What is Faith-Based Social Entrepreneurship?


This is probably one of the most audacious things I (Bruce) have ever attempted. I knew that starting a PhD program at the beginning of my sixth decade would be the adventure for which I’ve been preparing for years … and these first two months certainly haven’t disappointed! My doctoral research focuses on faith-based social entrepreneurship. What is that? It is when individuals or organisations motivated by religious faith develop holistic and economically viable ways to deal with social problems. (One of my early stabs at a definition!) Ann and I train and consult with churches that want to make a difference in their communities, and they often struggle with the problems created by the traditional charity model of social action – but what’s the alternative? I am convinced that faith-based organisations can be more effective in their ministries by using the principles and tools of social entrepreneurship. By God’s grace, I now have an opportunity to contribute to the field by researching its application to and by faith-based organisations. This will also be one of our focus areas as we serve partner Baptist conventions in SE Asia.

Praise God with us! Bruce presented an original paper on “Faith-based social entrepreneurship: Towards an integrative framework” at an international conference and received extremely positive feedback from those present. It was a baby first step on a 3-4 year journey, but he’s on his way!

It’s hard to believe how much has happened since we moved here to New Zealand in mid-December. We found a wonderful place to live and got our home set up with household items from the excellent second hand shops here in Wellington. We’ve been busy arranging our travel and training schedule with five Baptist convention partners in SE Asia. Ann is hard at work on a new edition of a short-term mission team training guide for International Ministries, and on preparing to speak at a pastors’ gathering in the US in April.

We are so grateful that you are with us on this new mission journey in New Zealand and SE Asia! Our cultural adaptation continues to be full of laughter, and we experience answers to your prayers every day. Speaking of language, here are the answers to the Kiwi English quiz we challenged you with last month:

  • It’s so good to have our Internet access sorted. [sorted = taken care of] Kiwi English quiz #2: What’s the difference between “Blue Milk” and “Trim Milk?”
  • That presentation was sweet as - good on ya, mate! [sweet as = really good; good on ya, mate = great job, congratulations]
  • We miss you heaps. [heaps = a lot]