Being a tech founder and also a pastor in the Silicon Valley, Vance Roush and his co-worker Zoe discuss their experiences wanting to be Kingdom minded in the workplace, entrepreneurship in the Bible, how churches can walk with their businesspeople in the congregation better, and using one's gifts OUTside the church.
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Jesus was a rabbi and a carpenter. There was roles there was entrepreneurial endeavors. Maybe we're just not talking about it enough. Biblically, entrepreneurship is all over the Bible. The venture capitalists of that day were women that funded the ministry of Jesus. People need to be exposed to what it can look like in the here and now. A pastor turn tech leader and a millennial churchgoer, exploring the intersection of technology, culture and faith, equipping you with innovative strategies to support you as you live out your calling leader churches with confidence to step into the future together. This is the give it up podcast. So Vance, yes, I want to tell you about the struggle that I've had through most of my life, because I don't know if you knew this, most of your life, most of my life, well, like 10 years, okay, that's not most of my life. A third of your life will be exact, sorry. But here's the deal. I went to college to be an entrepreneurship major. Okay, so graduated with that. And I was like, I'm gonna be an entrepreneur. I was like, maybe one day I'll work for a Silicon Valley Tech company. God is good. But I then coming out of college couldn't find a job immediately. Because, you know, I was so specific, and it needs to be a startup or bust. Right, that I ended up working for a ministry. Okay. I did that for a year, it was a touring traveling ministry. Wow. So I did that. And then my mindset completely switched to thinking coming out of ministry, I actually can't do anything that's not ministry, because I felt if I was an entrepreneur, that wouldn't be serving God. Like I had just completely polarizing thoughts of like, I'm gonna be an entrepreneur. And I'm like, wait, but Jesus. And it wasn't until overflow, that I realized there's a way to marry both entrepreneurship and doing it for the Kingdom. I love that. And I feel like I'm not alone in the struggle. Sure. Because so many people who are entrepreneurial minded, or even just business people are struggling to figure out how can I actually serve God? Yeah, through my work. What? What's your experience been with me more about this traveling ministry? I'm intrigued. This is so cool. I don't think we dived into this. So let's do it live. I did this for a whole year. And it was by bus. So it wasn't like we were flying. We were by bus. 12 people going to middle schools, churches, pregnancy centers, just kind of doing this whole purity documents. Yeah, it was a Nickelodeon style tour focused around biblical abstinence. Love it. Yeah. It was a wild time. So it was one of the one year was plenty. Yeah, it was a lifetime. It was it was at shows in one year's time. What was your favorite parts of that? Speaking, I liked the the energy from middle schoolers at that point. Yes. But it was definitely a weird dynamic, because they idolize you. Like, there are people asking me for my autograph, right. And I was like, This is bizarre, like you don't know me, you never will know that. You only know my first name, you know. And it was just a weird thing, because I wanted to come alongside this kids. But the one thing that's hard when you're part of a tour like that is you are the change agent. And then you bounce out. And all of it is put on everybody else that brought you in to actually maintain the groundwork that you laid. Right, right. Right. Right. So I think that was these pair of ministries. It kind of has that vibe, right? You think of young life you think, you know, a Campus Crusade? Yeah. They are a ministry for you in a season of your life. Yes. But then I think there needs to be better bridges between those pair ministries in the local church. Definitely. I can really journey with you and be your community for life. Definitely. It honestly gave me a bizarre lens in which I saw ministry through Yeah, because I only saw monumental movement happen. And no actual slow, dedicated growth that happens in true discipleship. Interesting. And so it was a really weird context. Yeah, I felt like because you entered ministry in this weird, but you know, there's probably a lot of beauty in that context. And you find yourself disoriented, post that context, because you still have this desire to be an entrepreneur. Yeah. But you thought that was at odds with serving God. You thought that was at odds with ministry? Yes. Interesting. What made you believe that? I think because reading the Bible growing up, you see ministry as solely giving up everything. Yeah. That you have. Yeah. And so holding on to anything almost seems antithetical right to that. Yeah. So you know, the passages around denying