As he clicked through the milestones of success,however, Jeff felt a “sense of loss and emptiness” in his life. Then in 1997, at Lee Roy’s invitation, Jeff and Lisa went to a Young Life camp so they could learn more about the organization Cinemark supported financially. When they got to the camp, they were immediately struck by the sense of God’s love and compassion for the kids. Lisa had been a Christian since junior high, but Jeff didn’t begin a relationship with God until that weekend at the Young Life camp. He was 34 years old.
Lisa was “blown away,” he says, but also scared by where such a radical change in Jeff’s heart might take them. As it turned out, it took them to the Rocky Mountains, but only after Jeff and Lisa caught a vision for how his skills and experience in the world of finance could help meet the needs of millions of kids who are adrift like he was growing up. Jeff will tell you that his background has given him “an incredible amount of empathy for people that live in tragic situations and have dysfunctional families. You know, the kids that are lost but … may not know that God is going to be pursuing, protecting them and sending angels all along.” Now, as you may know, the theater business is all about “butts in seats.” The more seats that are full, the more money you make. Below the surface of that simple formula, however, there are complex financial systems that help make it work efficiently and profitably. Imagine taking the skills of the CFO of a large theater chain and using them to help a global organization change teens’ lives forever rather than just entertain folks for 90 minutes.