- Becoming a Christian business leader.
- Communicating your vision.
- Serving with integrity.
- Practicing Christian ethics.
- Understanding the entrepreneurial spirit and the Holy Spirit.
You’ve probably heard the word before and have some idea of what it means, but what is entrepreneurship really? And how does understanding it help you start a Christian business?*
A simple definition of entrepreneurship is “the act of creating a business or businesses while building and scaling it to generate a profit.” How to do that is something you learn in a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
But why is it essential to consult the Bible if you’re going to be successful in business?
In Clarks Summit University’s BSBA program, we guide students like you in exploring how your faith and entrepreneurial spirit interact as you seek to start a business. Your classes will cover these five essential principles and more.
1. Becoming a Christian business leader.
One of the most defining characteristics of a Christian business leader is humility. The example of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his disciples continues to be a striking reminder of this.
“The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.” – Henri Nouwen
The Gospels recount the evening before Jesus was about to fulfill His ultimate purpose—to be arrested, crucified and resurrected to save us from our sins. He did not stand to deliver a grand speech.
Instead, He knelt down. He led them from the lowest possible position as He washed their dirty feet with His own hands and told them to do likewise for one another. (John 13:1-17)
Jesus’ example stands in stark contrast to our modern culture. Leaders are supposed to have big egos. They are supposed to stand tall. To be greater, grander than the competition.
As an entrepreneur who strives to be like Jesus as you start, grow and lead a flourishing business, how will you lead as He did? How does the example of washing the feet of those who depend on you reflect the way you will operate in the business world? You’ll need to grapple with these questions and more.
2. Communicating your vision.
Any successful business needs an effective communicator to show the marketplace why the business offerings have value, and to whom. Some even use a word borrowed from religion – evangelism – to describe this.
“Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) believed that there are two types of laws in this world, those that are made by a higher authority and those that are made by men … We followed him – not for him but for ourselves. And, by the way, he gave the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, not the I have a plan speech.” – Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek, speaker and author of the influential book Start with Why, explains that the world’s most gifted leaders are good at communicating why they do what they do. They have the gift of connecting with their audience’s values.
The Apostle Paul was good at this, too. As he debated philosophers in Athens, he knew even if they didn’t understand what he was telling them, they valued the pursuit of knowledge. So, he made reference to an altar in Athens in honor of “the unknown god.”
“So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship,” he told them. “And this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:23) He then began to tell them about the real, biblical God.
An entrepreneur must understand why what he or she does is important and how it connects to what others value. The Bible will help you see how your vision looks in light of biblical values. And it will offer up some excellent examples of evangelism in action as well.
3. Serving with integrity.
The Bible counsels people to serve God and others joyfully and do what you say you’re going to do faithfully. This is another vital part of being a successful entrepreneur.
“I believe the bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives.” – John C. Maxwell
Jesus spelled this out clearly. When an expert in the law asked Him which is the greatest commandment, He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
When Christian leaders fail to lead with integrity, it is almost always because they have failed to follow these two commandments. A biblical foundation for you as an entrepreneur will help you remember to seek God for wisdom as well as the strength to follow through on your commitments.
4. Practicing Christian ethics.
Ethics is the study of morality most often applied to business. Christian ethics ground your business philosophy and plan in biblical principles.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis
The Bible should inform a Christian entrepreneur’s decision-making when it comes to issues such as:
- Making hiring and firing decisions as your business grows.
- Dealing with customers who fail to make timely payments.
- Negotiating with vendors who supply your business with goods and services.
When dealing in money matters and personnel issues it’s easy to make emotion-driven decisions.
Jesus’s parables often counsel finding some way to offer forgiveness in these situations. In one, after a master forgives his servant of his debts, the servant then goes and demands his debtor pay him all he owes. When the master finds out, he is furious, as God would be with us. (Matthew 18:21-35)
But are there times when it is best for everyone that someone is let go, or that you rightfully seek a lawsuit, etc.? Yes. The key you will learn in a Christian ethics program is to seek the heart and the Word of God as you make these tough decisions.
5. Understanding the entrepreneurial spirit and the Holy Spirit.
Finally, understanding how your drive and the Holy Spirit may or may not be leading in you the same direction is also essential. As a Christian entrepreneur, you don’t want to be at cross-purposes with God.
“There is no use in running before you are sent; there is no use in attempting to do God’s work without God’s power. A man working without His unction, a man working without His anointing, a man working without the Holy Ghost upon him, is losing time after all.” – D.L. Moody
Luke wrote that Jesus gave His disciples this instruction for what to do after He ascended into heaven: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
Sure enough, the Spirit soon came at Pentecost. From that point forward, all lived in the “last days,” as we do now. In this age, you have the Holy Spirit as your guide in all your endeavors. That means that, as a Christian entrepreneur, you have an exciting opportunity to let God guide you into a business venture that will in some way serve His purposes.
It also means that your entrepreneurial spirit—that drive to accomplish something that is your own creation—may sometimes carry you toward something that is yours and not God’s. But don’t fear this! A biblical foundation for your entrepreneurial journey will help you balance this inevitable conflict between your will and God’s. It will help you continue to realign yourself to His great plan.
WHAT IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP – IN CHRISTIAN BUSINESS?
Learning about these five essential principles is only the first step in answering that question. You’ll find that you will need to revisit them time and again throughout your career.
Your ability to grapple with the tough questions starts with the strong biblical foundation you get from a BSBA program like ours here at CSU. At CSU, we understand that your life is your ministry. That means you’ll serve God well by being an excellent entrepreneur.
Contact us now to discover why getting your BSBA from Clarks Summit University is the best way to unlock your potential as an entrepreneur, and the best step to take before starting a Christian business.
Published July 10, 2019 in CSU Christian College Blog