Blake Wisz: Where Passion Meets PurposeBy Audrey Wierenga on April 14, 2020
God's call for our lives is not something to be taken lightly. Most of us are able to discern the direction He would like us to go, but we can't help holding on to our own plans in the meantime.
But then there are people like Blake Wisz (B.A. ’14), who faithfully follow the Lord wherever He leads and live out their faith with deep conviction.
Wisz had an acumen for business and marketing throughout college. Before he had even graduated from Cornerstone University, he was a marketing intern at Our Daily Bread Ministries, one of the world's largest providers of devotionals and biblical resources. He graduated CU with a degree in marketing and international business and began to build his own freelance marketing and photography business. He was then approached by Our Daily Bread in 2015 to join their team as a marketing media specialist. He served the organization for almost five years in various roles and helped launch YMI, a syndicate of Our Daily Bread that focuses on twenty-something Christians. Wisz and his wife, however, sensed that God had something bigger in store.
"We started praying for something new," Wisz said. "We felt comfortable in the Midwest, but we know it's about more than being comfortable."
In late 2019, Wisz and his family moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he accepted a marketing position with the Tim Tebow Foundation. "We have family in Jacksonville," Wisz said, "I was watching Tim's work from afar for a long time. He really set a pace, having done so much at such a young age and really caring for the least of these. He’s taken his worldly platform of wealth and transformed it into a message that everyone is an image-bearer of Christ."
The experience was jarring—moving from an 80-year ministry with a staff of 300 to a 10-year ministry with a staff of 22—but Wisz saw it as a challenge that he was ready for.
The goal of the foundation is the essence of what Christianity is all about: loving God and loving people. Tebow started the foundation to show love and give visibility to the forgotten and oppressed population of the world—those with special needs. According to the World Health Organization, 15% of people globally live with a special need. The foundation has seven ministries, each of which focuses on a different area of care for underserved children, including funding for parents adopting a child with special needs internationally and creating playrooms in children's hospitals.
The vision of the foundation is biblically founded in that it seeks to emulate the character of Christ to those around the world, by loving children deemed unlovable, caring for those cast out of their society and providing a place where those stigmatized by their special needs can feel appreciated, accepted and welcomed.
As the marketing manager, Wisz's role in the organization is diverse. The main areas of marketing he oversees are the Night to Shine, a yearly one-night event at churches across the country where people with special needs can attend their own prom celebration, and the Celebrity Golf Classic, a large fundraiser for the foundation.
Night to Shine
This was the first year Wisz was able to experience Night to Shine. He always knew it was an impactful event, but it was even more powerful for him to see it in person.
"The Night to Shine event in Jacksonville takes place in a huge arena downtown," Wisz said. "We had thousands of guests in that arena. Watching all those kids get crowned prom kings and queens just takes your breath away." His favorite moment was seeing the emcee, a TV personality from the area, be affectionately embraced by a man with special needs. He was able to take a photo of the moving moment. "This is what we as believers have a chance to do during such a crazy time in our country," he said.
Though his team at the foundation is relatively small, they have a powerful impact on communities worldwide. Over 700 churches were involved with Night to Shine in 2020. Globally, 115,000 guests attended the event, and Wisz is passionate about telling the stories of those impacted. In the meantime, Wisz and his wife also run a freelance marketing firm, Chasing Creative.
"For me, it's not about money," Wisz said, "it's where God is going to lead me. In business, the biggest focus is not only the mission but showing God's love to the people in the desk next to you on a day-to-day basis."