.

Holmes County native BJ Yoder is an insurance agent by day and a finance enthusiast by night. This column is for informational purposes only. He can be emailed at benjamin.john.yoder@gmail.com.

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