An Entrepreneur on Mission

Anthony Barton

Ten years ago, Anthony Barton was asked a question at a business conference that changed the trajectory of his life: “Are you leaving your family a gift or a legacy?”

Barton is an entrepreneur from Southern California who built a multi-million-dollar cleaning services company from the ground up. As a Christian, he has always had a desire to integrate faith and business. But this question about legacy left him wondering how he could do more with the resources God had given him.

“I asked my children how we might serve the least of these from Matthew 25:40 and my daughter said, ‘Dad, we should go to places other people don’t want to go, to the destitute orphans,’” explains Barton.

Three months later, he and his entire family were on a plane to Swaziland to serve with a non-profit organization called Children’s Hope Chest. That initial trip to Africa opened his eyes to the ways he could use his resources as a business leader to serve the kingdom worldwide. He now travels overseas frequently and provides the capital to fund nearly a dozen projects a year on the African continent. In addition to funding projects, he connects other Christian business leaders to individual missionaries and nonprofits in his network.

A lot of non-profits connect with people of affluence, but God gives us something greater than affluence, and that’s influence.

“The data says that 12.5 percent of the world lives in extreme poverty,” says Barton. “There is something wrong with that. I want to help bridge the gap between business leaders and the marginalized, widows, and orphans.”

Barton sits on the board of two non-profits and is a member of Convene, a group of Christian business leaders who encourage one another to honor God with their resources. He is also a student at Western Seminary, studying in the MA of Global Leadership program.

Studying at Western was the perfect next step for him as he seeks to make a greater impact for Christ around the world.

“Seminary has exceeded my expectations,” he says. “To be able to go deep into God’s Word impacts how we conduct our lives, how I raise my family, and how I run a multimillion- dollar business.”

Because of his schedule, Barton has taken advantage of Threshold, a four-day intensive offered on the Portland campus each semester. The in-person classroom experience allows him to connect with students and professors amid a busy schedule.

Anthony Barton

“It is so easy in life to be like a strobe light, but Threshold is so good because it is like a laser beam.”

Being on campus each semester has also given him a chance to make connections between the Western community and his business network. He recently formed a friendship with a Western grad at Threshold who was preparing to serve with Frontiers missions.

“A successful Christian farmer reached out to me because he was doing well and wanted to share Jesus, but was also busy running his company,” says Barton. “He wanted to reach out to Muslims and I was able to connect him with this grad.”

These two men have now formed a partnership to reach out to farmers on the borders of Sierra Leone.

Barton points out that his work is not simply about raising money. It’s about getting leaders to think through how they might use all the resources God has given them to advance the Kingdom.

“A lot of non-profits connect with people of affluence,” he acknowledges. “But God gives us something greater than affluence, and that’s influence. I bring leaders on trips to get them involved, rather than just having them write checks.”

Anthony is a student in Western’s MA in Global Leadership program.