Brandon Cox on How Christian Entrepreneurs Are Going to Change the World

Christian entrepreneurs are going to change the world.

In Christian church history, there have been periods of time when the church has really created a strict dividing line between clergy and laity; that is, between professional priests, pastors and ministers versus all of the “ordinary” members who are not called to a particular church office. I hope that we lose that because every Christian is a servant, a minister.

Some people are called to lead the church in a vocational capacity, but all of us are called to expand God’s kingdom together and all of us are ministers in the workplace.

We serve other people wherever we go, not just at church on Sunday.

We also shouldn’t compartmentalize our faith. Most of us believe that we go to school for our education, to work for our money, and to church for our religion. But faith doesn’t work that way. It affects everything. When I submit my life to Jesus as King, he takes over as King of everything. So you need to live an integrated, whole life.

This issue matters deeply to me, and it’s highly relevant, because God has put people in all kinds of positions of influence within society. In fact, he positions each and every one of us where we are to impact other people. He didn’t ask any of us to be an island unto ourselves, or to not have influence, or to not affect the world or the culture around us. I don’t believe he called us to isolate and withdraw and live life behind a wall and barricade ourselves off from the non-Christian world around us.

Personally, I feel strongly led to support and serve people in two particular positions of influence: pastors and entrepreneurs.

More pastors need to think in entrepreneurial ways.

I highly respect those who subscribe to the school of thought that there should be nothing professional about Christian ministry. I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve read John Piper’s book Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. It’s a great book. It reminds us that we’re not just here to analyze markets and produce numbers. I completely agree.

I also believe, however, that entrepreneurship is essentially a matter of being creative, and we can reflect the glory of God when we get creative.

Pastors need to ask themselves entrepreneurial questions, like:

  • Am I thinking outside of my comfort zone and what’s familiar?
  • Am I willing to venture into new territory, take risks, try new things, get creative?
  • Am I willing to adapt my communication styles to the culture around me?

I also believe that Christian entrepreneurs who are not working in the “church” space should think more ministerially. If you’re successful in business, if you lead people, if you start things, if you earn money, if you influence your community or your culture in the business world, then you ought to be seeking ways to serve other people and to share your faith with people in loving ways.

In the New Testament, we see Paul talking about being a tentmaker—being bivocational. We think of bivocationalism today as a necessary evil—something some pastors have to do because their churches are too small to pay them a full-time salary. Certainly there are those cases, and thank God for the men and women willing to serve in that role!

But I think we should begin to make room for a kind of bivocationism where we encourage pastors and church leaders to be entrepreneurial and to filter into the marketplace alongside everyone else in creative ways, while still faithfully remaining committed to church leadership as a primary calling.

This matters because society’s foundations tend to rest on seven major pillars, and the church is only one of them. Like dominoes, if you can move these seven pillars of society, then you can move society in a new direction.

The seven pillars of society are:

  1. Government and politics
  2. Media—the Internet, news, television, etc.
  3. Arts and entertainment
  4. Business and marketplace
  5. Education, both primary and secondary
  6. Religion—the church and other houses of worship
  7. Family

The idea is  that if we can influence several of those pillars—government, media, arts, business, education, religion and family—then we can tip all of society in a certain direction.

We think about ministry as taking place within the church, but that’s just one pillar, and it leaves the other six out. We need to be thinking about ministry as being spread across all areas of life.

God’s Kingdom is very subversive. Ed Stetzer wrote a book some years back called Subversive Kingdom. I would pair it right with Scot McKnight’s book, The King Jesus Gospel. Those two books really frame well my own viewpoints of what the Kingdom is.

The Kingdom of God is not of this world. It’s not one of the seven pillars. Religion is humanly established. It’s organized. It’s regulated. There are rituals or things that we manage from a human perspective, but God’s Kingdom, the Bible says, is within you. It’s invisible. It’s basically the rule and reign of Jesus. Not everybody that says, “I follow Jesus” is part of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God operates on different principles than the kingdoms of the world around us. The Kingdom of God operates in the principle of purposeful, willing servitude toward other people. The subversive Kingdom is the idea that God’s Kingdom does not come in and dominate people, or culture, or any of those seven pillars of society. Rather, the Kingdom of God subversively springs up here and there within those different realms.

God has called us to move as agents of his Kingdom and serve and influence the marketplace.

The church tends to lag behind. Whatever the world around us creates, we recreate 15 years later and 85 percent as well. You see this in Christian film. You see it in Christian entertainment. We often give a free pass to very poor quality because we figure, “Well, this is the Christian version. It’s not supposed to be as good.” We just lag behind, and we wait for the marketplace to tell us what to do.

We need Christians to step into a leadership role—not a domineering leadership role, but instead as servants who contribute to the flourishing of humanity.

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Source: Church Leaders