I attended the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) conference over the weekend of June 13-15, 2019, to seek out homeschooling content about entrepreneurship. As I have mentioned in previous articles, good Biblically-based entrepreneurial content is lacking. My research showed there is a surplus of secular content about business and entrepreneurship, but the Christian content is slowly getting better.
Yes, there is greater interest in entrepreneurship and startups because of TV shows like ABC’s show Shark Tank, which is in its tenth season. The Christian community is starting to notice and wake up to this need. In fact, the first business school was established in 1881 and is now the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Then the Masters of Business Administration by Harvard was created in 1908 as our economy grew from small companies to more giant corporations. Yes, there are similarities between corporations, business ownership, and entrepreneurship, but there are also significant differences, too. Then bring the Bible into the discussions, and you get…“What?!” Teaching MBA content to entrepreneurs is like bringing a backhoe to your home garden when a spade is needed. Entrepreneurship requires different content.
The CHEC conference had over 1,000+ attendees, over 100+ exhibitors, over 100+ workshops laying a foundation for Christ in all aspects of discipleship and education. But I was a hound dog sniffing out any whiff of niche Christian entrepreneurship and related content. Here is a summary of what I found.
The scarcity of good Biblical business/entrepreneurial content is the same in both the homeschooling market and the church.
What does this mean? These are what I call, OFIs, Opportunities For Improvements. Whatever the issues hindering the Biblical view of wealth creation are, the Christian community has a lot of work to do with what the Bible says about our calling, money, entrepreneurship, and the marketplace. I discussed entrepreneurship with some vendor representatives, and I asked if they knew what the Bible said about the tenth commandment for business. Like most of us, including myself at one time, they quoted, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife….” and then their words tapered off. But then a young lady with them finished the commandment correctly stating, “or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” WOW!! I gave the young teenager a high five. We adults barely know the 10 Commandments, let alone the other 2,000+ verses concerning money and the marketplace. If we don’t know what the Bible says it, then how can we practice it?
While all of the vendors I talked with were eager to serve and help me find entrepreneur content (I kept coming back to, “There’s lots of character building, but where’s the wealth building?” Where we’re told, “faith without works is useless.”). One vendor, when asked about teaching entrepreneurship, showed me their one curriculum book about Adam Smith’s book, “Wealth of Nations.” This was Smith’s second book and discussed economics, but their curriculum missed the foundational economic content within his first book, “Theory of Moral Sentiments,” which is the ethics of economics. Few understand this about Smith’s books. It’s the same issue I have when discussing business without any reference to the Bible, or vice versa.
The Biblical standard is ethics + economics, morals + marketplace. We all love to talk and sermonize all the time about the three-year ministry of Jesus. But when confronted with two facts, that 80% of the parables of Jesus were business topics, AND, Jesus apprenticed from age 12 to 20 and then successfully and profitably ran a “general contracting business until age 30, or about 18 years…and without sin, this large content gap about Biblical business and entrepreneurship becomes apparent.
Another vendor had a “Lemonade Stand” content for kids, but it was not about entrepreneurship, but business and followed old business content of years ago. The vendor Lamplighter brings decades-old books back into print. Their books touch on both character building and some even introduce entrepreneurial concepts. But like any business, to better promote entrepreneurship, they need to market these business and entrepreneurial influential books better. The secular startup community is “leaps and bounds,” as one homeschooler I talked with put it, ahead of homeschooling Christian entrepreneurship content.
There was some entrepreneurial light. One book among hundreds, “One With Everything: Anatomy of a Hot Dog Stand and Other Great Family Businesses You Can Start” was by Mike Cheney and with many other authors. The Apprenticeship, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship program (AME) is a ministry partner with CHEC. Their AME program tells you what you can do by getting into business, but missed the essential starting point of what you’re called to do. Once you have moved past this point, it provides beneficial business content. Here is the missed overview connection that the church loses.
Our God-given talents determine our calling, our calling determines our career, our career determines who we serve in the marketplace.
But one up-and-coming vendor who offered the shiniest light and best Biblical content was Doug Owens of “Pathway Solutions: Practical Applications About Managing Money Through Biblical Principles for a Lifetime of Financial Security.” They’re devoted to providing numeracy and financial literacy for Christian families. In our discussions, we both agreed that Christian content providers lack displayed Biblical anchors, where appropriate, to their content. This weakens, dilutes, or depreciates the source of their content: God Himself.
When I talked with my grandfather about going to school, he mentioned that they read the Bible every day in school. You got both your reading and moral lessons at the same time. The same can be true with homeschooling content. Every homeschooling school subject taught is used by entrepreneurs and businesses, then add in ethical Biblical business principles…winner, winner, chicken dinner. Biblical business principles positively impact both one’s personal and professional life.
When talking about my change in focus with a millionaire businessman from a job to Biblical wealth creation mindset and the lack of these insights from my parent, he said it correctly, “They didn’t know any better!”
If you don’t think entrepreneurship can impact God’s Kingdom, the white paper, Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done… In Business Biblical Foundations for Business as Mission, shows what can happen when Godly habits are on display in our businesses in the marketplace.
…Russell (2010) studied BAM [Business As Mission] extensively and found that what he called “blessers” (which fit the faithful presence model) had a much better rate of salvations than what he called “converters" (which focus on evangelization alone). The results were startling with a ratio of 48:1 for the “blessers.”
The “blessers,” businessmen and women, account for leading 48 people to Christ in “business mission fields” around the globe to only one by specific missionary activity, i.e., a 48:1 ratio of Christians in business to the clergy.
God has not called us to be consumers, He’s called us to be producers. CHEC has done a great job with a foundation message from a Christ-centered point of view, but character building content needs to be translated into wealth building content, or our “faith without works is useless” (Jam 2:20).
What does entrepreneurship look like? I recently attended a luncheon where the five-time serial entrepreneurial CPA was able to get a $9 MILLION company’s books and finances in order so they increased their business to $12 MILLION, but more importantly, they were able to TRIPLE their giving for the kingdom.
Mat 25:23 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
God promotes those who are successful with what He has given them. Do you want to get promoted by God? Let’s have coffee and take action.
 Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done… In Business Biblical Foundations for Business as Mission, pg 16