yourself. Yeah. The cost may be carried across. Yeah. And so almost the Christian journey is met with what are you sacrificing? What are you willing to give up? Yeah. And if there's not a level of how much you've sacrificed that is sustaining your Christian walk, then maybe you're putting yourself before the cause. Or before the gospel. Yes. 100 Yeah, that's, that's really, really interesting. And then I would assume that part of it is exposure to, right. It's, hey, who in my life do I look up to? That's in ministry? Yeah. And when I consider them entrepreneurs, yeah. And you know, and that was the thing, this is 2013 2014. So Judah Smith, is becoming big around this time. And that's really the only person who would you have a context for with someone who is speaking and doing ministry, because a lot of it was not on social media, the way that it obviously is. 10 years later. Sure, sure. Okay, so So lack of exposure, lack of maybe even biblical permission around what it looks like for entrepreneurship in the Bible. Yeah, in the biblical context. And so that's interesting, right? I think that the Bible actually shows a lot of entrepreneurship. within it. We have this passage Zechariah that Pastor Mike chi dropped the bomb of this one time that we were talking to him actually, let's read it here. Zechariah 610 through 13. Take the exiles, hell die Toby jaw, enter the Daya who have arrived from Babylon and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah, take from them silver and gold and make a crown and set it on the head of Joshua, the son, the high priest and say to him, Thus says the Lord of hosts, by the way, we should talk like that on this podcast thus says, the Lord of hosts is ESV version to behold, the man whose name is the branch capital B. For he shall branch out look at that wordplay right there branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. This is an entrepreneurial endeavor, endeavor, by the way, it is He Who shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall bear royal honor as well, and shall sit and rule on his throne and there shall be a priest on his throne and the counts of peace shall be between them both there, there was harmony, there was peace in Joshua exhibiting both the priestly calling and the kingly calling, wow. Right. Yeah, that you're you're calling if you're a pastor listening to this does not need to be restricted to the bounds of ministry that we put on ourselves sometimes, or the vacation, maybe of ministry, because this is an example, biblically of what it can look like to have an anointing both as a priest and as a king. Kings and Priests are themes within the Bible. And usually it's split. Usually it's you have the priests, you have the pastor, that partners with the king or the entrepreneur. This is an example where it comes together. Yeah, this is something that I feel like I am pulled towards is that I have high conviction in the importance of vocational ministry and I still sit in the seat of executive pastor even though I don't get paid by the church, I still sit in that seat and want to serve in that seat and enthusiastic about remaining in that seat at the same time. As executive pastor, I also have a calling I know as an entrepreneur, right? I don't think that those things are at odds. Paul, the apostle himself was one of the most prolific preachers writers of the gospel. He wrote two thirds of the gospel, but the Bible says he was also a tentmaker. Jesus was a rabbi and a carpenter. There was roles there was entrepreneurial endeavors there what think of that, like, yeah, like Jesus was a general contractor, like he was remodeling homes, like this guy was less times coming up in houses, right? You know, he was had passive income, probably through Airbnb, you know, saying like, this is this is what the Bible is saying. Yeah. So So biblically, maybe we're just not talking about it enough. Biblically, entrepreneurship is all over the Bible. Yeah, the venture capitalists of that day were women that funded the ministry of Jesus, there was there was entrepreneurship all over the Bible. Yeah. I think outside of knowing that entrepreneurship is in the Bible. People need to be exposed to what it can look like, in the here and now. Yeah, right. People need to be exposed to places like overflow. I'm so blessed by even just your testimony of how it's kind of come all full circle. You majored in entrepreneurship. Now you're working for a company. That's an entrepreneurial company. We are a software startup company based in the Silicon Valley. You can't get more startup entrepreneurship right then that you feel like you're in your calling. Yeah. And that's beautiful. I I fully believe I have a conviction that overflow is a for profit business. We have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders. to our stakeholders, but I do believe it can be viewed as a ministry as well. I absolutely believe that I was talking to one of our team members who used to sit