Listen to Richard Brindley humbly share about his life and you will quickly discern a common thread woven through it all: mission.
It wasn’t always about mission, he’ll admit, but all that would change when a friend introduced him to Christ during his junior year at college.
Richard grew up in Sugar Land, Texas (southwest of Houston), with his parents and younger brother. His “normal American middle-class childhood,” as he describes it, included family vacations spent scuba diving, and visiting national parks.
In high school his life revolved around marching band, and he dreamed of becoming a band director. This ambition motivated him to apply at the College of North Texas for their top-notch music program. It was there, two years into earning his education degree, that his life changed.
“A friend shared the gospel with me and I thought—why wouldn’t I want that?” Richard shares. “I knew little about Christianity, and nothing of the Bible. I couldn’t tell you David and Goliath. But, I knew I wanted Jesus.”
Excitement to share his newfound faith fueled Richard to go on his very first mission trip, an event, he says, that marked him.
“Living a middle-class life isn’t extravagant, but it’s easy to be isolated from difficult realities in the world,” he explains. “That mission trip began to open my eyes. The people I met were compelling. God’s love for them and compassion for their situation was compelling. It felt like a call to action. In some ways it set the course for my Christian life.”
Richard soon graduated and took a job teaching band at a high school in Dallas. Wanting to make the most of the opportunity and invest in students even more, he began volunteering with Young Life, a Christian discipleship program.
“The students were fantastic: definitely the best part of my experience there. But, there was also a lot of brokenness [amongst the students]: definitely a need for the love of Jesus,” he remembers. “After I taught for a couple of years I came to the realization that I loved teaching [band], but I wanted to teach about Jesus more.”
So back to school he went—this time, seminary.
In that season – in the midst of classes and studying, pool cleaning, waiting tables, and teaching marching band part-time – that Richard’s understanding and heart for missions grew.
During the Libyan civil war, Richard took a trip to the Libyan border to serve refugees, an experience he describes as “heartbreaking.”
“The conditions were extremely difficult. But we had the joy of befriending some of the refugees in camp. The more I got to know them, the more I realized they’re just like me.
At one point, we asked, ‘What did you guys do before the war – before you came here?’ One was a chef, one was a banker, one was an x-ray technician, one was an oil engineer. That struck me. My dad is an oil engineer. I thought, if something happens in the United States and I flee—this is me.
It was a huge shift of thinking about what a refugee was and what they go through. You really can’t get it textbook. It’s when you sit down with them over chai tea and hear their dreams of making a decent life for themselves and their families that you realize, we’re the same.”
He returned back home to Dallas, graduated from seminary and married the love of his life, Erin. It was at their wedding rehearsal, he shares, that he was offered the job of Missions Minister at their local church. Shortly after taking the position, his eyes were opened to the idea of business as mission.
“Along the way I started realizing that a lot of people were looking at businesses as an opportunity to be a missionary in a foreign country. The more we studied and learned about the many ways social entrepreneurship can help people, the more I thought, we should be doing this in our own city.”
His city, Dallas has become known over the past decade for its growing and vibrant refugee community. In 2016 alone, Dallas resettled more than 4,000 refugees—the highest of any U.S. city. The abundance of jobs, affordable housing, and welcoming community have made it a popular hub for these new arrivals.
But Richard recognized a problem—many refugees were still working minimum wage jobs several years after being resettled. At the same time, many businesses were saying that they couldn’t grow simply for lack of enough reliable employees.
“All things converged,” he leans in and continues. “Business as a mission; refugees; the economy in Dallas. On their own, chronically underemployed refugees and businesses starving for workers are two individual problems. But, bring them together, and it’s a solution. So, we thought what if we were to help refugees in the workforce?”
Richard met with a friend who was a businessman and the wheels began turning. They wrote a business plan, and even wrote a 100-page government grant.
But, for some reason, the government never awarded the grant to anyone.
“I thought maybe this isn’t what God has for me right now,” Richard shares.
Disappointed but not dismayed, he tucked away that dream and returned to the systems development business world. Not long after he received a curious email from a friend.
Intrigued, Richard did some research and ended up reaching out. He connected with Abby Davis, their Dallas Managing Director at the time.
“Basically my question was, ‘I love what you’re doing—how can I help you do more of what you’re doing?’”
Richard began to support Abby and the Amplio Dallas office as he was able. Some time later, Abby decided it was time to be more involved at home with her growing family. She announced that she was stepping back from her role and encouraged Richard to apply for her position as Managing Director.
“The invitation was compelling, but I also had great job with a great company,” Richard explains. “Yet, the more I got to know the hearts of the men leading Amplio, and the more I considered what was possible for local businesses and refugees, I thought why wouldn’t I do this?”
Richard met with Amplio president, Luke Keller, interviewed, and was offered the position.
“Richard has more experience internationally than any other Amplio team member, and it shows,” says Luke. “In addition to this experience, he has grit and determination to serve our clients with excellence.”
“When I look at Dallas Fort-Worth—when I consider the refugees, the economy, and a number of organizations at work—it feels like we’re approaching a positive tipping point of sorts, as if God is about to do something great in our metroplex,” Richard shares, excitedly. “And, it seems like God has prepared many of us operating in this space ‘for such a time as this.’”
“One of the things I look forward to, with Amplio, is asking how do we bring together the for-profit, the nonprofit, and the church. We have over 29,000 nonprofits in DFW—what would it look like to bring those people together?”
At Amplio, we are delighted to welcome Richard to the team and expectant for the impact he and the Refugee Workforce will make within the Dallas community. If you’re a local businessman or woman in need of dependability at your workplace, or looking to leverage your business for mission, Richard would love to connect with you to tell you more about our services, and the benefits of hiring refugees.