Throughout the research study, the identity of the individuals participating in the interviews was protected and all information provided by them was treated as confidential even though the subjects had chosen to give up the right to confidentiality.
The researchers carefully selected five unrelated Christian entrepreneurial cases to ensure the validity of the study. They were all considered to be established Christian entrepreneurs.
The questionnaire was designed to include the four themes as indicated below and consisted of nineteen questions:
1. Demonstrate entrepreneurial character traits.
2. Work as a calling and a life purpose of worship to God.
3. Structural bases of power – Basic Biblical management; and
4. Internal bases of power – vision and prophecy prayer.
Demonstrate entrepreneurial character traits.
All the subjects agreed that they are excited, rather than obsessed, by entrepreneurial opportunity. The word “obsessed” clashed with all the subjects’ belief systems. They all believed that every person who walks the road with Christ will be successful and that they are not obsessed with opportunity but see ideas and opportunities, because of their strong faith, that others often don’t see. All the subjects agreed that they are capable not only of the creation and recognition of business opportunities but also have the will and initiative to seize them. The thought patterns are those of opportunism. Opportunities, rather than threats are identified, even if the opportunities are for others. Their relationship with Christ and a process of failures enabled opportunity recognition even if for someone else. The risk associated with new ventures is taken because it is inspired and prompted by the Holy Spirit.
Risk taking is directly connected to faith. All secular business decisions are made through either fear or greed.
Work as a calling and a life purpose of worship to God.
All the respondents agreed that God created the people of the earth to bring Him glory. They all believe they are living within God’s will and purpose for their lives. Three have realized that God wants them to live in harmony with their wives and to be a godly father to their children. One believed that God’s plan and purpose for his life will only be revealed gradually. He agreed that his main purpose is to extend the Kingdom of God on earth and bring Him glory. The fifth respondent said that God’s purpose for him is to serve and have a good relationship with God and others. Their life purpose is to worship God. They believe that everything they do is an act of worship. They all agreed that it is impossible to have a dualistic lifestyle. Goals include “to be exactly where God wants me to be at any time”; “Let God’s Kingdom come on earth”; “to be King, Priest and Prophet in his own home and family” and “to be witness of what God has done in their lives”. This belief is the base for their Entrepreneurial purpose. All the respondents believe that God’s favour ensures sustainability and growth in their businesses.
All the respondents want to uplift and develop others as part of their entrepreneurial businesses. Goals include: to establish a business hub where entrepreneurial men can find a mentor and a spiritual father in the office next door; to be available to anybody that wants to further the Kingdom of God; to mentor young business partners and finance their entrepreneurial projects.
One respondent identified with the Apostle Paul. Paul was a tentmaker because he did not want to be a burden to others. Paul had to produce for himself and teach others. Entrepreneurship is part of their Christian calling. They believe that there is no difference between an individual’s private, his entrepreneurial and spiritual life. Spiritual life must run hand in hand with entrepreneurial life and be balanced with truth. It is impossible to separate one from the other. Business purpose is to “Let God’s Kingdom come on earth” and “to be King, Priest, and Prophet in business and private life”. Everything must be done as stewards and as an act of worship to God. They believe that they must be Christ-like examples to their families, friends, and stakeholders in their business ventures. The world must see Jesus in their actions.
Structural bases of power – Basic Biblical management.
All the entrepreneurs are involved with their staff in a personal capacity. They all give more than is legally required. All the entrepreneurs teach and mentor their staff. All the subjects agreed that they treat their staff in the same way that they would want to be treated. They all attempt to get their staff involved in entrepreneurial activities of their own. They also want to recognize their worth, reward them well financially and to encourage them to be entrepreneurs. The human factor plays a large role in recognizing that workers have the same needs as they do. It was suggested that the main difference between their businesses and any secular business is prayer. They pray for each other as much as they pray in the business. “The way I treat my staff is a reflection of my relationship with God”.
All the entrepreneur’s tithe in their personal capacity. “Everything I have, God can have. God must just say when and where”. Three of the respondents have made the commitment to God to part with ten percent of every office day for His purpose. They assist others to succeed in their own endeavors. Giving is closely connected to life purpose. Generosity is a fundamental Christian principle, tithing as an individual, but using the business resources to bless others.