in the seat of a lead pastor, and for various circumstances have had to off board off that seat for no other reason, other than some family decisions that they had to make, as well as a poll and a call into the marketplace, as well. So nothing bad. Yeah, but everything good in terms of running towards her calling, and she feels so fulfilled in the seat that she now sits in at overflow, because she's serving pastors. See, she's serving the local church. She's building up the kingdom of God from a different vantage point. Yeah, actually, you know, what's interesting is that the Bible says that the work of the ministry is actually not to be done by pastors. Pastors equip the body. Pastors equip people in the church to do the work of the ministry. Yeah. So I would actually go as far to say is that people in the marketplace, people that are entrepreneurs, people that are building companies, they are closer to the work of the ministry than even where pastors sit from. And that's not to say one is better than the other. That's to say there is a beautiful partnership between ministry and entrepreneurship actually, there is a beautiful oneness, where as an entrepreneur, you are a minister, you are a minister in the places in the spaces that you are called to. You are. So like the Spirit of God. So entrepreneurship is this is create value on this planet that did not yet exist. What was one of the first things that God did? He created something into the void. Let there be no void? Yeah. You created Earth. He said, heavens, cool. My home is cool. Wow, we got go streets. This is dope. Yeah. But I want to create something that does not yet exist. Yeah. That is the definition of entrepreneurship. Can we can we, you know, like language we've talked about this before, was not primarily for communication was not primarily for podcasts, was not primarily for our platforms and our platitudes. Communicate, our language was primarily at first for creation, let there be light, was the first words was the first language that this world ever had. And what did it do? It didn't communicate to something, it created something. I think that's a really powerful thought. Because it it gives you more confidence when you're someone who's creative, because we are created to create Yes. And so reframing that to think through Wait, no, this is actually a calling, if I'm creating something that's a calling, and I'm living out of that calling, just by creating something. Yes, yes. That's amazing. You're creative. You're a creator. How have you seen that out work in different contexts in your life? And how has that now felt more like ministry? Have you given yourself permission to contextualize it as ministry? Yeah, I think that it comes back to figuring out, why am I doing this? Good? Because if the Why isn't there, it's like, I'm turning into Simon Sinek. right before your very eyes, if the Why isn't there, and it's not rooted in what you feel God has called you to? And it's not just oh, I feel God's calling me to this. Why do you feel God's calling you to this? What is it ultimately pointing back to good because it should be him? And so I think once I've lasered in, on if this Why is not of God, for instance, you know that I love the topic of relational wealth. And ultimately, we're relationally broke as a society. Sure, but the ultimate, richest relationship you can have on this earth is with the one who is not on Earth. And that's the Jesus. Yeah. And so that's what everything is stemming back to. And that's why I love talking about that. And so, yeah, I mean, I think it's hard because we live in a broken world. Right. And so there can be so many distractions. But I think when I this is a reason why I like Disney as well. Yeah, it's because I feel like this is, to me, it's a piece of heaven on earth. Because no, my wife would agree. But if we are created in order to create, and someone has created a place that wants to bring families together, sure, in United Front, and has unlocked a level of imagination, that is not able to be replicated yet. I think that is heaven, like. Sure. And so, so I love thinking creatively about that. But it definitely took me a long time to get there. Because then you have this whole thing, right of being entrepreneurs. People think one, there's there's only two types of entrepreneurs. You're either loaded or you are broke? There is no like middle ground of like, I make a stable income. Right, you know, especially gig economy worker. Exactly. So there's a big tension with saying you're an entrepreneur as well, because it's a loaded. Comment. So loaded comment. I like what you said about intention. I like what you said about why, right there is this thing, it's Simon Sinek. Ask where ask yourself out, encourage everybody, ask yourself seven why's keep asking yourself, why for seven times until you get to the root? I love that, you know, I want to want to be on the front of Forbes. Why? Because I want to make a lot of