The Round Acre Project Overview
Is it possible to be called by God to be in business?
Could it be that your spiritual role is to be an entrepreneur?
The marketplace is where Jesus walked his talk – having an impact on the lives of people where it mattered most; not within the physical structure of the church building but in the marketplace, where they lived their everyday life. Do you warm to the invitation to walk in his footsteps?
For those of us who have accepted Christ as our personal savior the challenge set for us in the scriptures is to be fully engaged in the world, but to live and act in such a way that we are seen as being noticeably different. Living and working by a different set of rules and standards that are not of this worlds making. The Apostle Paul writing in Romans 12:2 exhorts us not just to be seen as acting differently but to be completely, fundamentally, transformationally different … by having a totally different mindset to the rest of society … “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. For the Christian Entrepreneur operating in the 21st century business marketplace, this is the most important call to which we need to respond. Is God calling you to be his appointed entrepreneur and to represent him in today’s marketplace?
In previous times Christian Entrepreneurs have responded to this challenge by running their business enterprises in keeping with scriptural guidance and with the clear priority of honouring God. Several centuries ago the Quaker movement walked their talk as a community of Christian Entrepreneurs by establishing their businesses on philosophies and principles embedded in their Christian beliefs. Many of these organisations had a significant impact in the industries of their day and we can still appreciate their legacy even up to recent times. Unfortunately, these beacons of good business conduct are seldom, if at all seen in today’s business world as the rules of engagement for the way the game of business is played today are significantly different from those laid down long ago.
During the period of the last two centuries the church has gone from being a strong and powerful voice in society and having a major influence on cultural standards to its position today where it is significantly less influential. Many people nowadays consider the church to be irrelevant at best and counter productive at worst. In short, the church – whichever branch of that Christian family tree we are a part of no longer speaks with any authority into society generally and the business community in particular. In this regard the church to all intents and purposes is no longer present IN the marketplace. There is much work to be done to address this problem. It may be the church as depicted by religious organisations, institutional bodies and physical structures will never regain its influence as the salt providing; light shining role it has occupied previously. If this is the case then how can we, the people who are members of the church bridge the ever-widening gap between God’s way and the world’s way? How can we be that much needed salt and light referred to in Matthews gospel 5:13-14 “You are like salt for the whole human race … You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
Is God calling us in our capacity as entrepreneurs who profess Christ as saviour to be that salt and light through our place in today’s marketplace? Is it time for us to pick up the baton passed on from those entrepreneurs of old who heard and responded to God’s call to be the change makers; called to be in the world but not of the world?
The world of business as experienced daily by literally millions of people is in a sorry state. The devastating impact on the lives of people resulting from the 2008 financial crash is clear for all to see. Many people have suffered the loss of property, jobs, investments etc. The majority of people are still attempting to put the pieces of their lives back together. What makes this situation all the more painful is that the problem did not occur from a simple case of bad luck. It is widely acknowledged that this was a man made problem where the underlying cause was greed. A relatively small group of people with power, influence and opportunity made decisions motivated by the desire for personal gain. The Biblical term for this particular type of greed is avarice – an insatiable greed for wealth, status and power. It is historically referred to as one of the seven deadly sins. The fact that many thousands of people have suffered significantly whilst those who caused the problem remain untouched, unpunished and seemingly unrepentant makes this aspect of the world of business all the more unacceptable. So what can and should we do about it? How do we change it?
Our challenge as God’s appointed entrepreneurs is to walk the talk i.e. to be as Jesus was and live as Jesus lived in and through our business enterprises. In order to do this we need to understand two things:
1. What exactly is our talk? What does the Bible have to say with regards to how I should run my business in a way that is honouring to God?
2. How should I walk? As my knowledge and understanding of what God is saying to me increases, what do I need to do in and through my business to show that I am his appointed entrepreneur – appointed to walk his talk in the business marketplace?
The Round Acre Project aims to help Christian Entrepreneurs equip themselves and their businesses to be the much needed change makers in today’s marketplace. We do this by providing a proposition that focuses on what the Bible says regarding how we should run our businesses in a way that glorifies God. The way we deliver this service is through a combination of methods including coaching, consulting, mentoring and training. These elements are blended together in what we believe to be a unique programme.
We recognise the existing model of business is unfair and unacceptable for many reasons – particularly the following:
- Businesses generally are conservative with the truth. They will tell customers only what they are required to within the framework of the law. The control over information is a significant cause of concern as it often leads to financial loss for consumers.
- Businesses generally provide goods and services that are not fully fit for purpose and/or have a limited shelf life. This overall lack of reliability is something many consumers find unfair and unacceptable.
- Businesses generally appear to be happy to compromise the needs of consumers when it comes to a question of business priorities and especially where easy profits can be made. The mass mis-selling of PPI is a classic example of businesses selling a product that was unfit for purpose but generated substantial profits for the business. Thankfully the banking community has been called to task on this matter and has been paying back significant sums from their ill-gotten gains for many years. However, The self-created rationale created by the high street banks to justify the wide range of service charges, fees and penalties is another example of businesses being allowed to operate unfairly while regulators appear to turn a blind eye to this greed driven practice. Unfortunately, the judicial outcome at the high court several years ago found in favour of the banking community. Whilst this may have been a correct decision based in law, it clearly fell short when measured against yardstick of decency, fairness and common sense.
- Businesses generally and business owners/leaders in particular are perceived as being interested only in the bottom line. The motivation and desire to achieve unjustified and disproportionate financial rewards along with power and influence is considered by the majority of people to be the main problem with business. The self serving attitude based on greed and personal gain rather than living up to their corporate fiduciary responsibility as the stewards of assets and resources belonging to customers, clients and consumers is the biggest bone of contention. Using and abusing their positions of leadership to avoid responsibility is the ultimate crime in the court of public opinion.
- Businesses generally do not share and make easily available all information necessary for people to make an informed and educated decision regarding the product and or service prior to purchase. Furthermore, the use of laboriously tedious documents eg terms and conditions, policy and procedures etc. that go on and, page after page are amongst the worst examples of hiding important information amongst a sea of legalese. This is a typical example of businesses consciously choosing to take an unhelpful approach to communication requirements.
We believe this has resulted in a significant loss of TRUST in today’s marketplace. To that end we have developed the Round Acre Project built on the cornerstone of Scripture and on the principles of TRUST:
How does it work?
The Round Acre Project has been specifically designed to help you consider your business from a Biblical perspective. Each element of the programme is rooted and grounded on the strong foundations of scripture. This is supported and delivered through a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who have been called by God to participate in this entrepreneurial work.