What do you do if you have a mind for business and a heart for ministry? Do you pursue business and feel guilty for the rest of your life that you didn’t “go into ministry?” Or do you go into ministry and wonder every day if should have pursued business instead?
I struggled with this question for years, and was glad to find a group of people called to “business as mission” or “business as ministry.”
On my about page, I talk about my struggle of being called to full-time ministry but also feeling a call to entrepreneurship.It all came to a head in 2005 when I had completed my requirements for ordination and was about to stand before my ordination council.
I couldn’t divorce the calling I felt toward church-based ministry from the calling I felt toward entrepreneurship. Was I to give up one in favor of the other? Or could God somehow use both in my life?
I eventually found a peace in my heart that I could find a way to do both. And I discovered a growing movement of people pursuing business as their mission, and ministry leaders who develop businesses as a way to self-fund their ministry.
Marketplace Revolution – Business as Mission Conference
Partners Worldwide is one business as mission group that I’m most familiar with, because their office is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I live, and a couple of my friends and acquaintances have worked for them over the years.
Last week I attended a Business as Mission conference called Marketplace Revolution, hosted by Partners Worldwide and held at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago.
Marketplace Revolution really blessed me as I met some great people and heard some amazing stories from around the world of people whose lives and communities have begun to change thanks to kingdom-minded business development which has provided new jobs and opportunities for people.
I’ve worked in the church and in nonprofit organizations for twenty years, and I’ve discovered that there is no end to charity. Once a charitable program is created, it will always need charitable giving to sustain it. Unless you add some kind of self-funding mechanism to it so it becomes self-sustaining.
I’m inspired by entrepreneurs who fulfill a kingdom purpose by building businesses that make a profit while providing opportunities for people living at the margins of society, and by ministry-minded people who work to change their community and world world through enterprise instead of charity.
I’m not sure what it looks like yet, but I’m praying about how God can use me and my entrepreneurial desires to start Business as Mission enterprises businesses in the community where I live, and in a few Native American communities on reservations where there are few jobs or opportunities.
Have you heard much about the concepts of “Business as Mission” or social enterprises? If so, what inspires you most about them?
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