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Entrepreneurial | äntrəprəˈnərēəl | adjective, to explore new pathways with innovation, gusto, creativity, and freedom
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) is pleased to make available funds to catalyze our Regions’ engagement by joining in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation in new and exciting ways. These financial resources were raised in ECCT’s 2019-2020 Joining Jesus initiative, where generous individual donors and eight parishes designated roughly $750,000 to the Region Entrepreneurial Fund (REF). These funds — designated for distribution over the next five or six years — are intended for exciting, innovative, new or expanding ministries that engage and energize parishes, Ministry Networks, and community partners within our Regions.
This is a real opportunity for Episcopalians, with our allies and partners, to dream big and imagine together: How might we, within our Region’s communities, join Jesus more deeply in God’s work to change the world?
The entrepreneurial initiative is marked by taking a risk that God is willing to lead us in some pretty extraordinary ways, moving from a “good idea” to mapping out some possibilities and actually trying them on.
Who is the ENTREPRENEUR?
- She’s self-motivated. She pushes herself and recognizes that she’s answerable to herself. She’s dedicated to her plan, keeps moving forward, and keeps her eye on the goal.
- He understands his big idea and how it fits. Whether product or service, he knows how the big idea will make a difference and he’s able to offer meaningful possibilities for the community around him.
- They take risks. Playing it safe rarely leads to success. The difference between “risk” and the “calculated risk” is an important distinction and understanding what is more likely to pay off — and making a shift, even mid-stream — is critical.
- He knows how to network. Who he knows is as important as what he knows. Knowing who has skin in the game and is already playing on the court is essential to moving from the “big idea” to the next level. Partnerships, allies, co-contributors, and thought partners are key to moving broadly and deeply with an idea.
- They know money. As much as they’re “big picture thinkers,” the entrepreneur has basic money management skills and has team members to assist in accounting for every effort given and the monetary cost behind the effort. They know how money works and how to provide sound backup for dollars spent.
- She’s flexible and impassioned. Her willingness to adapt and change is essential for her be responsive, not only initially as the project is scoped, but also throughout, to meet new challenges and ideas as they arise, from “big idea” to “reality.” She empowers, inflames, focuses, responds, and regroups by reminding everyone to see their effort through the lens of the “big idea.”
The Entrepreneurial Opportunity is:
- Missional: It is rooted in God’s plan to send followers into the world to engage the work of restoration and reconciliation;
- Collaborative: It requires commitment on the part of two or more parishes/worshipping communities and/or a Ministry Network to begin new or expand existing ministries within or across Regions;
- Transformational: It offers the real possibility of improving the quality of individuals’ lives and the health and viability of neighborhoods and larger communities;
- Innovative: It is new, original and creative, and uses the gifts of imagination, vision, and ingenuity;
- Experimental: It is untested and unfinished, a “big idea” with a promising future and a fearless posture of “action, reflection, and act again;” and,
- Motivational: It engenders hope and optimism by responding meaningfully to community needs and opportunities and by expanding community engagement.
The REF makes financial resources available for Region-wide initiatives (versus parish- or worshipping community-focused initiatives). Collaboration within and/or across Regions is key, with the REF seeking “investment opportunities” to bridge the gap from an emerging idea to a substantive beginning to a potentially self-sustaining life beyond the initial investment. These initiatives will involve risk and it is expected that there will be varying degrees of success, with some exceeding expectations and others less successful, even abandoned. The very nature of these “entrepreneurial opportunities” is that we might be more inspired by “what’s possible;” try it on with abandon; listen carefully to the Spirit; allow ourselves to be guided with expansive ideas; and see where the grant, the “seed money” grows.
Primarily, these entrepreneurial opportunities allow the companions of Jesus, equipped with some remarkable ideas and the funds to try them, to transform lives.