When asked to describe how his personal mission and values differ from the mission and values of his organization, Mike Farag is at a loss. The CEO & Chief Strategy Officer at Fervor Marketing has been blessed to start a business whose purpose aligns with his calling.
“Our mission is my mission,” Mike shares. “I want to make a difference, and we do that for our clients. All I want is to pour into those doing kingdom work on the front lines – and not just the leaders and organizations, but families too, connecting people and giving guidance, and encouraging these incredible people to be their best selves. When faith-based leaders and organizations grow, we all grow.”
What’s the story?
Fervor Marketing is a marketing agency for faith-led nonprofits and businesses, providing strategic communications to create the most good possible. Mike is passionate about serving brands at the intersection of faith and business and supporting and increasing the impact of those organizations he believes to be world-changing.
Mike spent years marketing and selling wireless, cable, and software for names like Cox and Sprint, and initially, he felt like he had won the corporate lottery. He was climbing the ladder fast and firmly believed that the time and energy were worth the payoff of money and title. “I thought I had the world figured out,” Mike says. “But I lost my first marriage to that pursuit, and that’s part of what drove me to get serious about my faith that I had abandoned for a long time.”
Along with diving into what he calls “the faith version of diet and exercise” – the simple, impactful practices of reading the Bible, praying, and journaling – Mike quit his job without knowing what his next steps would be. He got his passport, and he was soon headed out on his first mission trip to Haiti with the Global Orphan Project. The experience changed his life in two unexpected ways. First, he fell in love with the Global Orphan Project's work and felt compelled to help them improve their communications. Second, on a subsequent trip to Haiti, he met his wife Kim, his lifelong travel and outdoor-adventure partner and the mother of his four children.
“The organization was so great,” Mike remembers, “but their website, their name at the time, their logo and emails, everything, were just not communicating that. I was trained in that area and knew I could help. This problem often exists in faith-based organizations: they don’t want to be too proud. They know they need to be humble, and they interpret that to mean they shouldn’t market themselves too well. But these are the people who need that internal goodness to shine through to the rest of the world.”
Mike started into the work thinking it would be a one-time project, but it quickly became his career. The mission sucked him in, and he’s never looked back.
What exciting new things are happening for Mike?
Fervor Marketing (and Mike himself) are based out of Kansas City, and the organization moved into a new office space just this year. “We’ve been adding new team members and seeing fun movement in the core business recently,” Mike says. On top of that, Mike shares that he and his wife just started a brand-new business, which is complementary to and based in the same building as Fervor: The Bonhoeffer, a space for strategic meetings. (Acumen’s upcoming Kansas City Connection Happy Hour will be hosted in the space!)
Where does Acumen come in?
Mike has been a partner at Acumen for about five years and has one key takeaway for new partners or people considering joining: give it time.
“The magic of the group is that once it really gels, it becomes very impactful,” Mike says. “I reached the end of my first year, and I loved it, but I figured I had gotten what I needed and was done. Dan Cooper encouraged me to give it three more months, and somehow, somewhere just past that first-year mark, we started to see the fruit of what had been planted.”
For Mike, the time with his group during monthly council sessions has proved invaluable.
“You have to get to know each other well enough to really garner useful feedback and reap the program’s main value. It’s been incredible having people hold me accountable and give me perspectives from their experiences. It has helped me avoid major issues and solve hard problems… Every day as a leader, you’re plowing a new road, and it’s hard to do that when you think you’re alone.”
July 13, 2023