We spend the majority of our waking hours at work between the ages of 20 and 70. Jesus was constantly entering into people’s work places and spaces – the fishing pier, the market, the town square, the tax office. When we fail to show up and engage in the work place, we are missing an essential aspect of Jesus’ ministry strategy, and missing the opportunity to bless and be blessed by our neighbors.
Sometimes we can go to them, but we also have an opportunity to create a space where they will want to gather for work and community building.
Congregations have several elemental strengths when it comes to incubating small businesses:
They are already physically present in communities.
They are geographically close to individuals who are longing for greater meaning in their lives and a rewarding way to financially support themselves.
They historically have a web of relationships with which to engage and collaborate
They have property (buildings and land) which are often underutilized resources that can be leveraged for new and innovative projects.
They may also have a tradition and a theology that encourages helping people to flourish and thrive in a holistic way – in every aspect of human life.
Here’s one example of how this can develop within an existing congregation at The Mix Coworking.
Here’s one example of how it develops away from a church campus but as kingdom and kin-dom work none-the-less – The Grove Dallas.
Peter Thiel thinks so: … I prefer to focus on the mission of a company. And the mission has a story that is about more than making money, some transcendent purpose. But I distinguish mission from convention; if it involves an idea that’s totally different than what I’ve seen before, that’s what feels very powerful. The creative part of the process is to think really hard: What are the great new things that we can develop today in 2014?
He’s looking at it from an investor point of view, not a “this is a worthwhile endeavor” pov. Presumably every “social entrepreneurship” venture has an important mission, a “transcendent purpose” -isn’t that kind of the point? From a business/investor perspective, the issue of how an enterprise distinguishes itself from the crowd is vital. The compelling mission and story help your project stand out and get the attention of others who will want to be part of what you do, either as investors, partners, team members, community advocates, or consumers.
The issue seems to be one of innovation – how do you pursue your wild imagination and take the big risk, follow the BIG IDEA and get out in front of the crowd. Honestly, creating an environment where people can be more free to take risks will be good for everyone, not just investors. The Big Problems need Big Solutions. On that score, I’m glad to be part of The Grove Dallas where we are creating just this kind of space.