May 23, 2019
I recently represented MORTAR at the UNFAMOUS Conference in Seattle. It was held at Seattle Pacific University, a Christian college that has a business school. Faith leaders, theologians, pastors, funding organizations and practitioners from across the country assembled to discuss Redemptive Entrepreneurship: how business ownership and social enterprises can be used to benefit the church and the parishioners it serves. It was inspiring to hear what folks in US cities are doing to close equity gaps, and bring sorely needed income streams -especially to smaller or urban churches. 59% of churches in America have congregations of 100 people or less. (Hartford Institute) Many pastors are bi-vocational and their church’s budgets are small. Some of their congregants are indigent to lower middle class.
Redemption interrupts and disrupts. It is the action of saving someone from evil; to regain possession of something in exchange for payment; the clearing of a debt; and the action of buying one’s freedom. My favorite definition is to buy-back an opportunity. As an orphan, I know redemption first hand. My mother, Marion Moody, a public school teacher, chose to intervene and bring me into her family. That decision interrupted the course of foster care and placed me in a stable home. Through her redemptive sacrifice, she bought back my opportunity to have a loving environment and be educated in great schools, which then afforded me the opportunity to work and possess my own freedom.
In 2 Kings 4, Elisha the prophet, does the same thing for a grieving widow. She and her sons are left in debt and in danger of being enslaved to pay it off. It’s a dire situation and God inspires Elisha to solve the problem through the vehicle of entrepreneurship. The widow has an asset – oil. I shared at UNFAMOUS that each entrepreneur has something they can use to bring in an additional stream of income. Elisha instructs the widow to gather pots from all of her neighbors, as many containers as she can, to fill with oil to sell so she and her sons can pay off their debt and live off the rest. This reveals that entrepreneurs need a community, a network of people who will assist, supply and offer them opportunities to prosper. The combination of what they already have and what the community provides can leave them amply supplied for both the present and the future, leaving an inheritance for their children.
MORTAR is all about redemptive entrepreneurship. We exist to help entrepreneurs buy-back opportunities. We want to see them eliminate debts with ingenuity and hard work. Our hope is that hey will ultimately possess their own freedom and leave a legacy.