What is a Faith Driven Entrepreneur? - Henry Kaestner

Many things may drive you to start your own business. A great idea may prompt you to go into business for yourself, or a unique financial opportunity. Or maybe it’s just the insatiable desire to create something new in the marketplace. But what if it was faith that drove you? What would it mean to be an entrepreneur who is driven by faith? Guest Henry Kaestner is the author of Faith Drive Entrepreneur: What It Takes to Step Into Your Purpose and Pursue Your God-Given Call to Create. Henry is a serial entrepreneur with many successes under his belt, including Bandwidth, the telecommunications company he co founded, which counts Google, Microsoft, and Zoom among its clients. He is a managing principal in Sovereign’s Capital, a venture capital management company that invests over $100 million in faith-driven entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia and the US from its offices in Silicon Valley; Washington, DC; and Jakarta, Indonesia. Henry Kaestner is here today to talk about the blessings and challenges of pursuing entrepreneurship with faith.

Scripture References

  • Genesis 2:2
  • John 5:17
  • Proverbs 16:2
  • Proverbs 21:2
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Revelation 2:4

Additional Resources Referenced

Faith Driven Entrepreneur: What It Takes to Step Into Your Purpose and Pursue Your God-Given Call to Create, by Henry Kaestner, J.D. Greear, Chip Ingram

Faith Driven Entrepreneur:

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​​Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.

Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work.

LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace.

MR: I’m Mark Roberts.

LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.

LA: Many things may drive you to start your own business. A great idea may prompt you to go into business is for yourself. Or a unique financial opportunity. Or maybe it's just the insatiable desire to create something new in the marketplace. But what if it was faith that drove you? What would it mean to be an entrepreneur who is driven by faith? Our guest today, Henry Kaestner, is the author of the new book, Faith-Driven Entrepreneur. Henry is himself a serial entrepreneur with many successes under his belt, including Bandwidth, the telecommunications company he co-founded, which counts Google, Microsoft and Zoom among its clients. He's also a managing principal in Sovereign's Capital, a venture capital management company that invests over $100 million in faith-driven entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia and the US, from his offices in Silicon Valley, Washington DC and Jakarta, Indonesia. Henry Kaestner is here today to talk about the blessings and challenges of pursuing entrepreneurship with faith. Henry, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.

Henry Kaestner: Leah, thank you very much. Great to be with you.

LA: So I wanna start out with this idea of what does it mean to be a faith-driven entrepreneur? Probably a lot of us have an idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur, and some of us have an idea of what it means to be driven by faith, but put those two together and are we really talking about here?

HK: Great question. To some degree, one of the reasons why we got excited about calling it "faith-driven engineer" was in the title, and that is, this applies to every person that is an entrepreneur. What is it that drives them? I think that we can suggest, hopefully that everything we do, every person on the planet is driven by their faith in something, their belief in something. And so, what is it that drives us? What faith system drives us? So for Christ followers, we believe that there's an opportunity to be driven by our Christian faith, and that comes from really, and you'll get some of this in our discussion, I think, about the marks of a faith-driven entrepreneur. But there are two that are really important, that I think are seminal that really help with the title of "faith-driven entrepreneur". Number one, it's our call to create. When we are driven by our belief that God created the world and worked six out of seven days and that His work continues to this day, and you'll see that in the Gospel of John, when you believe that, it is a holy thing to be invited into the work that God is doing and bringing about His kingdom on earth as is in heaven. So that belief, that faith in a God who created the world, who's an active God, His work continues to this day, can drive us. The second thing, the second component, and the first two of the 11 marks of a faith-driven entrepreneur, are our identity in Christ, that can drive us. And that part about being driven is really, really important. So what drives us? So many Christ followers that are entrepreneurs are driven, and they'd never say it this way, but they're driven by the sense that they need to earn their own salvation, and to whom much is given, much is expected, and if you don't deliver, you're gonna be beaten with many blows. And while that passage is in Scripture, it is not... Taken by itself, it can cloud out the doctrine of grace and the fact that there's a God who so loves us, that He sent His Son to die for us. Even though we're as messed up as we all are, He sent His Son to die for us, to reconcile us to Him, and that we have an eternity with God. He loves us, Christ is in us. And the miracle of that is something that allows us to then be driven, out of gratitude and joy, and thanksgiving and worship, bringing all that we are, all of our giftings, our talents and our experience, to the altar as our meaningful form of worship. And that drives us. So what are we driven by? We're driven by a Christian faith. What does that mean? It means that we are invited into the incredible work that God is doing in the world and bringing about His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, and we are driven out of gratitude for the gift of life given us. And that is a powerful force.

