Sunday, September 18, 2011

Young (and Less Young) Entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur is defined by Wikipedia as "the owner of manager of a business who makes money through risk and initiative". The spirit of entrepreneurship is something which God wants to release in the church, and something which is often sadly lacking.

We see this most clearly in "The Parable of the Talents", or as the new version of the NIV calls it, "The Parable of the Bags of Gold". I like that change! In this story one person gets five bags of gold, one two and one a single bag. The person who gets five bags goes out and earns another five, the person with two also doubles what they started with, but the person with one buries his bag of gold in the ground and produces nothing extra.

Jesus analysis of the three people is very interesting. The first two, the entrepreneurs, those willing to take a risk with what they had been given, get to share in the masters happiness. They get into the inner circle. But the person who chooses to "play it safe" is described as being wicked and lazy, their bag of gold gets given to the person with ten and they're excluded from the masters presence.

So often we choose to focus on sins of commission, the things we do which we shouldn't have done. Godliness gets defined as a long list of things we are to avoid doing. Yet Jesus often chooses to focus instead on the sins of omission, the things we should have done which we haven't. That's certainly true in this parable.

So in Kerith we want to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship.

That starts with what we do as a church. We want to be a risk taking community. Taking on people and projects which unless God steps in will fail, but if God does break in will produce incredible fruit. Think of one of my favourite Bible stories, Jonathan and his armour bearer going off to fight the Philistines on the strength of "perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf". Things like Life, Serenje and our Ten10 Sundays would represent some of those risks.

But we also want to promote entrepreneurs operating outside what might normally be thought of as being the church. As Adrian Holloway reminded us when he spoke on work, there isn't a secular / sacred divide, in God's eyes, instead everything is spiritual. To that extent I've been excited to see what Harry Wade, one of our young adults, has been doing. He's set up a company, Metro-Man, selling men's cosmetic and skincare products. It's been up and running for a month or so now, and is already getting orders from all around the world. Now I realise that men's grooming products may not be for everyone, I've personally never been big on moisturising or exfoliating (I'm not even sure what exfoliating is), although that may be about to change as my children bought me some of Harry's products for my birthday! But I want to fully support Harry, and others in our community of all ages and with all sorts of ideas, who are willing to step out and take a risk. Jesus stands on the sidelines applauding them, and we should too.

Will Metro-Man be a success? I certainly hope so. But even if it isn't, I know that Harry will have learnt much from the experience, will have inspired others to step out and take risks too, and will be in a better position to attempt even bigger things for God. If you do want to support Harry in what he is doing, why not take a look at his excellent website, you can even get a 10% discount on anything you buy using the discount code MM92. 

Release the entrepreneur within you!


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