Since my wife and I have started our own businesses, the door for God’s prosperity has opened up as we both become Christian entrepreneur trailblazers. But…
When you examine any number of Christian “Proverbs 31” websites, books, sermons, or women conferences, you’ll find tons of content about a woman’s connectedness with God, herself, family, and others. But little is talked or discussed putting her talents toward commerce from God for herself and for others. Talk to women (single, married, divorced, or widowed) who run their own business, by choice or out of necessity, and what do women get in the church?
Add into this mix a woman struggling in her Christian business, let alone a single mother keeping her family from going homeless, and the church’s attitude of “you’re on your own” and what do you get?
Disconnectedness and abandonment.
I’ve been dismayed that there are so few open discussions, let alone any sort of encouragement, support, or sermons concerning women entrepreneurs or who are in business within the church on a regular basis. The sermon and article topics of “faith and work” is gaining ground, to a lesser degree you hear about “faith and entrepreneurship,” but the topic of “Christian women entrepreneurs or in business?” Mostly crickets.
This Christian cultural issue concerning women entrepreneurs runs as a deep and wide undercurrent within the church and various ministries. Women as entrepreneurs is Biblical, it should not be in a side room in the church with a few women by themselves. But we should fill up the whole church sanctuary with everyone discussing this issue, men and women crossing the gender aisle. In fact, a fellow Christian writer, veteran, and great friend, Beatrice Bruno the Drill Sergeant of Life, expressed to me earlier this year about her dilemma, herself, and her Biblical discoveries. She said, “I need to think of myself as a widow and not to be continually subsidized from my husband’s income.” Sadly, her husband died recently, and now as a widow, the full weight of her life’s situation is now “front and center.” Her missed opportunities have caused her to feel like she has to play catch up to where she should have been with her own business. Her message today, “Women, find out your God-given talents and earn and stand on your own two feet before you get married so you can be a true partner and interdependent in marriage.” But here’s a chance for the church to get on board and support woman’s opportunities to be in business in the marketplace.
Church culture at a commerce crossroads?
The reality in the church, and especially the marketplace, is there is a deep and wide need for Christian women in marketplace ministries. We need women who are entrepreneurs and in business. The Bible supports businesswomen, and it needs to be included in all discussions regarding marketplace ministries.
I asked the familiar question to a woman at our church function: “What do you do?” She came back, “Oh I’m a stay-at-home mother and wife, but I’m a foodie in my heart!” Catching the enthusiasm signal of her love of her God-given talents concerning food, I deep dived asking more detailed questions. Finally, I asked, “Why don’t you go into the catering business?”
Her once excited and effervescent commentary about all things concerning food turned 180 degrees, “Oh good gracious no, I could never do that!” She looked downward, shaking her head with a strong “NO!” movement. Her pushback is both similar and familiar among Christian women within the church I have come in contact with. To the Kingdom’s detriment. Any woman’s potential earthly good deeds to show the love of Jesus to others in the marketplace as a Christian entrepreneur or businesswoman have now become lost. It seems the church has buried or shoehorned women’s varied talents into the “appropriate and ‘helpmate’ roles” of what a Christian woman is supposed to be.
First, there is nothing wrong with any woman being a stay-at-home mother to her children and being a wife to her husband (versus the extreme negative stereotype of being “barefoot and pregnant”). Second, this article is not an attempt for women to compete with men in the marketplace (versus the extreme of turning women into Christian feminists and forgoing or abandoning their roles in life). What is being attempted here is to create a discussion point for both men and women to engage women to fulfill all that God has for them and ask a tough and personal question.
When a woman meets Jesus face-to-face, how will she answer His question, “What did you do with all of the talents I gave you for your assignment in furthering the Kingdom of God?” And when He asks her spouse, family and others, “Did you quench (1 Thess 5:19) and grieve (Eph 4:30) the Holy Spirit in your wife/daughter/sister concerning using the talents I gave in the marketplace?” These questions and criticisms are to spark discussions and to take actions, not condemnations.
Much like the parable of the talents, Jesus told of one slave who hid his one, 200 lb talent currency of gold worth about $3.8 million in today’s dollars. He buried it and was chastised for being “unenterprising” and not putting it to use. How many Christian women with God-given multimillion dollars worth of talents, consciously or unconsciously, bury their God-given talents?
So ladies, see now that God has given you permission to be loosed into the marketplace!