LA: Now Henry, you mentioned this verse about God still working, which is in the Gospel of John, it's John chapter 5, verse 17, where Jesus says, "My Father is always at His work and I'm also working." Now, this sounds like an entrepreneur to me. In the, I guess our cultural idea of the entrepreneur, we have this idea of someone who's always working. Working, working, working. And so is this, I have to wonder, you picking out this particular verse, what does that mean to you? Have you felt particularly driven in your career, in the sense of always working?

HK: Oh I have, I have. I think that God put in me and puts into all of us, we're created in His image. So Calvin would say, and I'm a PCA elder, I'm very much an ecumenical, any Bible-believing church, and we serve Christ followers of all different denominations to be clear, and yet I tend to be driven by the sense of, the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever. And in order to know God, we have to look at what His attributes are in Scripture. And here we're presented in the Gospel of John with this image of a God who is working. It's so different than the images of so many other gods from other faith traditions, where it was out of amusement that the gods had the humans populate the Earth. No, there's a God who very much cares about humanity, cares about what's going on in the Earth, cares about justice and injustice, cares about the poor, and He's continuing to work. So if we're gonna be holy because God is holy, we need to understand what does that all mean? And so, I think that we just really tap into the image bearer that we all are when we understand, again, this attribute of a working God, and I think that we're invited into that. And I think that that's something that's important, because otherwise what might happen is a faith-driven entrepreneur might be tempted to think that they're a second-class citizen to the pastor or the missionary, but no, 39 of the 40 miracles that happen in Acts happened in the marketplace. And I think that there's a great precedent for us to really tap into that and to co-create with God and understand that there's a holiness to what we might aspire to in the marketplace.

LA: Okay, Henry, so I'm starting to get, okay, God is a worker and He enjoyed what He created, and He said it's very good. And then we are created in God's image, so you, as an entrepreneur, also have the ability to create something new and enjoy and say that it's good. Now, you must find entrepreneurs in your circle of contacts who are maybe not driven by faith or maybe not driven by their idea that they're made in the image of God. What's the opposite of a faith-driven entrepreneur? Is it a self-driven entrepreneur? What does it look like to fall into that trap?

HK: Oh, that's a great question, I've never been asked that before. And maybe it is a self-driven entrepreneur, driven by a naked ambition that is consumed by the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. That may very well be the case. I think that we all need to wrestle with that and just ask, ask yourselves, what motivates us? And that's really complicated, right? Proverbs tells us twice, 16:2 and 21:2, that all of a man's ways seem pure to him, but his motives are weighed by the Lord. Oh my goodness, that's really... That's tough to hear. 'Cause I even know enough to know that if I really ask myself about my motives, are they always pure? Are they always holy? They're not. There's no way about it. I'm a sinful man, falling way short of the glory of God. And so I think we need to be asking ourselves a lot about what does drive us, and I think that a corollary to that is another one of these marks that we suggest in the book, which is endeavoring to understand the difference between being willful and faithful. What are we trying to do under our own power, because it seems like it's the right thing to do? And when are we being faithful?