All the entrepreneurs surveyed have lost everything on more than one occasion. They all approach God with their problems. They are all in agreement that everything belongs to God in the first place. Even if they lose everything it will not affect their relationship with Christ. They agreed that God did not plan to let them fail in the past; it was through their own disobedience. Either greed or fear was involved in most mistakes. Entrepreneurs must go through a learning process after failure and then ask God to give them peace; having learnt all there is to learn from failure. Three respondents tend to be autocratic and strong-willed. They claim that they are softening because of their improving relationship with God. They all tend to be very goal-focused and task-orientated rather than people orientated. The other two tend toward servant leadership. They believe that they are only stewards of all they own and not the owner. “God is the boss”.
Internal bases of power – vision and prophecy prayer.
The general agreement in the group is that they focus on God and that they can only react to God’s prompting. Business vision is part of God’s vision for the organization. The essence and focus of vision is obedience to Christ. Prophecy plays a big role in their long-term decision making. Problems are brought before God in prayer time. God provides the strategies in problem situations. If God gives peace about business decisions, it is as good as God is giving a go-ahead. Time is spent in prayer and fasting. “I hear God better when my stomach grumbles”.
All the respondents constantly pray about corporate decisions. “God’s norm is unity” and business decisions should be made in accordance to a unity principle. “Unless you are able to be quiet, you won’t be able to hear God. You won’t be able to think, you won’t have peace in a particular situation”. All the respondents agreed that the communal purpose for all people on earth is to worship God and to bring Him all the glory. The respondents agreed that they must live each day in obedience to God’s plan, to have a meeting with Christ every day, because His task list originates from this meeting. “My dream is to be totally dependent on God, specifically in decision making.
In order to really be so tuned into God’s voice that it blurs out the white noises of the world.” Three guiding questions are asked: “Is it from God”; “Is it from Satan”; or “Is it from the flesh”.
The core and desirable attributes of entrepreneurs, in general, are present in most entrepreneurs, including secular and Christian entrepreneurs. The aim of this study was to focus on the research question: Does Christian Entrepreneurship differ from secular entrepreneurship?
The results from the study and possible conclusions indicate that courage, confidence, and endurance come from the realization that God is the source of strength in any situation.
Christians rely on God for all things in their life. The respondents agreed that they determine their business entrepreneurial vision by focusing on their relationship with Christ. They only react to God’s prompting. The essence and focus of their vision is obedience to Christ.
This relationship enables Christians to push forward in the direction into which they are called because God is in control. It affirms the realization that they are not responsible for the results, but act in obedience to His Godly calling (Philippians 4:13).
It is acceptable in Christian circles to experience a calling to a specific business endeavor. It is not the purpose of this paper to investigate how callings can be confirmed; however, in all areas of life, not excluding entrepreneurship, problems occur when individuals misinterpret a calling.
In business, spiritual guidance, when wrongly interpreted, could have negative consequences when quality business decisions are needed. All the respondents believed that their business failures were significant. All the respondents believe that these failures set their spiritual foundation and they subsequently started to experience Christ in a deep and personal way.
They developed an understanding of the faithfulness of God and a deep reliance on God as the source of their power. The danger in such thinking could be that ‘spiritual obedience or disobedience ‘might not be equated to the lack of business skills or purely bad business decisions.
Research findings- additional Christian entrepreneurial characteristics
* Opportunity recognition for someone else
* Serving God
* Uplift and develop others
* Bring glory to God
* Living and working in harmony
* Offer time, skills and resources to community
* Work is an act of worship
* Incorporate prayer into business
All the respondents have the will and initiative to recognize and react to entrepreneurial opportunities. They all believe that God is in control and that God owns their businesses and all of their resources. If the opportunity is from God, they will respond and get involved.
The research also revealed that Christian entrepreneurial purpose differs from secular entrepreneurial purpose. Christian entrepreneurial purpose is about being obedient to and serving God. The Christian entrepreneur must be a witness to God’s goodness, serve others and use the business as a vehicle to worship Him. Christian entrepreneurs are not in control of their situation, they trust God for daily purpose, direction, calling and task.
There are non-negotiable principles in Christian teachings, for example, ‘do unto others as you wish them to do unto you”. For Christians to apply both spiritual and business principles at the same time need not be problematic, but could lead to decisions which would not benefit the business…Continue Reading…@ https://www.researchgate.net/
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