If you’re a Christian working in business, or a young Christian interested in pursuing a career in business, what does it look like to use your God-given talents in this arena? What does it look like to serve others through business?
Today I’d like to share some stories that give a glimpse of how we can answer these questions.
In my previous post, I discussed the student organization Enactus and how its many projects represent the future of poverty alleviation. These projects also serve as a training ground for future business leaders.
I advise the Regent University Enactus chapter, and three of our major ongoing projects serve as illustrations of young Christians putting their faith into practice through business.
Our first project is what we call the pallet project. Regent is located in Virginia Beach, near the port city of Norfolk. Shipping pallets are everywhere. In many cases, these pallets are used a few times and discarded. Our Enactus team is taking the pallets and recycling them for other uses. Our goal is to create a viable small business, training and employing low-skilled workers who might one day take over the operation.
Another project is Promise Partners, an education project. It is a curriculum to teach entrepreneurship and free market economics to middle school and high school students. We began this project two-and-a-half years ago as a middle school curriculum. We were initially accepted into a local middle school and had some success with it.
We have since shifted our focus to the homeschool community. The short-term goal of this project is to educate high school students about business through classroom instruction and hands-on projects. At the end of this project, students will create a business or an event that they will have to organize, operate, and use to earn a profit.
The Regent Enactus team has a two-part project in Uganda. One part is our work with our African partner, the African Bible University, where we are assisting Christian African artists in gaining access to markets and retailers. Our lead contact is a local pastor of a church in Kampala who works with some of the local men and women to create artisan products, such as jewelry, shoes, and handbags. The income from these products presents a source of livelihood for the local families, and supports the ministry as a whole. We are researching the possibility of expanding their product line to include leather products. We are also looking into partnering with Karama, an organization that specializes in marketing African products.
The second part of our efforts in Uganda is a microfinance partnership with the Community at Heart ministry. Community at Heart was founded by a U.S. missionary and professor associated with African Bible University, who still runs the ministry. We are setting up a microfinance company in Uganda, which will finance boda boda drivers (taxi motorcyclists) at a lower cost than that offered by local moneylenders. We also train these men in financial management and present them with the gospel message through a training program associated with this effort.
While none of these projects are proven yet, these are the sorts of things that create long-term opportunity and wealth creation, helping people support themselves using their skills and gifts and allowing them to realize their God-given dignity. This is how business can be a long-term growth strategy for both individuals and societies.
Enactus is not an explicitly Christian organization, but it is consistent with the biblical ideas of what it means to flourish. We at Regent certainly give it a Christian flavor. We see this as an opportunity to put our faith and calling into action by showing people the dignity of work, helping them obtain it, and tapping into their God-given creativity to become entrepreneurs.
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