So let me see if I can give you a quick example and tell you a little bit more about what I mean there. Semi-famously, maybe not famously at all, but semi-famously, David and I talk about the time early on in Bandwidth. And Bandwidth is a company that has since gone public, and God's blessed it as we make phone numbers and the software that provisions them for people like Microsoft and Google and Zoom and Uber, and people like that. But early on, David and I had spent through all the money we had had available to start a company, so we came out to the West Coast and Sand Hill Road where I live now, and tried to raise money from venture capitalists. And we semi-famously, again, semi-famously went 0 for 40, we just were completely unsuccessful. Part of that we would chalk up to the fact that we would talk about our faith, typically not in the first visit, but absolutely in the second or third, and we felt that we were really potentially misunderstood as we talked about that and people didn't know what to make of us, and so they didn't invest. And yet the bigger story on that chapter in our life wasn't this prejudice that we experienced, although we may have experienced some, it was the fact that that was a season in our lives in which we were being willful. We would pray before we'd walk into a meeting with Redpoint or Sequoia, or USVP or others, that would come out of the meeting with a $20 million term sheet. So we'd pray, we're Christians, we prayed. But we never prayed and fasted about whether we should be raising money at all to begin with. And through God's infinite mercy allowed us to not raise money, which was the absolute right thing, we didn't know it at the time, but that was the season in which we were being willful. And there are other seasons throughout the 20 years of Bandwidth, in which you can look at any type of what was going on in the company and see where we were being willful. David and I were actually reflecting on this, we went on a camping trip with our boys a couple of years ago. It was in the drive between Yosemite and Tahoe where we were reflecting on these different seasons at Bandwidth where we really felt that God was blessing us, and times when we're trying to do things in our own power. And David said, "You know, guys, it feels like the Bible. Saul was supposed to wait on Samuel, but he just went off and did what he thought seemed best at the time, yet Gideon was really faithful." And when you look at the difference between willful and faithful, you can do... You can be willful and faithful in activity, and you can also be willful and faithful in passivity. Sometimes we're supposed to take action and supposed to go off on mission and we don't. You think about David, when kings were supposed to go off in a war, he stayed behind and obviously that didn't go well for him. So I think that we need to understand what our motives are, and then what's the tenor, the temperature of our heart and our posture, and why are we doing what we're doing? Those questions that we can ask just generally as Christ followers, I think are helpful, but yes, especially as entrepreneurs.

LA: I love these biblical examples that you point out, of characters that we have in the Old Testament, who gave us some good examples of what it looks like to be willful. Mark, do you have a favorite, among of either... Who do you wanna talk about? Should we talk about David? Should we talk about Saul? Who do you like among the examples that Henry mentioned?

MR: Well, you know, I had already skipped over into the New Testament. [chuckle] But partly it would be Peter, is just like the paradigm of willful, always doing things, and often making a fool of himself, as we often do when we're willful. The thing that's so encouraging to me about that is that God continues to use and shape and mold willful people. And that's where I guess that really connects back, Henry, to what you were saying right up front about identity. 'Cause I think if somebody picks up your book, you know, they might even say, "I'm the creative... Yeah, this is kind of... I was thinking maybe along these lines," but then you hit hard on the way it's who we are in Christ, that is so important. So that you're oriented in grace and God's grace in Christ. And you know, if I read in your book and not knowing you, I think, "Wait a minute, I think this was gonna be on entrepreneurship. What's the deal? Now you're just talking about who we are in Christ." Which of course, your point is. That's so important, and part of the reason that's so important is it says, "Yeah, God will use people who have messed up, God uses wilful people, but in the process, teaches us to be more reliant and more submitted." I think of, Henry, you may know Terry Looper, who's an entrepreneur down in the Houston area...

HK: Sure.

MR: And written a wonderful book called Sacred Pace, which is pretty much the whole book is about how you can learn to release everything to the Lord so that you can be open to what He wants to say to you. And so it's again, it's filling in that how do you make that transition from willfulness to faithfulness, which is a really different approach to entrepreneurship.

HK: It is indeed. It is indeed. Actually I wanna give you another example from the Old Testament, since we're talking about that. And part of it is this insecurity that I've had ever since coming to Christ at 28, so I'm an adult convert. But as I came to faith, it was God speaking to me through His Word in the New Testament. And David, my best friend and business partner for so long, but because that was so formative in me coming to faith, I hadn't in my early days at all, spent much time in the Old Testament. And some of my favorite leadership examples, of course, are in the Old Testament, and sometimes I'm discovering them new. I'll tell you what I discovered from the Old Testament that's really rocked my world as a faith-driven entrepreneur. Over the course of the last, I guess it was probably 24 months ago that I discovered this for the first time, though I have read the Bible through many times. But it was until two years ago that I fell in love with the good kings of Judah in 2 Chronicles. And so if you're reading through the Bible, 1 Chronicles is a lot of the genealogies, and it's hard to get a lot from those, although I've been in a Bible study with folks who have gotten a lot from it, it just blows me away their understanding different themes, but we won't get into that now. But 2 Chronicles, you got the bad kings of Judah, and you got the good kings of Judah. So you'll expect on a podcast like this, that it's pretty obvious to not do the things that the bad kings of Judah did. And yet, it's the lessons of the things to not do, that the good kings of Judah did, that I think is what really just underpins the challenges and the pitfalls that we might experience as a faith-driven entrepreneur.

