Raising Entrepreneurs: Part 1
- Thursday, August 26, 2010
Throughout life, our children will meet many opportunities—in education, in relationships, and in business. God recognizes growth by giving us greater opportunities, as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Ten Pounds. "And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come . . . Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well [done], thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:13, 16-17).
Knowing these principles of growth and stewardship, it has been important to me that my son learn how to be successful as a Christian businessman, and I have partnered with other homeschooling parents to teach entrepreneurship to our children. I currently enjoy serving as an executive in one of the 100 largest corporations in the country; however, it is through starting small businesses that God has given me real insight into the fundamental factors required of any business to be successful. Most importantly, in small business we have the opportunity to clearly and freely exercise obedience to God's revealed will for our lives as stewards of all that He has given us.
Our initial effort was to take a year to study the "Seven Disciplines of Biblical Business Success." In this class, we studied seven disciplines of business: strategy, innovation, marketing, serving customers, operations, finance, and leadership. In each area, we also studied a biblical quality required for success: humility, creativity, honesty, servanthood, excellence, stewardship, strength, and compassion. Along the way, we formed teams, and each team developed a business plan for an entrepreneurial idea, applying the lessons as they wrote. At the end of the class, each team presented their business plans.
Immediately following completion of the class, my son Kevin and I took our business plan for an Online Social Network for Christian Homeschooling Families and began to lay the foundation for executing the plan. This past fall, we recruited two other homeschool students to participate as interns, and we launched the initial version of Hschooler.net. Brian is responsible for product development, Austin manages marketing, and Kevin manages revenue generation.
The business is beginning to grow. Although it is not yet profitable in monetary terms, the reward of our sons learning how to run a business—and more importantly, how to apply their Christian faith in real-life actions and decisions—is immeasurable.
Over the next several issues of Home School Enrichment, I hope to share with you the lessons we've been learning and how you may teach your children to become godly entrepreneurs.
For starters, we need to understand the concepts of work, business, and success.
Many Christians wrongly view work as a curse of the Fall, but in reality, work is a blessing. It was enjoyed by Adam and Eve in Eden. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:15, 18).
We will enjoy work for all eternity: "And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them . . . and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands" (Isaiah 65:21-22).
Although it is true that work has become a burden due to the Fall (Genesis 3:17-19), God calls each of us to a vocation (1 Corinthians 1:1). Gene Edward Veith, Jr., in God At Work, makes the point that "Though human beings tend to be oblivious to the spiritual significance of the ordinary things they do, and though their work is tainted by sin, the Christian, walking by faith and resting in Christ, can live and work as a channel for the gifts of God. The whole purpose of every vocation is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'"
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