Christian Entrepreneurship: Identity, Purpose, and Rules of the Game
God has called many of us to be entrepreneurs, to start a business that will bring glory to Him. However, sometimes we lose our identity and our purpose. So the purpose of this article is to help Christian entrepreneurs to find in God their identity, their purpose, and the rules to operate their businesses.
- Identity: Christian first, entrepreneur second
An important aspect of Christian entrepreneurship is identity. Am I a Christian first or an entrepreneur first? Who am I deep within? While some individuals see themselves as “Christians who just happen to be entrepreneurs,” others see themselves as “successful entrepreneurs who just happen to be Christians.”
Those who are entrepreneurs first buy the world’s narrative of success. They find their joy in the perks and praise they receive when their business grows fast, when nailing a great business deal, or securing a needed investment. However, their joy vanishes when their business slows down or they can’t secure the needed funding. Eventually they may realize that they might have been worshipping an idol instead of God.
On the other hand, when entrepreneurs find their identity first as Christians, God and the Scriptures are their sources of joy. Henry Kaestner argues that “business professionals who know that they are Christians first bring all of their talents, experiences and opportunities to the altar as a meaningful form of worship. They understand that God doesn’t need their work or their money, but they want to bring it all anyway because it reflects the joyful abandonment of self. They have rightly found their identity in God and caught the beauty of being owned rather than owning.” For them, it doesn’t matter whether there is success or failure in the eyes of the world, because their success is secured in God’s eyes.
In his book EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey calls it surrender. After his business collapsed, he noted that “once I started over and opened our new business, I decided that I would follow the spirit and the direction of Scripture to operate the business.” So I want to encourage you to find your identity first as a Christian and second as an entrepreneur.
2. Purpose: Bring glory to God
Christian entrepreneurs use their talents and businesses to bring glory to God. In a study done to discover the characteristics of Christian entrepreneurs, the participants agreed that God created humanity to bring glory to Him. Therefore, they recognized that they are called by God to be in harmony with others (spouse, children, business partners) and that the purpose of their businesses is to “extend the Kingdom of God on earth and bring Him glory.”In other words, “they believe that everything they do is an act of worship.”
One of the participants identified himself with the apostle Paul, who became an entrepreneur to avoid being a burden to others. Paul made tents to sustain himself (2 Thess. 3:10), to provide for other people’s needs (Acts 20:33-35), and to connect with people (Acts 18:3). Moreover, the Holy Spirit enhanced Paul’s ministry through his strategic partners (Rom. 16:3, 4). As was the case with Paul, Christian entrepreneurs should not have a purpose in their businesses that are separated from or counter to their spiritual lives. The purpose to bring glory to God should permeate all areas of life, including business. Jordan Raynor suggests that one way we can evaluate whether our purpose is to bring glory to God is to ask ourselves “questions not about which career will best boost our self-image but rather how we might best serve the One who has called us to create . . . something new for the good of others.” 
3. Rules of the Game: Biblical values and principles
Besides identity and purpose, Christian entrepreneurs run businesses based on biblical values and principles. During each phase of the entrepreneurship cycle the market trusts them because they are honest and faithful (Luke 16:10). They are proactive and diligent in searching for business opportunities (Prov. 13:4; Eccl. 9:10) and test their business idea or prototype in the market before scaling their business (Prov. 24:7). Once the business is launched, they are patient in building their businesses (Prov. 13:11; 28:20). They don’t cheat their customers (Deut. 25:13-16; Prov. 11:1) or evade their taxes (Matt. 22:17-21; Rom. 13:6, 7). Therefore, their brand reflects their character (Prov. 22:1) and satisfied customers speak well of them (Prov. 27:2). Similarly, Brock Shinen argues that Christian entrepreneurs dream, plan, execute, and grow their businesses based on a deep commitment and reliance upon God and His principles.
Also, the management of their human resources is based on Christian principles. They are careful to employ workers who fit their values (Prov. 10:26). They promote healthy relationships with their employees (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 4:1) and pay fair wages (Deut. 24:15; James 5:4). They mentor their workers as they would like to be mentored (Prov. 27:17; Luke 6:31) and motivate them to achieve common goals (Prov. 16:26). Furthermore, they pray for their employees and for their business partners (Job 42:10; James 5:16).
Christian entrepreneurs are prudent with their finances. They believe and practice the three principles of financial freedom: (1) God is the owner of everything we have (Ps. 24:1, 2), (2) God provides for all our needs (Phil. 4:19), and (3) God comes first in managing our finances (Matt. 6:33). One way they put God first is by returning faithful tithes and offerings. Therefore, they tithe all their income, including all their business profit (Lev. 27:30; Mal. 3:8-12). As Ellen White indicates, Christian entrepreneurs believe that “we are not left to stumble along in darkness and disobedience. The truth is plainly stated, and it can be clearly understood by all who wish to be honest in the sight of God. A tithe of all our income is the Lord’s.” In addition, they put God first by giving proportional offerings in a spirit of self-denial. They hear the teaching of Jesus on the offering of the widow (Mark 12:43, 44), and recognize that “He taught that the value of the gift is estimated not by the amount, but by the proportion that is given and the motive that actuates the giver.” In addition, they operate their business and family finances within the framework of a budget, they spend less than they earn (Prov. 21:20), and avoid unnecessary debt (Prov. 22:7). In addition, they enjoy the blessings of savings and invest wisely.
In summary, I encourage you, dear Christian entrepreneur, to prayerfully find your identity first as a Christian, and then as an entrepreneur. Find your purpose in bringing glory to God in every detail of your business. Discover in the Bible the values and principles that God wants you to use to operate your businesses. May we hear from the Lord’s lips very soon, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’” (Matt. 25:23).
 Henry Kaestner, “What Does It Mean to Be a Christian Entrepreneur?” in Purposeful Living: Financial Wisdom for All of Life, ed. Gary G. Hoar and Tim Macready, p. 19, https://www.christiansuper.com.au/ebook/.
 Ibid., pp. 19, 20.
 Ibid., p. 21.
 Dave Ramsey, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches, (New York: Howard Books, 2011), p. 3.
 M.D.M. Cullen, A. P. Calitz, and L. Boshoff, “Characteristics of the Christian Entrepreneur,” Journal for Development and Leadership 2, no. 1 (2013): 29-44, https://jdl.mandela.ac.za/Journal-Archive/Volume-2/Number-1/Characteristics-of-the-christian-entrepreneur.
 Ibid., p. 37.
 Jordan Raynor, Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017), pp. 52, 14.
 Brock Shinen, The Christian Entrepreneur: Dream, Plan, Execute, Grow (Grand Rapids: Bethany House, 2020), p. 12.
 Guillermo Biaggi and Carlos Biaggi, Libertad Financiera: Principios Bíblicos and Administración, Fidelidad y Generosidad (Buenos Aires: Casa Editora Sudamericana, 2017), pp. 35-50.
 Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1940), p. 82.
 Biaggi and Biaggi, pp. 46, 47.
 Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 342.
 Biaggi and Biaggi, pp. 111-137.
 Ibid., pp. 156-170.
 Ibid., pp. 231-247.