LA: So give us an example that really stands out for you?

HK: Okay. So I think that there's seven of them, I might be wrong. Or maybe there are six, maybe there are eight. But every single one of them made a mistake in not seeking God out. For one of them, and I should know which one it was, it was a trade deal. For several of them, it was whether to go off into battle or not. Now, the Bible says that these were men after David's heart, who in turn, David's heart was after God's heart. So we know they're godly men that are in these leadership positions, and we can suppose that and presume that they made the decisions that they thought were in the best interest. They used their common sense. And yet they didn't seek God. Joshua, of course, another example is Joshua looked at the food stores of the Gibeonites, but didn't seek God out as to whether to do a treaty with them or not. And I find so many times during the day, I'll make decisions and I don't seek out God. Now, I'll make the decisions based on what I think is right, and I'm a man, hopefully, that's after God's heart, and I'd like to think that my common sense is developed and becoming better, and yet there's such great examples with the godliest of men who are in leadership and were the good kings, every single one of them made a mistake by not seeking God out.

LA: What I'm hearing from this Henry, is that faith-driven to you in your entrepreneurial life doesn't just mean, "Oh, general, I'm driven by my faith, my morals in general are driven by my faith," but you're really thinking, "In every single action, in every single decision, can I be driven by my faith? Can I go back to God and God's Word?" Am I stretching too much here?

HK: Well, in theory, you're 100% right. I'd like to think I'm that. [chuckle] In practice, I'm anything but it, and I fall short every day. One of the reasons why I like doing podcasts like this is because it becomes a reminder to myself of how important these principles are. How important it is to pray, to seek God out. I can think of decisions I made yesterday where I didn't pause and make the 30-second prayer that Nehemiah must have made when Artaxerxes asked him what to do about the demolition of Jerusalem, and it says he might have prayed.

LA: Give us an example, Henry. Tell me what happened yesterday that we can learn from, from your experience?

HK: I had to think about international partnerships with faith-driven entrepreneur. So those are some of the things going right now, we're excited about a global movement of faith-driven entrepreneurs coming together and united around the marks, and trying to make sure that we partner very, very well locally, and that we also know which communities and cities you go into where we do something under the faith-driven entrepreneur brand, and where we go through and we work in partnership with some of the great organizations that are out there.

Praxis does such a great job in equipping faith-driven entrepreneurs. Ocean does such a great job. And there's the community in Egypt, and there's Triga in South Africa. And so as we talk about how to work together, I'm not praying before every one of those meetings.

I think about personnel decisions we're making yesterday, we're expanding our team to tell more stories. I went ahead and had a call with a new person, and I think it's gonna go right. We made a decision about whether to bring them on board or not. But I don't remember praying before we decided to bring this person on board. Yesterday, maybe there are dozens of different decisions that were made about how to allocate capital, grand capital or investment capital. And I did not, I'm sure that I did not pray before every one of them. And then that extends to my personal life too, so how are we thinking about our family vacation time? How are we thinking about who takes Grant to a lacrosse tournament this weekend? I don't think that we should be paralyzed by not being able to make a decision unless we hang out in our prayer room for hours on end, but I think that we need to seek God out for all the decisions that we make, and I need to, let me just say it, I need to do more of it than I'm doing it now.

LA: I have to say, Henry, thank you so much for giving that honest example. Because it's so easy to fall guilty of just not checking in. I'm certainly guilty of it as well. I'm thinking of a staff meeting that I was in earlier this week where I opened my mouth and took control over the discussion, as I like to do. And afterwards I thought, "You know, I really wanted to hear someone else's opinion on this." I really went into that meeting thinking, "I wanna hear so and so's opinion," and I did not let so and so, give so and so the breathing room to share that opinion, you know. Because... And it could have gone better if I had taken a couple of moments and gotten quiet with God beforehand and said, "God, You sit on my tongue, You can tell me... Help me know when it's time for me to open my mouth and when it's time for me to be quiet." Even though I went in that meeting with the best of intentions, it's so being faith-driven in my actual work makes me need to remember that God is at work today. Like we said in John chapter 5, verse 17. God is still at work today. God can still work in me, not just He unleashed this whole system and then went in the back room to have a siesta.

