What determines one’s upward mobility? Was it truly just hard work and determination? Since I grew up surrounded by people who went to work, earned money, fixed up their homes, threw the football around and vacationed occasionally in Florida, I internalized the notion that if you work hard enough, you could rise the social ladder and live well.
So why was the scene so different in the DR? My naïve brain circulated the question: why couldn’t people just work? As 17 Dominicans and I zoomed through the narrow streets of my friend’s barrio (low-socioeconomic neighborhood) in a gutted 10 passenger van, my eyes were wide open, taking in the sights and smells. As we bumped down the road, I was particularly struck by how many young moms were sitting outside dilapidated homes holding children and peeling veggies. A friend who had researched family statistics in the DR told me that many women are single mothers and must find means to provide for their family. So how were they providing for their families? If they didn’t have jobs and they didn’t have a spouse’s income, how could they live sustainable, dignified lives? While I was excited to be on campus sharing the gospel with University students, my mind kept wandering to these single mothers. Who was helping these moms?
One day while sharing my thoughts with a friend working for another mission organization, she shared about some soap she recently purchased. The soap was produced by a small group of women who ran a tiny local soap factory. As I investigated said soap company, my interest continued to grow. An inventive and compassionate Chilean American founded the little enterprise with the vision of bringing hope to women living in difficult conditions in a specific low resource neighborhood that he visited frequently. As the founder shared more about his motivation for the company, my eyes were opened more and more to the complexities of poverty. I could no longer hold tight to the notion that anyone could find work and pull themselves out of impoverished situations. It just isn’t that simple. Living in this neighborhood, the woman faced extreme barriers to employment and upward mobility. Childcare, transportation, job opportunities, adequate work clothes and many other factors played into their lack of employment. But this small business was eliminating many of these deterring factors making it possible for these women to work.
More, the soap factory was transforming the community around it. Women were going to college, children had appropriate footwear, families paid school fees, homeowners repaired their homes, and most of all, there was renewed hope. Undeniably, I wanted to be a part of it. What an amazing way to partner with God to bring restoration to a community! God began to stir in my heart the desire to be a part of community transformation by creating employment for the underemployed. My ongoing prayer is: God, how can I use the passions and talents that you have given me to partner with the Holy Spirit in driving change in hearts and communities?
In a city marked by past economic depression, many small businesses owners are seeing economic, social and spiritual transformation as they live out God's calling in their city. Detroit is a city booming with little businesses on mission. This is the setting for the 2020 Entrepreneurial Readiness Workshop (ERW). Come learn alongside a network of people passionate about seeing wholistic transformation through missional enterprise (ME). This highly interactive weekend workshop is designed to help you (and your team) assess your fit for missional enterprise as you study God's heart for (ME), work through realistic simulations and receive valuable training and personal coaching! Come explore how God has specifically gifted you to impact His kingdom through businesses that blesses His creation as a whole! Discover more in the links below and sign up for the ERW! We hope to see you there! Dates are June 12-14 2020.
GEN Desk is excited to share the Global Commerce Network's release of its new book titled The Entrepreneurial God, written by Donald McGilchrist.
The book can be purchased on Amazon.
McGilchrist shows, through a study of the Scriptures, God as the grand innovator who, motivated by love, initiated the first "start-up" – our world.
Despite this reality, the philosophical wedge driven between what our culture deems "sacred" and "secular" makes it difficult for business leaders to think about entrepreneurship and innovation through a theological lens. As a result, we miss out on the grandeur of how our enterprises fit within God's overarching purposes for the world. Our perspectives leave us with a narrow view of what it means to be entrepreneurs.
The Entrepreneurial God helps us expand our vision and learn from the model of the grand innovator. We see that our enterprises can and should contribute to the shalom, or well-being, of our communities, our economies, and our workers.
Donald McGilchirst, a founder of GCN, was born in London, England. He holds an MA from the University of Oxford. He worked for ten years in business in the UK before serving as an international vice president of The Navigators in the US. In this capacity, he focused on cross-cultural studies, communications, and international strategy.
