SUNDAY 10th SEPTEMBER, 2017.
THE 21st CENTURY CLERGYMAN AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth”, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it”, (Gen. 1:28, 2:15).
God is a great Entrepreneur of all times. His charge to mankind in Gen. 1:28 and 2:15 are highly illustrative. He wants man to be proactive wherever he may be. Therefore, in line with His mandate, a clergyman of the 21st Century should be innovative, creative, enterprising, productive, business oriented, scientific, rational and problem solving.
We are aware that it is very difficult to provide direct employment to vast youth population. Entrepreneurship is a great way to fill the void and it must be encouraged. It also fosters innovation which is a stepping stone to development. Let me also add, it has financial rewards too. The clergyman is in a better position to affect lives positively both in the Urban or rural setting. So, entrepreneurship becomes a vehicle that can help him realize his dreams of touching lives.
Entrepreneur has been severally defined. According to a French economist Jean Baptiste Say in his 1800 Treatise on Political Economy defined the entrepreneur as someone who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.” While in 1934 an Austrian American political scientist and economist Joseph Schumpeter in his Theory of Economic Development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest and the business cycle, gave us a more modern definition of entrepreneur as “the person who destroys the existing economic order by introducing new products and services, by creating new forms of organization, or by exploiting new raw materials.” Also, the father of economics Adam Smith (1776) defines an entrepreneur “is a person who acts as agent in transforming demand into supply”.
Thank God for the recession, people including the clergyman can now think and create in order to add value to life. With this understanding, a clergyman can begin a small scale business in partnership with his Church or some members with the aim of raising the socio-economic status of people around him. Such small businesses like rice production,, fishery, poultry, piggery, plantain plantation and other allied businesses that could grow overtime. Some Churches are blessed with vast arable land and such could be turned into gold mind overtime. There is usually a good thing about a humble beginning. What a clergyman needs to is to be courageous, skillful, have integrity and be prepared for risks that are usually associated with business ventures. As long as he is careful and prudent, doing the business with fear of God, he surely will succeed.
Jesus taught us in Matt. 25:14-30 of the story about the talents. In it, three persons were given different talents and two did excellently well and received commendation at the end. Whereas one was lazy, wicked and uninspiring and so buried his talent. In short, he did not invest and so what he had was taken away from him and he was cast out to the outer darkness where there is gnashing of teeth. This third attitude should not be the portion of the 21st Century Clergyman for there is much to be done in order to assist those that are in need particularly at this harsh economic times.
However, some nations or co-operations have been known to be on their knees as a result of corruption. We know when money or products are not used for what they are meant for, a business may not thrive after all. There is the need therefore, to advice that integrity and accountability should be the credible ingredients that can make for survival of businesses. The clergyman should know that people hold him in high esteem and so should not disappoint no matter the situation or temptation he may be facing. His incursion into business should not be a license for sin.
Therefore, participation in business as good as it may be by the clergyman should be done with caution and understanding that the primary purpose for his call is for soul winning. Jesus’ Great Commission is still relevant here: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, (Matt. 28:19). Also, keeping in remembrance that: “he is wise, he who wins a soul”, (Prov. 111:30).
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,