HK: Indeed. Yup.

LA: Mark, let me bring you into this conversation. I cannot imagine that you have ever had an experience where you regretted not checking in with God in your work? [chuckle] You must be on a different spiritual plane than the two of us.

MR: Absolutely. [chuckle] No, I was sitting here Henry, as you were talking, thinking, "Oh my gosh, all the times I wished I'd checked in with the Lord." And I'm obviously mostly thinking of times I've said or done really stupid things, but you know, there are the other times too, where I didn't do something stupid, but I think... So earlier in my life, I think I was just inclined to think, "Well, I pray in the morning and I offer my day to God, and that's all good." And I think that is good. I think the growing edge for me, and Henry, you're really stirring this up again, you're getting me thinking about this, that how can we develop the practices and the habit just in our life, where it becomes just almost second nature to turn to the Lord again and again and again. Jesus, in this passage where talks about God working, also talks about doing what the Father is doing. Well, how do we know if we don't pause and ask and are open? And it's just such a different way of thinking about what could become just normal, standard operating procedure. I'm gonna turn to the Lord again and again. As you say, it doesn't have to take hours, it could be very brief. A moment of surrender, a moment of openness, and let God guide and speak. And that's really down to earth too, I like that. That's something that any of us could say, "Okay, I need to work on this," and I know I do.

LA: Henry, get really practical with us. How do we do this in the course of our work day?

HK: Okay. Well, let's start right now. Heavenly Father, we ask that all the listeners to this would be able to seek You out and You'd give a stirring in their heart where they'd want more of You and want more of Your guidance, and they'd hear from You and Your Word and through their prayer time. So we pray for that in Jesus' name. Number one. Number two, I think that there is a great opportunity to get together with other men and women that are also faith-driven entrepreneurs, that fall prey... That might otherwise fall prey to the same challenges of trying to do something under their own strength. And also are familiar with some of the challenges that are practical for a, for an entrepreneur. Do I hire a non-believing senior member of my team or not? How do I think about firing? How do I think about intellectual property? How do I think about customer acquisition costs? How do I think about delighting my customers? All those different types of things are best to really accomplished in community. Because I think that God created us to be in community. The entrepreneurship journey can be a very, very lonely experience, and so I think it's really important that we seek out fellowship and community, and say, "Let's help each other to be vigilant to the different types of marks that we believe are universal and true." And so we know that... And it's just, and it's the group discussion, somebody says, "You know, I don't think I seek God's will out enough." Maybe somebody else says, "I don't think I am able to make decisions. I'm indecisive." Maybe somebody else says, "I don't think I've got a really good filter for how I talk in the workplace." Somebody else might say, "I don't know that I'm doing a great job of loving on my family and my kids during this season." And so as we lay bare our sins or the challenges that we have, and what we think and fear might be some of our blind spots, but we're not even really sure, and then come into community with others that can hold us accountable and help us to find out even the blind spots, 'cause there are blind spots that we don't even know. Just like, "Dude, you've never really talked about the fact that you stumble with pride, but maybe you do, right?" Being able to speak the truth in love in a community. 'Cause God created us to be in fellowship and community together. So I think that's a practical thing we can all do as entrepreneurs, understand the entrepreneurship journey by itself can be lonely. Number two, taking positive steps towards getting community where it's less lonely, and we're much less likely to make some of those repeated challenges of not seeking God out or any of the other spiritual disciplines, or the right way to love on our family and have the right priorities, and the list goes on.

MR: That's so wise. I appreciate you saying that, 'cause I was literally thinking back to the, probably the stupidest thing I ever said in my tenure at Fuller and in a meeting, and one of the things I did with that then was... I have a spiritual director, so I talked to him at length about that, and I learned a lot. And some of it was not easy to hear, but he's there, he loves me and wants what's best for me, and so it became a growth experience. And I think your encouragement to us to have places of community where you can go deeper with people and deal with the deeper, that just seems so right on, and I'm so glad you've mentioned that.

LA: So I wonder, Henry, if you would have different advice for someone that's mature in their entrepreneurship journey and someone who's just starting out, do you think the challenges in terms of faith are different in different career stages?

