November 30th, 2012
In an age of austerity one business sector whose time seems to have come is that of the social entrepreneur – read about how these inspiring individuals are challenging the church, presenting a new paradigm for how we can change our communities and society at large for good, and ultimately for God!
Social Entrepreneurs Challenge the Church
In the midst of economic crisis and downturn one sector of the economy that is flourishing is social enterprise. Rather than give up hope when witnessing the brutal impact of the recession and government spending cuts on their communities, many courageous individuals are choosing to get involved and make a tangible difference in others’ lives. Actively seeking to employ local people and then invest their profits back into local community projects, they are creating businesses modelling a version of capitalism that the church can welcome and should pioneer.
In their book, Building the Kingdom Through Business, Bridget Adams & Manoj Raithatha present a cogent and inspiring argument for Christians to be actively engaged in the world of business, implementing the values of the Gospel in a way that transforms society for the betterment of all. For too long the church has had an attitude towards the corporate world that can at best be described as ambivalent, considering not only money to be a root of all evil but also the businesses that makes it. Such gnostic thinking, imagining the commercial world inhabited by the apostle Paul as a tentmaker and Lydia as a dealer in cloth to be inherently unspiritual and corrupting has led the church to vacate this essential space and leave it open to the wild moral excesses of the past decade. It is a tragic irony that some of the biggest names caught up in the recent scandals surrounding greed and avarice in the banking sector were once renowned for their integrity and high moral standards, standards their founders derived from the Kingdom Christ proclaimed.
Furthermore, Adams and Raithatha note that many of the social services now considered to be the preserve of the state were originally introduced by successful, Christian business people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, concerned for the health and welfare of their employees. At a time when the government is withdrawing support in these key areas the church has an incredible opportunity to actively encourage believers to get involved and fill the gap, not just materially but also spiritually, facilitating greater transformation than the state alone could ever have hoped to bring. Company directors who dream less of increased share options and more of broken lives redeemed, who understand the spiritual bottom line to be as essential to any success as the financial, these are the men and women to lead our society out of the moral and economic gloom that is so prevalent today.
Speaking from their experiences of starting up businesses, they offer practical advice on how this can be done and cite inspiring examples of Christians who are already engaging with social entrepreneurship to alter lives in Britain.
Financial success does not go long unnoticed. With the median annual turnover of social enterprises in Britain increasing during the past two years by over 37%, the concept of social enterprise is fast gaining traction in corporate financial circles. The church should be sitting up and taking notice as well because these progressive companies are changing society for good and it is time for Christians to get involved and change society for God.
– 1 in 3 social enterprise start-ups in Britain are in our most deprived communities
– 82% of social enterprises reinvest their profits directly into the communities where they are earned
– Social enterprises contribute £24 billion to the British economy, both through the selling of products and services and by reinvesting profits to help people
Building the Kingdom Through Business is published by Instant Apostle and available from Amazon £7.19 paperback (inc. postage), £2.05 Kindle