In addition to The Entrepreneurial God, he has authored several studies on the cultural and biblical significance of commerce and enterprise, with a focus on our daily work in the world, including The Meaning of Work (2015) and other books in GCN's six-book series titled Scriptural Roots of Commerce.
Extremely thought-provoking Bible Study (part of the Scriptural Roots of Commerce Series) regarding the meaning of work to help users understand and discover God-created purpose of work. The meaning of work is a critical foundation for any missional enterprise.
"We spend most of our lives working. Do our jobs mean anything to God? The Meaning of Work offers a hopeful answer to that question. Early in the story, we discover a God who works with passion and love, and who has designed us to work. We explore the truth that all work done in faith is sacred and purposeful. The study then helps us discover how our professional lives can be integrated with God’s work to restore a broken world. It closes with an investigation of physical and spiritual rest in the context of our stressful times."
– Global Commerce Network
Importance of Social Impact in Startups, according to Mitch Kapor
How do we identify gap narrowing social impact solutions in our missional enterprises? Mitch Kapor presents some of his thoughts on social impact.
These impact issues are complicated. There’s no simple formula about it. It pays everybody to be thoughtful about looking at the full range of impacts if they’re going to do something, and the bigger and more disruptive it is, the harder the analysis is.
The BAM Conference is a great first step to understand the vision and theology of Business as Missions and missional enterprise.
The BAM Conference will bring together hundreds of business professionals and leaders from around the world to learn how to reconcile their faith and work. With the theme “Bridging the Gap”, the three-day event will close the divide between where you are now and where you want to be, and equip you to use your God-given skills to make an impact through business.
Much has been happening for Second Story Coffee Roasters, including small-scale renovation of the shop location, the pre-open of our business, the launch of our website allowing customers to join a coffee subscription club, and the planning for our grand opening event on June 4th. This has required all of us, all days of the week. (Though I usually spend at least one day fully in my PJs, drinking coffee and reading, to make up for it!) We had heard that starting a business requires the investment of your heart, your time, and your finances, and it is totally true. We are excited for what we have begun, but it is up to God now whether or not it will flourish. We still have not been able to find investors, please pray that God would provide them.
Because we are deep in the details and processes of starting a new venture, which one of my favorite people once described as "trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant," it is easy to forget the WHY of what we are doing. We have taken a time or two together as Second Story staff (Rob, Tara, and Masayoshi) to discuss, debate, and pray about what God has in store for us as a shop and business within the community of the Oya neighborhood of Shizuoka, Japan.
The vision statement of Second Story Coffee Roasters is the following:
We exist to cultivate a safe and vibrant middle space, where mainstream Japanese can encounter the values of the Kingdom of Jesus and experience gospel-centered community.
God is already moving within this vision, giving us relationship with the workers of the cafe next door to us, a few of whom seem drawn to us and with whom we have been able to discuss: What is the meaning of life? Why were humans made? Why do we exist? We are grateful.
But we are also exhausted, us and our fellow Second Story workers. Really, we experience the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9, where Paul recalls God's words to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." We are a weak and motley crew, four of us not native to the language and customs, none of us experienced in business, six children between us, some of us living with illnesses of varying kind, but ALL of us being brought to a place where we remember by WHOSE strength any of this is possible. Several times a week, I have the thought, "What we are doing is CRAZY. Why would God choose us for this job? For the job of living in Japan even?" But the answer to that is never far behind, when I am reminded softy of the heroism of our Creator, who challenges his people to daily pick up their cross and follow Him, to be willing to be a weak tool in His strong hand, for ends and goals known mainly to Him alone. Following Jesus into the unknown of faith is the job of every Christian, and we are greatly encouraged by thoughts of His people around the globe, doing hard things for Him.
Please pray with us for the success of this business, so that it might open doors to the Kingdom for the people around us. We long to see the impact of Jesus's love on this Oya neighborhood, where we have lived and labored since our move to Japan nine years ago.
Wife, Mother, Founder, Writer
Previous posts from Jamie and SSCR.
Dream Big Things from God,