InterVarsity alumni – Corey Cleek

When Corey Cleek graduated from Fuqua Business School at Duke University with his MBA degree in 2000, he had a tough decision to make—whether to use his degree in business or in ministry. Having grown up in a pastor’s home, he had a strong ministry orientation. But the call to business was also strong.

Corey had attended InterVarsity’s Following Christ conference in Chicago in 1998 where he met John Terrill, then director of InterVarsity’s MBA ministry. John, and fellow InterVarsity staff member Steve Hinkle, became mentors to him as became the leader of Fuqua’s Christian Business Fellowship Group.

“After graduation I spent a lot of time in prayer, with mentors, and with my mother and father,” he says. “The biggest thing that I learned through InterVarsity was that full-time ministry is much more than working at a church or a non-profit Christian organization. As business people we can be in full-time ministry as well, doing what we are called to do and utilizing our skills and giftings in that context.”

Corey went to work at eBay and other business opportunities followed. Currently, he is part of an internet start-up based in Silicon Valley. But along the way he’s also been actively involved in ministry, particularly with Silicon Valley Fellowship. Silicon Valley Fellowship is a marketplace ministry organization for young Christian business professionals who work in the silicon valley area of northern California. It was started by Corey and the leaders of Christian fellowship groups at other business schools, who had met through InterVarsity and wanted to continue the type of marketplace-oriented Christian fellowship they were used to.

“Over the last few years more than one thousand business professionals have been involved with Silicon Valley Fellowship,” Corey says. Regular meetings are held to allow senior executives to talk about their faith experiences. Some compelling personal testimonies have been shared. “We wrestled with different ways to get that content out to a broader audience.”

One way of communicating with a broader audience was through a website, “We started inviting folks who had been involved in Silicon Valley Fellowship to write stories about how they apply their faith in their lives as business professionals,” he says. Then they began talking with book publishers. This past January, Regal Books released i>Devotional Ventures, edited by Corey Cleek.

The book is a compilation of 60 stories written by people in business around the country, from senior executives at companies like eBay, Boeing, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Coca Cola to entrepreneurs and business school students. “There’s a lot of variety in the stories that were shared,” he says, “and the response has been very encouraging.”

Individuals in business are using it as a devotional, but groups are also using it. “It’s been encouraging to see that Devotional Ventures is being utilized in business settings, in churches, and in groups that meet outside of those settings, in a home or restaurant,” he reports. Pastors have reported that the book has been helpful as they try to better understand the lives of the business professionals in their congregations. A pastor in Silicon Valley reported that he was excited about being able to use the book as he led a small group made up of business people.

More and more attention seems to be given to business as a platform for ministry. Business as Mission was a major track at InterVarsity’s Urbana 06 Student Missions Convention, and major media are devoting stories to the topic. “As business people, we create,” Corey says. “And God creates through us.”

Corey says he enjoyed working with the 60 contributors to Devotional Ventures. Discussions for a sequel have already begun. He’s also excited that the book project is a partnership with three ministries:

One hundred percent of the profits from Devotional Ventures goes to those three groups.

Get more details on this story by listening to the interview with Corey Cleek. You can listen or download the interview by going to InterVarsity’s audio page.