FAITH AND PERSEVERANCE: WHERE WE FIND IT AND HOW WE SHARE IT WITH OTHER ENTREPRENEURS
As this article goes to print, our trainer, John, launches Phase 2 in Kosovo. With his faith and his years of experience as an entrepreneur, John shows students how to implement their business ideas into the real world. Here he shares some of the amazing transformations he’s seen during trainings and what gives him a passion for leading Phase 2 training.
A lot of folks have romantic ideas about what it’ll be like to start a business. The reality is that starting a business has a lot of ups and downs.
There are exciting days, and there are tough days when the Lord tests you. I remember getting to a point in my own entrepreneurship when I was almost overwhelmed with the work ahead of me. “How am I going to do this?” I thought. I was standing in my hallway at home, in tears and ready to give up.
And then God answered. He said to me, “I don’t want you to do this alone; I want you to depend on me.” I went from crying to laughing. It was incredible how clearly that message came through to me. Since then, I’ve learned that God moved me to be an entrepreneur so I can have total dependence on Him.
I saw a similar transformation in a student during a Phase 2 lesson in the Middle East. Duane and I were giving a presentation, and one of our students, a tough veteran, watched as we went through budgeting for a business plan. Suddenly, his whole demeanor changed. He was disappointed and upset. “Based on this, I won’t be able to support my family for a year,” he said. He was ready to give up.
It was then that we reminded him how God would be there for him. God did not want him to do this alone. Through his grant from iBAM, he would have the breathing room to get his idea off the ground. His demeanor changed again. You could see it on his face. “I can do this,” it read. He’s since become one of the most successful students we’ve had.
As an entrepreneur myself, the exciting part for me is setting our students up for success based on business as mission. To me, it’s the fun part of Phase 2 — helping them go from “This is what I want to do” to “This is how I can make this idea successful.” We teach them what it looks like to run a successful day-today business. By learning faith dialogue, our entrepreneurs learn how to run a business from a Kingdom perspective. We emphasize the disciple-making component and how important it is to connect with people in order to connect them to the King.
In Phase 2, we help entrepreneurs hone in on where their products fit into the market, which products and services they’ll offer, who their target customers are, and what it takes to start a business. We don’t give someone a grant without teaching them how to implement it successfully with business as mission. It’s at the crossroads of faith and perseverance that our entrepreneurs will thrive.