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How do I combine ministry and business?

September 17th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I am your distant student here in South Africa. I am struggling to reconcile my passion to be a committed Bible teacher and create a real estate business at the same time. The general view of most Christians is that to be successful Bible teacher zone must be divorced from running businesses.

Over the years I have been finding it hard to abandon either of these passions. If it is Biblically correct to integrate Bible teaching and creating a real estate investment business, how can I do it successfully and in a way that pleases God? I have been thinking of setting up a leadership and business training business in South Africa,that upholds and teaches Biblical principles as you have explained in your books, Thou Shalt Prosper and Business Secrets from the Bible. How can it be Biblically correct that students pay for learning about leadership and business from the Bible? 

Thank you in advance for shedding some light in this matter-May God bless you and the work you are doing, you are changing our lives for good here in South Africa.

∼ Emmanuel N.

Answer:

Dear Emmanuel,

First of all, let me say how happy I was to hear from you.  As you might know, I was born in South Africa and I think that no matter what, we all retain a primeval emotional connection to our birthplace.  So if we can help you in any way, we would be helping not only you but also the other citizens of South Africa whom I remember with fondness.

Second, we are delighted that you have found our books and programs helpful. We think that you may be asking two separate questions. The first is about pursuing two passions; the second is about combining them.

Each one of us is meant to teach God’s Word. We must always look for someone who knows more than us from whom we must learn, and we must look for someone who knows less than us whom we must teach. However, if you are talking of ministering as a life-work, then it would be extraordinarily difficult to also run a real-estate investment company. The problem won’t be that the two ideas conflict, but rather that there are only twenty-four hours in a day.

Remember that business is meant to be competitive because that encourages hard work, frugality, and efficiency.  All this guarantees that people will be able to purchase their needs and wants at affordable prices.  This means that you will be competing against others who are devoting ALL their time and work energies to their business.  Nobody can succeed doing part time what others are doing full time.

We can and should have a family, a business and a spiritual life. Having two ‘businesses’ is impossible for most of us. Especially when setting up a business—or a ministry—it needs our full energies and devotion.

Your second question is about earning a living in combination with your Ministry, by charging for your teachings. As you know, we have a non-profit Ministry, the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, but we sell our books, audio CDs and DVDs. This was a thought out decision on our part. After years of non-profit ministry, we felt that what we were offering would be most successful if our students would ‘buy in’ by means of the investment in the purchase of our resources.  This would encourage our students to put in the necessary work to get value from our resources. People tend to value what they pay for.

Charging also gives us a metric to evaluate how well we are serving people. If we sell items; people see value in them. If we don’t, then even if some people would donate a great deal of money for us to produce our works, we are not serving large numbers. We in no way see that our for-profit arm diminishes the work we do. Rather, the income from that helps our non-profit work and enhances what we do.

We encourage you to continue thinking about your future plans on how to contribute to your country.  Maybe some time I will be brought to teach in .  I’d sure love to see the Drakensburg, the Kruger Park, Durban and Cape Town again.

Wishing you success,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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