Finding Purpose in Ministry: An Interview with Jim Marr

Ministry can happen anywhere, even outside the 4 walls of a church building.

For Jim Marr, ministry was happening at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, when Kobe Bryant died in a tragic accident last year.

“I tried to always lead with character, especially when Kobe passed,” Jim said. “Though I didn’t have the chance to talk about Jesus a lot, I did have an opportunity to demonstrate a strong witness, to be there for people, and to allow them to grieve.

“I just tried, with humility, to follow the Spirit’s leading,” Jim continued. “As a manager, I invested in the personal connection and what people needed.”

It was this pastoral experience during Nike’s grieving season that lead Jim to feel that a change in career was on the horizon.

“When I hear the word, ‘capital,’ the initial thought is that it’s all about the money,” Jim reflected on his first few conversations with CDF Capital. “But you come to realize that it’s more than just investment in the financial. It’s investing in leadership. It’s investing in the spiritual aspect as well.”


In the Fall of 2020, Jim made the transition after 15 years with Nike's financial planning and analysis team to CDF Capital as a Vice President of Ministry Development for the Pacific Northwest. Because of his background in finance, Jim was able to apply his skill set immediately toward church lending opportunities and investing. Although the work is drastically different from that of his corporate experience, Jim says that he feels reasonably comfortable day to day because of his previous experience at Nike.

“I felt this nudge that I believe was from God to just start exploring and praying about what might be next in my life,” Jim said. “So, through a lot of prayer, talking with mentors, and people whom I trust, God eventually opened the door to CDF Capital.”

Serving in the corporate world for many years, especially at a behemoth like Nike, does take its toll. Jim was at a crossroads of searching for refreshed meaning and purpose in the workplace. He experienced that sense of refreshing when coming to CDF Capital and feeling revived by the company’s mission.

“I’ve been in the corporate world for nearly 20 years,” Jim said. “I now have the opportunity to take that experience and deploy it for Kingdom purposes with a nonprofit organization whose heartbeat is consistent with mine. To blend these 2 parts of myself together and make that my job has been so sweet.”

As Jim serves the churches in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Northern California, he sees ministry happening outside the 4 walls of the church building much like he experienced during his season at Nike. Jim joined CDF Capital during the pandemic lockdowns and had a front-row seat as churches served their congregations and their communities in a fresh way.

“Though I didn’t have the chance to talk about Jesus a lot, I did have an opportunity to demonstrate a strong witness, to be there for people, and to allow them to grieve.”—Jim Marr

“Churches have had to think differently,” Jim explained. “People who have shown commitment to their churches are just going to continue to do so, but in a more elevated way. It’s challenging and maybe a little fun.”

Jim is encouraged to see that many churches have found ways to flourish during such an ambiguous moment in our world’s history.

One example is a church Jim serves in Newberg, Oregon. God has continually blessed the church, and, in turn, they’ve been looking to amplify their generosity toward the community.

“The church essentially became a hub,” Jim recalled of the Newberg church. “Other nonprofit organizations in town started locking arms with the church and, for example, started food distributions.

“The church said, ‘We care about the community. Even though we can’t meet like we want to on Sunday mornings for worship gatherings, we’re still going to actively be a resource for the city,’” Jim continued.

Ministry like this and the impact churches are making in the local area continue to astound Jim every day, leaving no regrets about transitioning to CDF Capital.

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