People often ask me questions like: “what is Christian entrepreneurship?” or “what does it mean to be a Christian entrepreneur?” A few years ago, God gave me clear direction as to my calling in life. He told me that my calling has three pillars: 1) be an entrepreneur, 2) disciple entrepreneurs, and 3) share the Father’s love with a hurting world. Once I received this profound direction from the Lord, I have since dedicated a big part of my life to mentoring and discipling Christian entrepreneurs and people who are interested in starting their own businesses. This article is my attempt to simplify and demystify what Christian entrepreneurship really is and what it truly means to be a Christian entrepreneur.
Simplifying Christian Entrepreneurship
First, it really is not that hard to define Christian entrepreneurship. But before I go through the effort of defining it, I think it is important to point out that the very notion of what Christian entrepreneurship is, as both a calling and a career, has been overly complicated for far too long. It does not need to be that hard to define, nor should it be complicated or difficult to understand. Humans were created by a loving God and the Creator of the universe. As the Bible states, we were created in God’s image. We have the characteristics of God the creator deposited in us at the moment of conception. As such we are called to create.
Entrepreneurs are creators. They create businesses, products, inventions, and innovations. Humans by nature are all entrepreneurially. We all grow up building things and creating things. So, it really shouldn’t be that difficult to define Christian entrepreneurship, but sadly it has become complicated and difficult for many believers to grasp. I think the complexity is due to the religiosity permeating throughout the church today. It is more comfortable in many regards for Christians to have explicit instructions and rules around what is and is not possible. This religious framework that gets in the way of the freedom that believers should be operating in. We have been set free, after all!
How about this for simplicity…
You were created in God’s image.
You have the power to create deposited inside of you by the Creator of the universe.
You can do whatever it is you want in life. You are not bound to a 9 to 5 job or some career path you do not enjoy.
If your life doesn’t look you want it to you can change that.
You can create the life you want to live.
You are free to create, build things, invent, and dream.
There are no rules or framework to how this works.
Be free and build something in life that you love.
When you think about life that simply, isn’t it liberating? Sadly, it is difficult for many believers to grab hold of the simplicity of life in this way. We’ve been conditioned to think about life in certain ways. But that’s not God’s design. God created us with passions, skills, gifts, desires, and abilities. It honors God when we use what He has given us to build things that bring glory to His name, change the world through innovations, and build things that expand His Kingdom.
Breaking Lies About Christian Entrepreneurship
There is one big lie about Christian entrepreneurship that I hear all the time, and that is this belief: “if I am a Christian starting a business, the business should be Christian in nature.” It is fine if the business you start is Christian in nature. That would certainly qualify you are a Christian entrepreneur and your business as a Christian business. But it does not have to be. You can still be a Christian entrepreneur, and bring glory to God, by building a business in the secular realm. In fact, I would argue that it is more important for Christian entrepreneurs to be focused on building businesses in the secular realm because this is the only way the Kingdom of God will expand in those areas of culture. Christian entrepreneurs need to take the lead and build the next Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Can you imagine how powerful it would be for the Kingdom if Christians were the leaders of these companies? How different the world would look today!
Two Ways to Think About Christian Entrepreneurship
I don’t like to reduce something as broad as entrepreneurship to any single way or formula for how it needs to look or how things should be done. There are no rules for entrepreneurship. You simply need to take your idea and go out and build a business. It’s that simple. Whatever your idea looks like, that is completely between you and God. Ask Holy Spirit for divinely inspired ideas! You just might come up with the next billion dollar company! Anything is possible. You just need to go for it.
Instead of offering rules or a formula you need to follow, I think it’s far more productive to offer you a couple ways for how you can think about Christian entrepreneurship. Let these ways bring revelation to you you as you think through your own entrepreneurially journey and what you are building in your life. Entrepreneurship is not binary, so there are many more ways to think about it, but let these guide you as you get started in your journey, or let them take you deeper if you are already a Christian entrepreneur.
You can be a Christian entrepreneur by building a business that is overtly Christian in nature. A great example of a business of this nature is PureFlix, which is the Christian equivalent to Netflix. It has films that are all Christian subject matter and faith-based. PureFlix was founded by David A.R. White and Russell Wolfe, two Christian entrepreneurs and businessmen, who saw the need for a video streaming service that had only Christian content. There is no mistaking that PureFlix is a Christian company. All of the content available on the platform delivers a Christian message, so it is pretty obvious.
You can be a Christian entrepreneur by building any kind of business you want. I’ll admit, this is a bit of a trick response to the question “what does it mean to be a Christian entrepreneur”, but it’s true. There are no limitations to what kind of business a Christian entrepreneur can build. It becomes a Christian company because the founder is a Christian. Sure, some businesses are best for Christians not to partake in (such as illicit activities, profane subject matter, etc), but most sound business ideas can and should be founded by Christian entrepreneurs. The more that Christian entrepreneurs take the lead in building businesses, the more the Kingdom of God will be reflected throughout culture. A great example of a business founded by a Christian entrepreneur family, that is not overtly Christian in nature, is Chick-fil-A. The company was founded by Christians, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance. They simply sell good quality chicken meals and fast food. But when you interact with their staff, experience the culture they’ve created, and see how they treat people as a company, it becomes very clear that this company is different. They clearly have God as a part of their business.
We need more #2 types of Christian entrepreneurs, people who build good businesses that all can enjoy, whose values reflect biblical principles and glorify God through their business practices. A company doesn’t always need to have a Christian product to be a “Christian business”.
Christian entrepreneurs need to take the lead and build the next Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Can you imagine how powerful it would be for the Kingdom if a Christian was the leader of one of those companies?