Branch is an idea born out of a desire to see God’s people mobilized in the world doing good. As the body of Christ, we should be the BEST at showing love to others. This website is the beginning of a God idea that will someday grow into whatever God wants it to be.
The intent of Branch is to help strengthen the infrastructure of the Church to enable us all to do the work of the ministry. To be more specific, Branch is a tool to multiply the efforts of the Church behind the scenes. If you’re a church and you need a website, post a “need” on Branch. If you’re a lawyer or accountant, and you want to donate some of your expertise to help a new church plant get everything started off right, check Branch to find a “need”.
I have started this project in faith, believing that it’s something God wants me to do. My pastor has always said, when God wants to do something in the world, He does it through people.
I looked back in my journals, and this idea first came to me sometime in 2013. One of the things leading up to this idea was that I was inspired by a men’s gathering at my church. It was led by Neil Kennedy of Five Star Man. One of the main takeaways from his talk was this:
“An idea is worth a dollar. A strategy is worth a million dollars.”Neil Kennedy – Five Star Man
Neil said something else that day that sparked an entrepreneurial fire within me. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that God gives us everything we need for the calling He gives us.
I knew God had put something special in me that I needed to do. Something to use to provide for my family and benefit the rest of the world. I think I’m only seeing the tip of the iceberg at this point, but I know this is the right track.
Long story short…
I started looking for opportunities to start something — some kind of side business or anything really. My job was working for a web hosting company, so I had been learning a lot about how websites work, and I could see the benefit in going online with….everything! I can see how organizations of all types benefit from having an online presence (advertising, selling, etc…). So that’s where I started putting my focus.
So back to Branch…
Once God gave me the idea back in late 2013 (the earliest note I have is from October 2013), I set out to create a social media website that would facilitate the grand idea God gave me. Using PHP, mySQL, HTML, my limited programming knowledge, and the cheapest web hosting I could find, I began hacking away at a login & register system based on some free YouTube videos put out by Alex over at CodeCourse.com. I was making slow and steady progress, but I knew my skills would limit the features of the site (just because I was a beginning developer). Then I discovered WordPress.
So I scrapped my custom development (and my ego), and decided to try to build something using WordPress. The primary benefits of using WordPress is that it already has the technical/code foundation built, AND there is a massive community behind the WordPress project. The community really makes WordPress what it is, but I digress.
You can find out more about my Developer journey at my personal site, madbray.com.
In May of 2016, I had a moment of clarity with God. It was one of those times where God speaks and you just know He is leading you. Here’s what I wrote from that time frame:
May 2016 – I’ve discerned that my first project should be Branch. I’m going to make that my focus again. God’s grace is enough, and His will is the best place to find His grace.
This came during a time when I was learning and growing in many different areas of my life. I was understanding more about websites from my day job (and WordPress in my spare time), so my ideas now had an avenue to become real. I could conceive in my mind how it could be possible. My wife and I were also heavily involved at church, and we were spending a lot of time with our nephew, who needed a lot of our time and attention.
So what happened? I got distracted from the original calling God gave me to build Branch. I still kept it in the back of my mind as I saw things I could use in the project, but I didn’t have it in focus. I had another idea, which I still believe to be God-inspired, that grabbed my attention and passion for a while: Acoustic Worshiper
Part of the reason I got distracted was that I wanted to set out on my own and make money online. The dream was (and still is in many ways) to be able to work from anywhere I have an internet connection and to be free to travel when and where my wife and I want to. So I started pursuing online business hard. I even saw some traction.
I knew I had written down in my journal that I believed God wanted Branch to be my first project. Hmm…maybe there’s something in that related to tithe or first fruits giving. Maybe God knew this would be a blessing to me if I give him my first project. I’ll have to revisit that thought some other time 🙂
So here we are. It’s 2020 now, and the world is in chaos over a virus, and in the United States, we’ve seen a lot of division and anarchy. This is the perfect time for Branch to exist. The time is right for a move of God, and this tool is the perfect thing to help the Church get ready.
Join Branch today if you have anything to offer or if you’re a church in need of some help. Branch is 100% free for both sides (the need and the service). I just ask that you reciprocate the blessings you receive from someone with a prayer for that person, and give them a good review. The culture of this community will always be positive and uplifting, so make sure you sowing the right kinds of seeds.
At the time of this writing, Branch is still a modest site. The idea is there, and the minimal infrastructure is there (forums). I just need YOU to join and give whatever supply you have! If you have skills and want to help churches be more effective, join today. If you’re a church who needs help with anything, join today and start posting messages to other members of the body.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6:2 NIV
If you have any questions about how the site works, or if you have any technical problems, email me through the Contact page. If you're a developer or can somehow contribute to the growth of this site, please also contact me.