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8 months ago

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Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Henry Kaestner has an OpEd running in The Christian Post tomorrow calling on Christian business leaders to copy William Wilberforce + Clapham Group in the early 1800s. At a time of huge social unrest where the govt was overwhelmed, these faith-driven business leaders in England came together, fought for redemptive solutions, and changed the world.

(Sneak-preview excerpt of his piece below my signature.)

Lecrae, Phil Vischer, J.D. Greear, and mega-names in business are joining Henry to headline the Faith Driven Entrepreneur event NEXT WEEK September 23rd and 24th where folks are coming together to do just that.

Henry’s bio and press release: https://www.faithdrivenentrepreneur.org/press-page

Faith Driven Entrepreneur site: https://www.faithdrivenentrepreneur.org/2020fdeconference

Can I set up an interview for you with Henry?


Wilberforce 2.0?

In the beginning of the 19th century, England was the biggest superpower on earth. It was also a nation in crisis.

The First Industrial Revolution was creating enormous opportunity, but with-it upheaval. Social unrest, driven by injustice, was an issue that threatened to tear society apart. The slave trade continued unabated, the average family worked and lived in appalling conditions, trust in institutions was low, and the government was ineffective at addressing the problems at hand.

This environment brought about a movement called the Clapham Group—a unique collection of Christian leaders in politics, business, and the arts who came together and almost single-handedly changed culture and the future of England and influenced the Western World for generations.

These professionals started with a simple question: What would it look like if our talents were used to advance God’s kingdom, instead of our own personal gain?

If it were possible to effect the change that so many in England had given up on, they wanted to try.

Led by the most well-known member of the group, famed British Parliamentarian William Wilberforce, they focused their attention on issues such as ending the horrific slave trade, for which they are well known for today. This was a monumental undertaking that took decades to accomplish. But accomplish it they did—not just changing the laws but changing the culture. And in typical entrepreneurial fashion, along the way they brought change to working conditions in the English factories, improved the prison system, ended sports that engaged in animal cruelty, and founded the Church Missionary Society, an organization still in existence today that has equipped thousands to spread the Gospel around the world.

This seismic shift was accomplished by a God-ordained group who dreamed big and worked closely together—collaborating and supporting each other, even encouraging one another in the work when they felt burnt out and wanted to give up.

But while the Clapham group has received the most attention in the history books they weren’t the only people actively applying their faith to entrepreneurial endeavors and solving societal ills.

English Quakers, because of discrimination against their beliefs, were excluded from holding public office or prominent positions in business. As a result, they began to create their own businesses and financial institutions and brought their closely held faith into their day to day endeavors. They created ethical companies that cared for their workers and dealt honestly with all they did business with. This not only influenced the industries of the day but some of these organizations still exist today, like manufacturers Cadbury and Rowntree, and the bank Barclays and Lloyds.

And the German Moravians, who realized that creating businesses in communities allowed them to not only fund their faith-minded outreach efforts but also allowed them to be a part of the local community, helping from the inside, rather than an outside group trying to solve issues they didn’t understand.

Fast forward 200 years and we find ourselves in a similar place. We are now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution and are experiencing similar opportunities and upheaval. Pastor and author J.D. Greear observed that, in this age, entrepreneurs are once again the “new cultural change agents.” Business leaders today have the opportunity to pick up where our predecessors left off.

We already know we can do it, because it’s already being done. Faith-driven entrepreneurs are stepping up to solve the big problems in our own backyards and around the globe.


What would happen if a new Clapham-style movement weren’t limited to an influential area near London, the world’s most consequential city at the time, but a worldwide movement of faith-driven entrepreneurs—all tackling the unique problems and injustices that they’ve been called to, and working together with a singular purpose to advance God’s kingdom on earth? When you combine that idea, with the estimate that Christiansmanage $150 trillion dollars— over half of the world’s wealth—the potential for real change is exponential.

Only God knows what’s fully possible when Christian business leaders come together with biblically informed passion and focus, but I’m calling on my fellow entrepreneurs to join me in dedicating our time, talent and treasure to God— to see the world through His eyes and then to watch the opportunities that God accomplishes through us all