Claudine Reid MBE writes how the Church can play a role in societal transformation by building an entrepreneurial culture
Wisdom is for shelter, as money is a shelter’ (Ecclesiastes 7:12, NIV).
‘Small firms are the backbone of the British economy’, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (November 2019 press release). In 2019, there were an estimated 5.9 million UK private sector businesses, and of these, 1.4 million had employees; 4.5 million had no employees, and 2.6 million were registered for VAT or PAYE.
It is my deep conviction that businesses that function in alignment with the core values of the Kingdom of God are playing an important role in holistic transformation of individuals, communities and societies. It is against this backdrop that I believe the vehicle of entrepreneurship should be promoted as being a viable option for economic sustainability. Michael R Baer, author of ‘Business as Mission’, suggests we are living in a business age. This could be interpreted to mean that companies, not countries, will have the greatest impact in our world in the future, and I believe Christian business owners should be well placed to play a role in societal transformation.
In 2018, the Pentecostal Credit Union ran a pilot business development programme, designed to support budding entrepreneurs on their journey towards building sustainable businesses. The programme modelled good practice, and culminated in a showcase ‘Solomon’s Room’ event, where successful and well-established entrepreneurs were able to give sound credible advice to budding entrepreneurs in front of a packed room – just to add to the pressure.
A study conducted by Nwankwo et al*, concluded that African Pentecostal churches have become a ‘significant force in nurturing business start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurship’. Social capital generated within the church has a ‘catalytic effect on entrepreneurial propensities’.
The challenge given by the CEO of the Pentecostal Credit Union, with which I concur, is to encourage church leaders to:
1) educate, support, nurture and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit across membership, by showcasing models of good practice, and using this to demonstrate the importance of business on both a macro and micro level.
2) act strategically. Declare their intentions and develop a plan by working with new and existing entrepreneurs to embed the culture of entrepreneurship in the church DNA, in order that supporting job creation and economic sustainability becomes just as important as the auxiliary departments within the church.
3) publicise details of the plan, and involve and bring the church along with you. This will demonstrate a deep commitment to raising the entrepreneurial spirit within the congregation.
4) develop structures and groups that are outward-facing and have minimal ecclesiastical requirement, but ones that nurture community leadership and influence.
5) support people to overcome the challenges that the business-as-mission conversation may present.
In his closing speech, the CEO said raising the spirit of entrepreneurship will not only increase the economic health of your church, but it will reinvigorate and re-energise your ministries.
As an entrepreneur with over 25 years’ experience of running a business, I have seen first hand the impact of the entrepreneurial nature in my approach to ministry and Kingdom business. I would encourage church leaders to explore the same.
For more information visit www.claudinereid.com
(* ‘Religion, Spirituality and Entrepreneurship’, Society and Business Review, Jan 2012)