My Report on Life as a Missional Entrepreneur

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On April 9th, 2012, my family moved from Alotau, Papua New Guinea.  We’d been working in Alotau for six years.

In addition to geographic changes (from Alotau to Cheyenne, Wyoming), I knew there would also be a change in occupation for me (from missionary to missional entrepreneur).

In case you’ve never heard the term missional entrepreneur, it is a persons who uses his or her business as a vehicle to allow them to be involved in God’s ministry to the world.  The goal is not to build a larger business merely for the sake of profit, but to be very intentional about investing both time and resources in the kingdom.

By the way, missional entrepreneur is a term I’ve made up, so don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard it.

Truth be told, the transition has been more difficult than I imagined.  It took me several months to clearly figure out where God wanted me to invest my time.  There were so many good options, and every day I felt like I was in a cloud trying to figure out where I should focus my ministry time.

This blog is a good ministry outlet, but it’s hard to really see and measure what God is doing through my writing.

After several months of prayer and discussion, I decided that I’d go forward with my plan to do seminars with churches called Transforming Your Financial Diet (based on my book).  I’m very passionate about the message of simplicity and generosity.  The more time I spend in America, the more I realize how much the message can bless the kingdom.  :)

But it’s also a scary thing.  It’s always hard to start something new because there is always the potential for …. failure.

What if people don’t like the seminar?  What if no one asks me to share the seminar at their church?  What if …

In the end, I concluded that my fear was not of God.  So I decided to go ahead and start publicizing the seminar.

My schedule is starting to come together.

One of the things I love most about being a missional entrepreneur is that we’re able to say yes to good opportunities that we’d otherwise pass over.

Last week we spent a week in Hawaii.  You see, my work comes with me (as long as I manage to remember to bring my laptop).  I actually find that changes in context are really helpful to force me to look at situations from a different perspective.  It was a free trip, so it was hard to pass it up.

Right now we’re in Quito, Ecuador.  We’re visiting missionary friends we’ve known since college.  I’ll be doing a seminar at the Bible college teaching about Christian finances while we’re here.

Next week, we’ll be heading to Canada to spend time with my family over Canadian Thanksgiving.

How many jobs would give me the flexibility to do all this traveling?  I’m thankful that God has given us this opportunity.

In the fall, I’ll be doing quite a bit of ministry-related travel:

Once we get back from Canada, I’ll have a weekend in Chicago for a frequent flyer conference.  The converse is not ministry, but is related to my travel blog.  However, I’m excited because I’ll also be getting together with a  former college professor, a friend from college, and a former Christian finance blogger.

After that, I’ll be heading to Colorado Springs to do a Transforming Your Financial Diet Seminar.  The next weekend I’ll be in Lander, Wyoming teaching Bible class and preaching.  From there, I’ll head out to Logan, Utah for a youth rally.  Next, I’ll be traveling down to Pueblo, Colorado for a financial seminar.

How many jobs would allow me the flexibility to visit with all these churches and people?

Life as a Missional Entrepreneur:

If I had one word to describe how I feel about being a missional entrepreneur, it would be blessed.

I’m thankful that God continues to open doors for our family to minister to others.  There is still a lot of uncertainty about where we will or won’t end up in the future.  There’s a lot of uncertainty about what I’ll be doing in the future.  But I trust that God will use us for his glory.

A Note About Intentionality:

I want to mention that we were very intentional about arranging our lives in a way that we’d be able to be involved in this type of travel and ministry.

First of all, I started blogging three and a half years ago, and one of the things that really appealed to me about it was the flexibility.  I was amazed at the idea that I could take my laptop with me and still do all the work I needed to do.

Secondly, we decided to home school our kids.  Spending time with my family is extremely important to me.  Because the kids are in home school, they’ll be able to come on some of these trips with me. Also, when I have to travel away from home over a weekend, we can take a Monday as a family day.

A Note About God’s Provision:

I also want to counterbalance my ‘intentionally’ statements with the acknowledgment that had God not blessed my life, family, and ministry, then none of these things would be possible.  I’m thankful that at least through 2012 I won’t charge any personal fees for my seminars.  I’m thankful that God has allowed our family to live comfortably off the income from my blogs.  I’m thankful that our supporting church didn’t need to support us for six months after returning from the mission field.

No matter how hard we work or how intentional we are, if God does not bless it, it will not succeed.

Comments

  1. Bill says

    I have known several “Missional Entrepreneurs” in my lifetime, I just didn’t know that was what they were. I had a very good friend who worked into his seventies. Every time his wife talked to him about retiring, he would respond, “Which mission project do you want us to quit supporting?” This usually ended the discussion.

    I am merely a “mission advocate” who aspires to be a “missional entrepreneur.”

    Keep up the good work!

    • says

      Bill,
      You’re right that there are a lot of people who are working as missional entrepreneurs and don’t even know it. Thanks for sharing the story about your friend.

  2. says

    Craig, I think this is precisely what I’m trying to do with a side business I’m just launching (link in my name). For now, the purpose is to increase my income to pay off debt faster, but the long-term purpose of it is to be able to move back to Paraguay with my wife and (God-willing) open up a foster home.

    I think I’d love to be able to start telling people, when they ask me what I do for a living, that I’m a “missional entrepreneur”. :)

    -jason

    • says

      Jason,
      It hink it’s so important to decide the purpose of your business when you start. You seem to have a good direction so that will be a blessing. I pray that God opens the doors to make the foster home option a real possibility.

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