Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Praise of Entrepreneurs

I like entrepreneurs. I like them because they are people of action. Where others fixate on the obstacles in their way, entrepreneurs see possibility. They may fail, yes, but at the least they are going to try.

I believe that entrepreneurs are a better hope for our economy than economic stimulus packages. As we have to compete in a growing global marketplace, it will be the entrepreneurs who will figure out how to compete.

I like them because we have several of them in our church. I love hearing the passion of small business owners like Fritz Greulich of Watkins Manufacturing. Fritz gave me a tour of his plant a couple of years ago, and I had a blast just listening to him show off his equipment. His company makes high-efficiency industrial saws ... a product that I know very little about. But Fritz' enthusiasm, like a boy scout showing off his newly earned Eagle award, was contagious. Here is a man who really enjoys what he's doing, and who is committed to creating a great working atmosphere for his employees.

Then we have people starting brand new businesses. Michael Maxwell opening Market Wines this week or John MacAlonan's Fire on the Ridge Hot Sauce. I'm intrigued by Joe Carter's experiment in entrepreneurial book publishing as well. Right now lots of people are engaging in brand new endeavors, and I'm excited for all of them.

I like entrepreneurs because I believe that we're called as Christians to build godly culture...and that includes godly business. When Genesis talks about being fruitful and multiplying, I believe that the fruitfulness entails being fruitful in our cultural output. Not just consuming things blindly for our own aggrandizement and satiation...rather, we create things that are useful, beautiful, lasting, and good. We are called to wisely steward our resources. Christian entrepreneurs can lead the way in these things.

For Christians don't have the right to just be in the business to make money. Our faith demands that our business be about something larger than ourselves. It is to be a vocation that ultimately brings glory to God...through quality....through taking good care of employees....through a concern for the broader community. And this kind of "social responsibility" isn't to be a gimmick designed to market the enterprise, but it is to be a natural outgrowth of our faith. Entrepreneurs can lead the way .... May God bless em.

Soli Deo Gloria