Faith and Work: An Exploratory Study of Religious Entrepreneurs
2. Literature Review
2.1. Religion in Society
2.2. Individualized Religion
2.3. Religion and Work
2.4. Entrepreneurial Behavior and Religion
2.5. Religion Shaping Entrepreneurial Activity
|First Name||Job||Age||Religious Denomination|
|Kori||Day Care Provider||45||Missouri Synod Lutheran|
|Ben||Real Estate Agent||36||Lutheran|
|Barker||Writer||74||Assembly of God|
|James||Packing Company Owner||43||Non-Denominational|
|Sarah||Flower Shop Owner||39||Catholic|
|John||Diet/Exercise Company Owner||42||Non-Denominational|
|Gary||Day Camp Director||62||Lutheran|
|Mary||Children’s Center Owner||41||Methodist|
|Marvin||Pool Company Owner||36||Baptist|
|Carrey||Pool Company Owner||36||Baptist|
|Pam||Scrapbooking Company Owner||29||Catholic|
|Jane||Photographer/Portrait Studio Owner||26||Presbyterian|
|Brian||Property Management Company Owner||28||Lutheran|
|Jay||Financial Planner||56||Assembly of God|
|Randy||Car Repair Shop Owner||43||Baptist|
4.1. Individualized Faith
Religion is not about going to church, or following what someone tells you to do. It is about following the values of your faith, the values that you grew up with as a kid in church, and about really applying these to your life (interview data).
I stopped going to church not because I lost any of my faith, but because my life just became too busy for it. There wasn’t time for everything and I felt as though going to church wasn’t the only way or time that I could express my faith. My faith is part of my life everyday, in all the things that I do. My faith is what guides me and helps me make decisions. My faith is expressed every time I make a decision for my family or business, or help someone, it is not limited to being expressed at church—it is bigger than that (interview data).
My faith is what guides everything else in my life, it is a part of everything that I do, and not going to church doesn’t change that. I know what values are important, and what needs to be a focus in my life, my faith tells me this, I don’t need to go to church to learn how to do this or to make it possible (interview data).
4.2. Resolving the Tension
What is important is that I get to live the kind of lifestyle that I want, one that emphasizes my family and my faith. One that I don’t have to constantly be searching for me to find these things and make time for them, but one that emphasizes them. I want my faith to show in my work (interview data).
There was this constant tension before between my faith and work, everything else in my life revolved around work before starting this business, now work revolves around all the important things. Starting a business allowed me to build work around my faith, and the values that come with this. Now the two don’t conflict (interview data).
4.3. Entrepreneurial Behavior within a Religious Framework
4.3.1. Putting Family First
How did I incorporate my faith in my work? I had to do what is most important to my faith, prioritizing and provide for my family. I needed to find something that would allow my family to come first. I couldn’t miss any more important moments because of work. I am not here to make money, I am here to take care of my family. However, my family needs to be provided for, so I need a job that would understand that and make them the priority (interview data).
I learned from growing up in church just how important family is. God put our families there to love us, to be our support, and in return we need to put them first in our lives, and be with them (interview data).
I wanted something that I could do with my wife, something that I could be with her and share with her every day. I felt like we barely saw each other before, and now we work alongside each other every day (interview data).
My faith means loving my family, being close to them and sharing our lives together. I couldn’t do this when we barely saw each other. Now we get to share everything, even our work (interview data).
I also don’t do any business on Sundays. I think that this just tells people that I need this time for myself, my faith and my family. Instead of hurting my business, I think that this makes them respect me more…Bringing my faith to my work means bringing me to my family, and being there to have quality family time with them. To support them and guide them, which is why God put me here (interview data).
4.3.2. Demonstrating Good Character
A person can’t just be religious, and a good person on Sunday, they need to do this all the time, and not secretly be doing this, but constantly lead with this type of character (interview data).
I strive to be an honest, hardworking, trustworthy person, a person of strong, good character; therefore all of my business dealings are honest, hardworking and trustworthy. Every decision I make, every labor task I do is grounded in these. At my old job I had these traits, but my work wasn’t based on them, now it is (interview data).
My faith comes through in the way that I relate to people. I mean not that I am preaching to them or anything, but the character that I show. I think that my faith makes me a strong, reliable person, and others see those characteristics. I think that it’s reflected in how I treat my staff members and deal with issues that arise (interview data).
Well I try to show people my faith, not because I want to convert them or anything but because I want them to know what I am all about. I want to show them what is important to me and what ideals I hold. I think that a lot of times this adds substance to the person that others see me as. If I am strong in my faith then they know how I am going to treat them (interview data).
4.3.3. Helping Others
Young kids need good role models, they need someone who will be there, who really cares for them, will take care of them and also teach them valuable lessons, which is exactly what I get to do every day now (interview data).
People come in here everyday, and they feel bad about themselves, they need someone to help them physically, but more than that they need someone to see them, someone to love on them, and that is what the company and I are all about. We help them (interview data).
We will do almost anything to keep it so that people feel loved, almost to the detriment of the business sometimes. We want to help our staff, not only make a profit (interview data).
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© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Griebel, J.M.; Park, J.Z.; Neubert, M.J. Faith and Work: An Exploratory Study of Religious Entrepreneurs. Religions 2014, 5, 780-800. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel5030780
Griebel JM, Park JZ, Neubert MJ. Faith and Work: An Exploratory Study of Religious Entrepreneurs. Religions. 2014; 5(3):780-800. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel5030780Chicago/Turabian Style
Griebel, Jenna M., Jerry Z. Park, and Mitchell J. Neubert. 2014. "Faith and Work: An Exploratory Study of Religious Entrepreneurs" Religions 5, no. 3: 780-800. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel5030780