HK: Yeah. Gosh, wow. You ask really good questions. I've never been asked this one before. I think that in some ways, each side has its advantages and disadvantages. A mature Christ follower can be lulled into a sense of complacency, that they feel that they've got their faith, they're into the spiritual disciplines, they understand and have a sense about some of the themes that are in Scripture, and they're not as active in their faith in a sense of marvel and awe that a new Christ follower might have. So being an adult convert myself, there is a sense of awe and gratitude and just energy around the fact that, "Oh my goodness, there's a God who loves me, and I'm gonna spend eternity with Him. And I now have a sense of purpose in life that I didn't have before." And maybe it's like, and this is probably a bad analogy, but maybe it's like falling in love. It's just the eros, it's just this incredible energy and enthusiasm that comes from that. That's an incredible force. A relationship, a marriage looks a lot different when you've been married for 24, 25 years as I have been, versus when you're first dating. So you have to sometimes be intentional in your marriage of making sure that you still have that passion, and you have to work on it. Same thing, I think, for mature Christ follower. Am I in awe of the fact that the Almighty God of the universe has sent His Son to die for me? To reconcile me to Him. I can't earn it, it's a gift, I get it. And that has eternal ramifications. And I confronted with that every day? And does that drive my business meetings and the joy that I have, that becomes winsome? That's, when you're early in your faith, you've got that. And so there's also some wisdom. I can remember some of the mistakes I made as a young Christ follower, things became very black and white, I became pretty prescriptive and presumptuous, I became pretty judgmental. There are all sorts of different things that really made my Christian witness not as effective as it is, I think in some ways now later on. So I think that really the challenges for a new faith-driven entrepreneur and an old faith-driven entrepreneur really come from just our motives and just our experience in faith that are shared by every Christ follower regardless of vocation. It's, how well acquainted am I with a gift that's been given me, and I think that new Christ followers have advantages there over old Christ followers. And yet...

MR: You know... Sorry, Henry.

HK: Yeah, please.

MR: I was just gonna say, if I were Leah, I would now say that there's a Bible verse for that. It's from Revelation 2, and it's this letter that, from Christ actually to the church in Ephesus. And He really affirms the church in its maturity and its endurance, and He's very affirming, but he says, "But I have this against you, that you've lost your first love, or that you've abandoned the love you had at first." And I just think that's exactly what you're describing here, that can come with more maturity. Then some of what the wonder of the faith and the love of Christ, you know, you hate to say it, almost becomes passe or just ordinary. And so I think what you're talking about there, that's a great encouragement for those of us who've been Christians for a long time, as I have been. And the question, what are we doing to nurture that first love, that love for Christ? And I think that's a great word. And Leah, I referenced the Scripture text.

LA: You did. Revelation 2:4, you did a very good job, Mark. [chuckle]

HK: He did. He did. He blessed me with it.

LA: I'm proud of you there. But this idea, I'm gonna grab a hold of it, Mark, this idea that Jesus is speaking to this church who had, I guess a lot of passion at their founding and then kind of got a little bit complacent. Do you also feel like that applies to your entrepreneurship journey, that you maybe lean on God less when you have a lot of successes under your belt, than when you're first in that, in all those lines of failures you talked about earlier?

HK: Oh, absolutely. That's something you have to be internally vigilant on. When you have to rely on God, and the Scripture reference here, I think Leah you're bringing us to is, "Give me neither poverty nor riches." And as we have been given riches, it is pretty easy to be less reliant on God. If you're not reliant on God to be able to provide your daily sustenance, there's a powerful faith there, and it's pretty easy to fall into the just, needing to rely on God in a different level. And that's a real danger.

LA: And I imagine that, it's funny you say that, 'cause I imagine that's a extra danger for entrepreneurs, where the ethos of entrepreneurship is so much "rely on yourself"?

