Archive for July, 2014

50 days of Festival Time

July 22, 2014

Reflecting on the Liverpool Festival for Business #IFB2014Liverpool Waterfront


The first event that I attended for the Festival was “Fresh Business Thinking”. When I arrived I sat down to read the programme and plot my movements through the exhibition, and Immediately two gentlemen sat down next to me and offered to buy me a coffee as we chatted. I warmed to them at this uncommon friendliness. It turned out that they were businessmen from Afganistan with plans for a food business on Merseyside. I felt this was a delightful personal introduction to the big aims of the International Festival for Business. One of the great strengths of Liverpool through history has been the welcoming of people from all nations.

The themes of the festival have been our backdrop as we prayed for the city, for businesses and business people. As we prayed for international connections and Liverpool’s role as a gateway for the UK we met with leaders from around the world, including Sri Lanka and Alabama USA. The business that I am part of, Global BioDiagnostics has a plan to serve the world with a breakthrough test process for Tuberculosis, and so the daily prayer for the nations has had a personal perspective as well as a grand visionary aspect.

During the ‘communications’ week our business team delighted to see articles published in three major publication, the most significant being Nature magazine. Another immediate reminder of the importance of the amazing world of communication, where the technology is astonishing, but we do still need to have a message. A very important part of why we began these 7 weeks of morning prayers for the Festival is that we are passionate about the message which The Forum is carrying.

Another very human dimension of these weeks of activity has been our contacts with workers who have been managing events, in Liverpool Vision, the labouring helpers in the Anglican Cathedral and event participants. Many of these people have been working almost non-stop with venue layouts being completed in the small hours. An international festival is really quite a business itself! We have prayed for strength for all these workers and thanked God for the preparation, diligence and sheer hard work that many have contributed.

Finally, as we hear that another International Festival is planned for Merseyside in 2016, we reflect on what changes will have taken place in the two years ahead. For my own business, we expect our breakthrough product to be trialled and coming onto the market. For the Forum, we expect the existing hundreds of members to collaborate, encourage and thrive in the rapidly developing North West of England. Regarding the global situation, surely no-one expects ‘business as usual’? We now have national debt out of control in many leading nations, social change accelerating in an environment bereft of clear moral leadership, multinational corporations larger than nations, and governmental instability everywhere. On the positive side, technology is opening up a global field of innovation, women are being positively released into leadership and people everywhere starting to re-engage with their communities afresh. The challenge for us all is not to just wait with expectation for the next Festival in two years, but to continue praying daily. Pray for our individual responsibilities and our collective potential. 24 months and counting!

John Manwell

Chief Operating Officer of Global BioDiagnostics Limited and Co-Founder of The Forum

Ordinary People sense that something is wrong

July 17, 2014
A time to rebuild

A time to rebuild

Friends, it seems that we are living in a time of great madness – the generation who voted (or ignored) the abortion bill, now about to vote for (or ignore) the euthanasia bill. The painful irony of a generation who voted for death in the womb, voting for their own death. Maybe this is a picture of how we are behaving financially?

I am not here to present a programme for you to sign up to, a campaign asking you to give money, and I’m not asking that you agree with my analysis. I do believe that there is a crisis developing which will progress into a catastrophe and that God is offering hope. To draw from the hope He offers we must listen to Him.

The theme for this week is finance. What a theme! Hard on the heals of  a series of banking scandals. Even last week there was a story emerging of yet another ‘mis-selling’ allegation – one that will cost up to £22 billion. We have had the stories of the banks not lending, and yet interest rates are at all time lows. On top of all this the USA and UK have historically incredible national debt levels. The USA debt is now measured in tens of trillions. I can remember the incredulity across the media when it reached one trillion. On top of this are the committed expenditures – which make the existing debt look small. Many analysts are convinced that this is not repayable in a generation. It seems that we have borrowed exorbitantly from our children. This is intergenerational abuse.

Ordinary people sense that something is wrong. British people feel alienated, and this is not just to do with the European government – but in government itself. Democracy is now down to how a handful of marginal seats will vote. Without traditional values giving a framework of morality and ‘right and wrong’ people only vote for self interest, and what will be best for them and their family. What we really believe  has become blurred.

Jesus said your heart is where you put your money. There is a battle for our hearts and the heart of the nation. Are we going to resort to entertaining ourselves or pretend that it’s business as usual?

At a recent North West Christian Business Forum we had a time of prayer and waiting on God. One person brought a word which he believed was from God, and which resonated with a good number of those present. “Something is coming – for which you cannot prepare – only learn to listen to Me.”

At a time of national social crisis and confusion about values and priorities the prophet Micah spoke a word of hope. He described a coming turning point: “There is coming a time for re-building the walls, for extending your boundaries.” God is always truthful about the state of the people, and always offers hope and a way forward.

Saint Paul described the three key values of the Christian faith: “Faith, Hope and Love.”

In the business world we would do well to rebuild the walls and extend our boundaries by promoting these values in the more everyday business world terms: “Trust, Confidence and Compassion.”

John Manwell is Co-Founder of The Forum ( and Liverpool businessman

This talk was a contribution to a daily prayer event in Liverpool Cathedral as part of the International Festival for Business #IFB2014