News and Updates: A New Model For Pastoral Leadership - Dr. Robert Brancatelli on Entrepreneurial Discipleship

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Model For Pastoral Leadership - Dr. Robert Brancatelli on Entrepreneurial Discipleship

Dr. Robert Brancatelli, GSRRE Visiting Professor in Religious Education, has just completed a series of three lectures on Entrepreneurial Discipleship at Fordham campuses. In the Spring semester, he will offer a class on the same subject, once at the Rose Hill Campus, once at St. Francis Church on 31st Street. Both courses will be offered in an intensive weekend format.

Here is a brief clip from the lecture, the full lecture can be read by clicking here.

Now, I would like to ask you first of all to suspend disbelief before entering into a discussion about the possibilities for church and the marketplace. By that I mean that we in the church are accustomed to regard business as a dirty word. We often think of business as about making money, the bottom line, profit, and greed, which, as Ivan Boesky famously quipped, is “healthy.” In fact, I think the Gordon Gekko-Michael Douglas character says that “greed is good!”

We in the church often view business and money making as antithetical to Gospel values, to the message of salvation, and to our commitment to social and economic justice; that is, to the poor and dispossessed. Business and enterprise often exploit workers, pollute the environment, and are out to monopolize every market on the planet. In those cases where business does good—Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg establishing charitable foundations and pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into school systems—it is out of a sense of noblesse oblige or, worse, spin control. Even when business is seen in a neutral or favorable light, it still does something to one’s psyche and soul, or so the thinking goes.

To be fair, maybe these are exaggerations and we have a more nuanced, sophisticated understanding of business today—although I have personally heard people say all of those things. But the reality is that even though those accusations may be true in certain cases in certain situations at certain times, they do not hold true every time everywhere for everyone. For many people, whether they are small business owners or work for larger companies, business and enterprise give them a chance to follow their dreams, even to discover who and what they are. Especially with entrepreneurs, there is a desire to make a dream or an idea become reality.

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