Journey of a Kingdom Entrepreneur
From building business for me to building for His purpose.
STIFLING THE POOR.
Walking through homes built from discarded metal with dirt floors the Director was excited about introducing to me the “business owners” and the impact of microfinance in Nicaragua. It was my senior year in college, and I was studying different types of business and economic development for a semester in Central America. There she was carrying a box full of odds and ends made of plastic, walking door-to-door, and stopping people on the street pedaling junk. I thought to myself, “How is this elevating her economic situation? How is selling this trash to the poorest of the poor helping and meeting her needs and the needs of her customers?” It wasn’t; and it angered me. It seemed that this business funded by a microloan from the developing world was furthering the oppression of poverty not improving lives.
Finishing my time there, I had a tug to get involved and improve what I saw as a broken system. But, I went home, graduated, and started my career in sales and marketing.
"Our God is too BIG and
too GOOD to not
Live Life LARGE."
- Stephen Reed
CALLED TO “DO MORE.”
About five years ago, my wife and I got the phone call we had been waiting years to get. There was a little girl, Chara, ready to be adopted, from Ethiopia. We fell in love. We finally had been matched with our long awaited for daughter. A daughter we had loved in our hearts years before she had ever been born. We printed out pictures of her and placed them in our home. We made a gift box to be sent to her that was filled with blankets, stuffed animals, and pictures of her new family. A few weeks later we learned that she had gotten sick and died from dehydration, an easily treatable condition, had she had access to basic medical care.
We were crushed.
So long had we waited for this child. So many years of prayers, sacrifice, and dealing with the emotional ups and downs of international adoption.
In the midst of this grief, I felt God say to me. “Do more.”
Up until that point I had been a “sender” giving money and resources to help missionaries and organizations make a difference in the world. My father had been in full time ministry and I knew the need for people like him, but I was sure I was not one of them. I had a strong propensity to business and excelled at marketing and sales. However, I knew that my knowledge and personal experience of ministry would be used to bridge the gap for those who were in business to those who were in ministry.
To “do more”, I took over a small non-profit with a friend of mine and focused on sustainable development projects in Haiti and Peru. But, over the years, I felt that this was still not enough.
THE CHALLENGE OF A DEAD MAN.
“Our God is too big, and too good, to not live life large.” These words were spoken by Stephen Reed, just days before his premature death at the age of 29. Stephen lived life large and made a big impact on everyone he met. Learning about Stephen and his life, these words cut me to the core. From the outside it appeared I was living life large. I was successful. I was making an impact. But, I knew where I was holding back.
Over the last five years, I have applied to ministry in a business capacity many times. Each time the doors were closed. It was like God was saying, “Not this. Not now.” Recently an opportunity with a mission organization was presented to me. As I looked at the details of the position I knew this time the door would be open. It was frightening. I dreaded answering this opportunity because I knew that now I would have to make the choice. Do I walk through to what I feel my purpose is, or do I stay and continue in business doing what I have proven I do very well? The current choice has created a great lifestyle for my family with amazing opportunities for travel, experiences, giving, and freedom. The new path would require sacrifice and stepping from the known into the unknown…
WE ARE CALLED TO BE MARTYRS – WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
Dick Brogden, a missionary committed to reaching the Muslim world, references three martyrdoms: Red, Green and White. He shared that the Red martyrs are those who die for Christ. The Green martyrs are those who interact with the world in their own culture to change it. The White martyrs are those who sail into the unknown waters to take the gospel to those not reached. He challenged his listeners to not send their cast offs, but to send their influencers. I knew when he spoke those words he was speaking to me. I knew that I would be called at some point in my life to go from Green to White.
So, here I am, about to move my family to another country. A country a few months ago I couldn’t pick out on a map. This country will be our home for the next two years as I will be instrumental in building economic stability through members of the church. And, as a result, help grow the body of Christ. I am still a business owner and entrepreneur. But, my calling has changed. I am to build businesses not to benefit me and my family, but to build the Kingdom of God. I am a Kingdom Entrepreneur.