HK: Yes, yes, yeah, and that's the countercultural narrative here, is that we need to be fully relying on God, and we just need to be so much more conscious of that as we end up having success. And it's really important for that to be the case, because the, number one, we're tempted to not have to rely on God as much when we have success. But the danger there is that now, if we're not fully relying on a God, we increase the chances of us doing something where God wouldn't lead us. And now the stakes are so much higher because we have so much of a greater platform. You think about all the folks that have fallen from positions as they've achieved success and they are less reliant on God, and then when they fall, it's, oh, it's awful, right? Because it's public now, and so many more lives are impacted. And that's why it's so important that I think that we pour into our leaders, because the degree that they become more successful and maybe they're less reliant on God, and then when they're less reliant on God... And our heroes, you think about so many different people over the course of the last 10 years who might be thought of as earthly heroes, which is dangerous in and of itself, but people who are exemplars of the Christian faith in the marketplace and out. And the fact that they've fallen. Oh it's an awful tragedy.

LA: So I wanna get to a last piece of advice, if you could wrap this up for our listener. What do you wanna do if you wanna become a faith-driven entrepreneur? Obviously, they're gonna pick up the book, Faith Driven Entrepreneur and learn about some really specific traits that you can cultivate in your life if you wanna be a faith-driven entrepreneur. But Henry, just from you shooting off the cuff, what do you think is most important for people to do today to make a step to be more faith-driven in their career?

HK: So this is gonna sound pithy or cliche or trite, but it's spending more time with God. It's just asking God, "God, should I be an entrepreneur or should I not be an entrepreneur?" Spending time in God's Word and seeing how He's speaking to you. 'Cause I believe... Mark Green's a friend of mine, and he signs off on every email and says, "This book is alive." Well, it is. And as we get more acquainted with God's Word, as He speaks to us, we're gonna be able to... You're gonna be able to just find more joy, and we're gonna find more joy and purpose in life because we're gonna be that much more in line with God's plan for us. And then it's getting in a community with people. And that's hard. The organization and managing schedules, and sometimes being in a group with people that sometimes are draining to you. Being in relationship is messy, but it's so biblical and we just need to do it. And so that's the advice I'd give. It surely wouldn't be to buy the book. I love the book, and I got a chance to co-author it with Chip Ingram and with JD Greear. And then Lecrae wrote the forward, which makes me culturally relevant for my three teenage boys, so that's great. And maybe it's how it put some flesh on some of these bones, and yet is so far second to just the very basics that we all know as Christ followers we need to do. But if there's a message you pick up from our time that we spent together today, it's just that God is active and He's working, His work continues right now. We've been invited to participate with Him in the building out of His kingdom, under His power for His glory. And when we can tap into that truth and just ask God, He'll give us all we need. As simple as that and as hard as that.

LA: I love that. Mark, what stood out for you? What's your takeaway from this conversation? I feel like I have a lot to chew on in my own life in terms of checking in with God a little bit more about my day-to-day decisions. You tell me what struck you, Mark?

MR: Well, two things. The first one isn't quite answering your question, but it's relevant given what we've just said. You already know this because I mentioned it before we started recording, but I'm visiting with a friend up in Washington State, and he sent me into his office to do this podcast, and sitting on the top of his book pile literally, is Faith Driven Entrepreneur. And he had no idea who I was doing the podcast with. I said, "Wow, you've got that book." He said, "Oh yeah. It's a great book. I just finished it." So I appreciate you saying, Henry, that reading your book isn't the main thing, but I have a completely unbiased report from a reader who has just told me it's a great book. So I just...

LA: Who is himself an entrepreneur.

MR: Yeah. So I do wanna just say that. You know, what struck me Henry, what you said, it's like, it boils down to spend time with God. So that is so much like, isn't it, what Jesus says in John 15, that if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. And even verse 8, "The Father is glorified by this, that we bear much fruit." But the bearing of fruit is our abiding in Christ individually, but of course, a grapevine doesn't have just one branch, it's branches. And that's the body of Christ part you mentioned. But what you just talked about, I think that's really what Jesus says, if you wanna be fruitful in life, and this isn't just in "spiritual things", if you wanna be fruitful in life, and that fruitfulness is honoring to God, what do we do first? We abide in Christ along with the other branches, and that's where our fruitfulness is gonna come. So this has been, I think, for me, just a great reminder of that reality, that fruitfulness in life comes from the deeper relationship with Christ, and then in being with Christ's people. And man, I always can use that reminder.

LA: Thank you so much, Mark. And Henry, thank you so much for joining us. It's been a great conversation. Thank you.

HK: Leah, I've really enjoyed it. Thank you for the honor and privilege. Mark, great to be with you again.

MR: You too. Thank you, Henry.

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