Generations of Business Men and Women, Living and Discipling among the Lost
Back in the 1980´s, the Navigators in Africa began making small loans to help African disciples launch businesses that would provide much needed income for their families. Today, there are hundreds of enterprises across the African continent run by business men and women who have been trained by the Navigators in evangelism and discipleship. With more and more “missional enterprises” springing up, Navigator representative Wanjau Nduba (who resources this network), saw an urgent need to have many more trained mentors and coaches who could help these business practitioners stay focused on a triple bottom line of financial sustainability, spiritual transformation, and social impact. This need led to the birth of an initiative called “Venture Villages”.
After 16 months of development, the first Venture Village was launched in Nairobi, Kenya in November of 2016 as a joint initiative with Naventure (the Navigator African business network led by Wanjau), Agora Enterprises (a US based ministry that promotes international entrepreneurial accelerators), and the Global Enterprise Network (the resource team that serves Navigator missional enterprises around the world). The goal is to launch dozens of successful startup missional entrepreneurs around Africa in the next few years.
One essential ingredient in this Venture Village process is to recruit and train successful Christ-centered entrepreneurs as business coaches and mentors who can walk alongside new and existing Navigator business practitioners. These mentors and coaches will empower Navigator entrepreneurs to stay focused on pursuing the triple bottom line that is being used in the Global Enterprise Network (GEN).
In this first Venture Village nine mentors, who were trained in the techniques of Lean Startup and coaching skills, met bi-weekly with nine aspiring entrepreneurs. Prize money was awarded at the end of the three-month course to the three entrepreneurs with the best business ideas. Investors will be reviewing all nine business plans for potential capital investments. The next Venture Village, which will begin at the end of September 2017, will train a new cohort of mentors to work with more new entrepreneurs so over time there will be a growing number of mentors/coaches to serve the ever-increasing number of missional entrepreneurs in Africa.
The operative principle behind training new business mentors/coaches is Ecclesiastes 4:9 - “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” By having trained business mentors/coaches working with new Christ-centered entrepreneurs to pursue a triple bottom line, God will ensure there will be a good return for their labor. This will enable the gospel to flow out of these businesses into communities around the world as business men and women live out their faith daily in the marketplace.
Says Matt, who trained the coaches, “Our passion is developing missional entrepreneurs to become lifetime laborers who can be fruitful in the marketplace where they will spend most their time.” Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about how to become an entrepreneurial mentor/coach.
On a busy corner in Guadalajara, Mexico, the scent of fresh bread beckons pedestrians into a rustic bakery. Once inside, however, the pleasing aroma of Christ draws customers to the bakery's mother and daughter owner-operators, Myriam and Adriana Sanchez.
Rogenbrott was founded in 2014 as a missional enterprise to share Christ among the lost. The Sanchez family had a dream of starting a business where they could use their God-given talents as bakers, provide for their economic needs, and share Christ with others. That is what is happening as God is fulfilling their daily prayer of “Lord, let us be a fragrant scent here; may You be who attends to the true needs of our clients and providers.”
The bakery sells homemade artisan bread to the community, and its impact is felt daily. Clients come in to purchase bread, and are charmed by the family who naturally shares Christ with them. Clients have learned that they can find a listening ear and someone who will pray for them. One client loves coming into the shop because she admires their peace and joy. When asked how they could always be so joyous, mom and daughter responded that it is Christ in them.
The bakery's providers are also being reached with the Gospel. Over the past year, the Sanchez family has developed a relationship with one supplier. Although he comes from a religious family, he didn´t understand the Gospel. The Sanchez family believes in making Jesus known through their daily lives, so it wasn´t long before their provider asked them to pray for his sick relative. They rejoiced together when the relative was restored to health. After, their new friend began to come to them for counsel, and they began studying God´s Word with him. The Sanchezes hope that this is just the first of many who will come to know Jesus as their Savior because of the bread store dedicated to the Lord.
The Gospel is being lived out in this bakery, and the pleasing aroma of Christ is fragrant to all. Will you take a moment and pray for this missional business, for the Sanchez family, and for other businesses serving to make Christ known around the world? “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15 ESV)
First element of the triple bottom line (TBL)– Spiritual Transformation.
Spiritual transformation is the first facet of the TBL and is the most crucial in distinguishing a missional enterprise from any other business venture. It is the hardest to accomplish and measure, but requires living out The Navigator Core and aiming for a multi-generational ministry starting within the context of a business. Although every missional enterprise needs to intentionally pursue the spiritual bottom line, the appearance can vary significantly between enterprises and regions of the world.
The intentional pursuit of a spiritual bottom line within the framework of The Navigators Core is the responsibility of every missional enterprise. There are almost an unlimited number of factors that influence the context and therefore the look of the spiritual transformation bottom line in each missional enterprise. Intentionality and integration is required.