Missional Entrepreneurship

James Kwon, Todd Sorrell and Joshua Ungerecht have several things in common.

All three are entrepreneurs who hold degrees from The Master’s University. Each man also knows what it means to hold to Scripture as the final authority on everything in life, including setting up a business.

That’s one reason they stopped by TMU this year for a panel discussion regarding “Missional Entrepreneurship.” They wanted to help Master’s students answer the question, “How does God’s Word instruct us on the activity of venturing?”

The trio knows that of which it speaks.

As a technology entrepreneur who earned his bachelor’s in organizational management from TMU, Kwon has led the development of technology and product for Fortune 500 organizations. He is also the co-founder and CEO of ePallet, an artificial intelligence-powered business-to-business marketplace and logistics company.

Sorrell, for his part, is an attorney of over 25 years and author of “The College Choice,” having completed a master’s degree in biblical counseling from TMU and launched several successful businesses.

And Ungerecht holds a bachelor’s in theology from TMU and is the CEO and chief investment officer of JRW Investments, as well as a managing member of Telos Capital and ExchangeRight, having overseen and underwritten the acquisition of more than a billion dollars in real estate.

For these men, there is no sacred-secular divide in vocation. As Dr. John Beck, himself a successful businessman, investor, and entrepreneur (as well as the dean of TMU’s School of Business and Communication) says, “We are all in full-time Christian ministry regardless of vocation.”

The opportunity is vast. “Economists consider the capacity for entrepreneurship to be a natural national resource on par with oil and mineral reserves,” Beck says. “Globalization and international trade have currently created a situation where the potential for access through commercial enterprise can carry the believer’s presence into environments where a missionary visa simply would not be possible. So this is a strategic area for our Lord and for our church, as well as a significant area of resource generation.”

Kwon, Sorrell and Ungerecht emerge from this field as strong examples. During TMU’s panel discussion, they addressed issues of work-life balance, equity partnership and the roles of a mission-focused entrepreneur.

“From a stewardship standpoint,” Ungerecht says, “entrepreneurship is great because it’s one of the few places where you can reach people who have no desire whatsoever to engage with church or parachurch organizations.

“They don’t have to show up to church. They don’t have to show up to other ministry organizations that proclaim Christ. But they do have to show up to work. It’s this awesome opportunity to steward and love people.”

Kwon agrees. “I think it’s an opportunity for people to see, ‘Hey, you know what, this person cares about excellence, cares about the business and results, but he also cares about people.’”

For these entrepreneurs, starting a business is not primarily important because it solves an inefficiency and makes a profit – though those are crucial goals, too. Rather, the eternal purpose behind it is what drives them – the opportunity to glorify the Lord in everything they do by prioritizing their God-given roles as husbands and fathers ahead of their work as businessmen, and by giving their lives as ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace.

“You need to be thinking 1,000 years down the road to, ‘What will God do with what I am willing to do with my life right now for Him?’” Sorrell says. “And if your answer is, ‘I don’t want to think that far ahead,’ then you’re not being eternally strategic.”

Sorrell, Beck, Kwon and Ungerecht want students at The Master’s University to know with conviction that, “Creating businesses is meaningful if it’s meaningful for the Gospel.” This would be a central tenet of the entrepreneurial studies degree program that TMU is developing and hopes to launch in the next few years. TMU also plans to offer a non-degree certificate (the programs are pending WSCUC approval).

“We couldn’t be more excited to see how the Lord will use businesses that we invest in for his glory,” Beck says.

To learn more about TMU’s School of Business & Communication, click here.

Staff Focus: Jonny Ardavanis

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