Entrepreneur: A Missional Calling?

entrepreneur

By: AJ LEON
How can God use the spirit of an entrepreneur for his own purposes and glory?

Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that inspiration comes when and where it’s least expected.  This week it was in the waiting room of the local GM dealership.  My car had a part recalled and it needed to be replaced before I could renew my state registration.  So, naturally enough, I brought something to read.

That something was Sacrilege by Hugh Halter.  It’s a great book!  It’s a fresh look at Jesus and a clarion call for followers of Jesus to live like Jesus did.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I finished a couple of chapters and was scared that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish a third.  So I grabbed the first non-car, non-fashion magazine that I could find – Entrepreneur Magazine from January of 2014 to be exact.  After flipping around a bit, I stumbled across an article that caught my attention called “Do You Have What It Takes?” by Joe Robinson.  In the article there are seven traits listed that are said to be possessed by the best entrepreneurs.

Seven Traits of an Entrepreneur

  1. Tenacity — “You have to be able to live with uncertainty and push through a crucible of obstacles for years on end” (48).
  2. Passion — “It’s commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money.  But most will tell you they are fueled by a passion for their product or service, by the opportunity to solve a problem and make life easier, better, cheaper” (48).
  3. Tolerance of Ambiguity — “This classic trait is the definition of risk-taking – the ability to withstand the fear of uncertainty and potential failure” (48).
  4. Vision – “[T]he ability to spot an opportunity and imagine something where others haven’t” (49).
  5. Self-Belief — “You have to be crazy-sure your product is something the world needs and that you can deliver…” (49).
  6. Flexibility — “Business survival, like that of the species, depends on adaptation” (49).
  7. Rule-Breaking — “Entrepreneurs exist to defy conventional wisdom” (49).

What Does This Have to Do with Following Jesus?

If you’re like me, then you may have felt that some, most, or all of those characteristics describe you!  If so, great!  God may have something exciting in store for you.  But, as almost any entrepreneur will tell you, it’s going to be tough from the beginning.

Maybe the phrase in the article that stood out the most to me was “a crucible of obstacles.”  Starting something new for the sake of the Gospel is going to be difficult.  There will be resistance from lots of folks, including other followers of Jesus.  But if God is calling you to do something, then go for it!

So if this list does describe you, what kind of role might you have in God’s mission in the world?  Ephesians 4.10 lists some roles that folks in the church can fill.  I don’t think this list is complete but it is helpful to those of us who might be thinking what we should be doing for the sake of God’s kingdom.  The roles listed are apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher.

For a long time now the Evangelical church in America has celebrated the last two on that list: pastors and teachers.  This makes sense in the attractional church model.  But with America increasingly becoming more and more like a mission field full of people in need of a fresh encounter with the Gospel, the focus on pastors and teachers needs to change!

Therefore, those of you who identify with the seven qualities listed above might fall into the role of an apostle (one who is sent out by God to do trailblazing work), a prophet (one who speaks God’s truth to whomever, no matter the consequences), or an evangelist (one who has a heart that beats for those who do not know Jesus yet).

And maybe God is calling you to put the skills of the entrepreneur that you possess to work for the kingdom instead of for your bank account, suburban security, or 401k!  Only God knows, so ask him.  And when he answers, obey!

What do you think?  Do you have the traits of an entrepreneur?  How might God use you?  Let me know in the comments below?

  • Eric

    This thought surprised me: “It’s commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money. But most will tell you they are fueled by a passion for their product or service, by the opportunity to solve a problem and make life easier, better, cheaper.”

    • http://jaymatthewbarnes.com/ J. Matthew Barnes

      It was surprising to me too! It also makes me wonder if there’s any survey data to back it up…

      • Eric

        Yeah, me too.