Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” ~Peter Drucker
Recently, I wrote about Pastor Andrew Brunson – his imprisonment in Turkey on false charges and his release this October after two years detention. In the post, I referred to Brunson as a “spiritual entrepreneur.” Today, I’ll expand upon the idea of entrepreneurship and its relevance to Christian marketplace leaders.
In an article published in Forbes Magazine entitled “The Real Definition Of Entrepreneur—And Why It Matters” by Brett Nelson, the author contends that, while we normally associate entrepreneurship with business, it is not limited to business. According to Nelson, “Entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are those who identify a need—any need—and fill it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry or market.”
In popular culture, people often regard those who invent “better mousetraps” as entrepreneurs. While sometimes true, this is not usually the case. The “innovation” to which Drucker refers is not the invention of new products per se but rather the “invention” of organizations to satisfy unfilled needs.
In my venture capital days, I met many inventors who were good at creating “better mousetraps” but had neither the skills nor the aptitude to build a business around their invention. While the mousetrap might have been nice to look at, it was not useful. Only through the entrepreneurial (and difficult) process of commercialization did it become useful.
As I consider the foregoing, it occurs to me that Jesus was the ultimate entrepreneur. He saw the universal need for humankind to be reconciled with God. The need was totally unmet and competing products nonexistent! Knowing this and out of his infinite love for each of us, Jesus the entrepreneur became Jesus the product. He risked separation from God the Father to rescue his creation by bearing the punishment all of us deserve for our failure to yield to God’s plans and purposes for our lives. And he succeeded by defeating death!
In the same way, Jesus is calling each marketplace leader intent on following him to emulate his spirit of entrepreneurship. He has authorized and appointed us to risk our careers (if not our lives) by introducing our peers to the only one who can offer the abundant life. The market is vast and we have the only product that can meet the need. The issue is not the reality of the need nor the quality of the product but rather our willingness to answer his call on each of our lives.
Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
Here’s a question for each one of us: Is my foundation on the rock?
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.