New research* carried out by Church Mission Society has shown that mission entrepreneurship is having a significant impact, in both churches and across local communities as Christians are encouraged to be ‘good news’ in their communities.
Undertaken to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week and CMS’s annual Make Good training week (above) for budding mission entrepreneurs, the research was designed to explore the relationship between mission, theology and business.
The research found that ‘Make Good’, an integral part of CMS’s pioneer leadership training programme, provided students with a greater understanding of the relationship between mission and enterprise, and set them up to innovate new missional projects. 76% of those responding to the survey had started missional projects of their own. The research also highlighted the benefits of linking learning around missional entrepreneurship to actual projects, so that students could apply their learning in real world situations.
These findings were echoed in CMS’s annual Make Good week, where 22 entrepreneurs gathered to learn, discuss and pitch an eclectic selection of ideas ranging from community cafes and a biblical board game based on the Gospel of Luke for those with little experience of faith, to a ‘service station’ for motoring enthusiasts and their families. The Rev Adam Gompertz, a classic car enthusiast and the originator of the initiative, said his idea was to build a “service station” that would not only attract car enthusiasts but provide a community space where families could gather for a good night out but ultimately for restoration.
Martin Newman, a facilitator on the Make Good course, said: “Make Good does a brilliant job of moving people on from dreaming to doing. As people come with a ‘big idea’ there is a gradual refining and shaping during the week, as participants work through a process of learning together.
“The chance to pitch their big idea to investors and others at the end of the week, draws together the threads from the week and leaves people ready to take their projects to the next stage.”
Many students experienced significant barriers in getting mission entrepreneurship projects off the ground, citing access to funding and a lack of institutional understanding as common barriers they had to navigate.
However, the report concluded that given the positive impact of missional entrepreneurship projects and the benefit they bring to communities, Make Good and other similar training modules should be adopted more widely throughout the Church of England and beyond.
Jonny Baker, director of mission education at CMS, said: “This research into mission entrepreneurship clearly shows the strong connection between mission and business.
“If we really want the Church to be good news, working in partnership with local communities for positive transformation, we must invest in programmes such as Make Good, to help build a better world.”
* ‘Researching the outcomes of teaching the missional entrepreneurship modules. A report for the Common Awards Research Network.’ – Rev Liz Clutterbuck, August 2019. The statistics referenced above are drawn solely from the CMS dataset gathered by the research project. The full report contains data from other TEIs.