Many Jesus-followers tithe their income to their church, donate to causes which make a difference, and give to their church missions budget. That is a good thing.
Many Jesus-followers invest in their own future with a portfolio of stocks and bonds, which will help them in their retirement. That is a good thing.
Yet, another “Good thing” is Investing in causes which make a difference, by partnering in a Kingdom disciple-making, job creating business startup in a place of desperate need. That could look like an investment club, an equity position in an enterprise, or loans to a business startup.
First, the pros:
- You can follow the enterprise closely with regular reports, visits, and even personal communication.
- There is satisfaction in getting involved in areas of the greatest human need such as: businesses which hire victims of human trafficking; job creation where there is massive injustice and poverty; and startups in areas of disasters like wars, earthquakes, fires etc.
- You can choose a business which is aligned with your own interests – like engineering, pharmacy, agriculture, tourism, coffee, manufacturing, teaching English, and much more.
- It can be fun as you join a unique tribe – as you own a part of something far away that is making a difference.
- You can do this with a small part of your assets such as 1-5%; and as a social enterprise, there can be tax advantages (e.g. Benefit Corporation).
- There is a potential for both financial and spiritual return (ROI).
Now the cons:
- This is clearly a long-term venture, maybe 3-8 years.
- It is new; you are an early adopter, and there may be unknowns which you are not comfortable with.
- This can be risky, and you have to be comfortable with some level of risk. In addition, you must recognize that the endeavor could fail.
- Your friends and church may not understand this because the idea of using our financial resources to “invest” in the Great Commission is a foreign idea to most Christians.
- You may not want to be bothered with something new or identify with millennials who have tender hearts for the oppressed and like to commit to causes they care about.
- You may be criticized by your church or other Not-For-Profits that you support, that you are taking monies away from their ministry.
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures