21st century clergyman and entrepreneurship

Ernest Onuoha

“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 is highly illustrative. He wants man to be proactive, wherever he may be. Therefore, in line with His mandate, the 21st Century clergyman 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 the teeming youths. 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 that it has financial rewards, too. The clergyman is in a better position to affect lives positively both in the urban and rural setting. So, entrepreneurship becomes a vehicle that can help him realise 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, the entrepreneur is someone, who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.” 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 organisation, or by exploiting new raw materials.” Also, the father of economics, Adam Smith (1776) defines an entrepreneur as “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 as rice production, fishery, poultry, piggery, plantain plantation and other allied businesses that could grow overtime. Some Churches are blessed with vast arable land, which could be turned into gold mine overtime. There is usually a good thing about a humble beginning. What a clergyman needs to is to be courageous, skilful, 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 will surely 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 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 collapse as a result of corruption. We know that when money or products are not used for what they are meant, a business may not thrive after all. There is the need, therefore, to advise that integrity and accountability should be the credible ingredients that 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 licence to sin.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International
Ecumenical Centre,Agbarha-Otor,
Delta State.
www.ibrucentre.org



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