money. Why? Because I want to, I want people to see, you know, the things that I've achieved. Why? Because you know, people seeing the things that I've achieved would give me the appropriate recognition. Okay, why? Because people giving me the appropriate recognition that I deserve, will make me feel loved. Okay. So what if I told you that there is a God in heaven that created you? And there was nothing that you could do for him to love you more? And there was nothing that you could do for him to love you less? Yeah. How would that actually flip your intention? How would that actually flip your why? Because all of a sudden, this business that I have this entrepreneurial endeavor that I have, I don't need it to feel loved. Because I'm already loved. Yeah. But it needs me. Wow, this, this marriage that I got into, I don't need it to feel loved. Because I'm already loved. But I'm going to get married because she needs me and this partnership. This family, these kids, and this will clarify a lot of things for for young families, these kids, I'm not using it as a prop, because I need them to feel loved. No, I'm already loved. I am wanting to start this family because they need me. And all of a sudden, now you come into a context of entrepreneurship or whatever you put your hand to. And you start looking at it through the lens of how do I serve? How can I serve? How can I come alongside? How can I partner? What is the universal call of God, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind? And to love your neighbor as yourself? I mean, that's so simple, Christian 101. But sometimes we need a reminder that this is the universal call. But then there's a specific call. There's a specific call based on your desires, your expertise, your nature, what you're good at your skills. Yeah, right. Yeah, your skills can help you frame what your specific call is within that universal call. And here is a newsflash that you cannot get it wrong. As long as you're doing the ways of God, the will of God doesn't have to be super mysterious, right? A lot of people like get stressed out about I'm going to make the wrong decision. You can't. Because if you're doing it in the ways of God, you are actually in as well. And so if you're entrepreneur, that's permission, that's freeing, just do something. Yeah. Just create something, just make something. And God will be in it. Yeah. You know why? Because you live in Silicon Valley context, which is very different. I think we can admit that very different than most churches in America. Yeah. Why do you think that most churches have trouble understanding how to empower entrepreneurs in the church? Intimidation, fear, right? What? There's a lot of different dynamics that I've seen, and it varies per community and per context, right? I think I've seen relational dynamics where there's people in vocational ministry that feel like because they don't speak the language of business, or they don't speak the language of entrepreneurship, that they can't serve these people maybe in a way, that's effective. And that can be furthest from the truth. Yeah, right. People don't go to church, people don't seek a pastor to get business advice. Necessarily, maybe they can. But that's not why they're going to church. Yeah, they're going to church because they want to connect to God. They want to be guided by God's principles in their life. And so if you do that, to the best of your ability, you will speak the language of an entrepreneur. Actually, you know what the language of an entrepreneur is, more than knowing business lingo, its vision. Habakkuk tells us without vision, the people perish. That verse goes really well with entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs love vision, like they love vision, they they're all for vision and business plan that that that is goals that is OKRs. That's objectives, key results. That's KPIs you're speaking the language or Ready, you don't even need to know, these acronyms. They are all about vision. So if they go into your church, and there is no vision being spoken, or the vision of the church is smaller than the vision that they have for their own life, it's going to be hard for them to connect. And so I do think that in certain dynamics, there is this fear and intimidation aspect to it. And I would say that we're blessed to be pastoring in the Silicon Valley, and understand that we have the greatest vision. I mean, we're in the location of literally across the street is Google, up the street is meta slash Facebook down the street is apple. We're in the land of some of the titans in the industry. And I have the all the confidence and the assurance in the world that we have a bigger vision than them. You know, Google, Apple, Facebook, collectively serve four or 5 billion people on this planet. The Great Commission is greater than that. Go into all the world. Yeah. Right. Go until all the way that's a great commission and make disciples. Yeah. That's powerful. Also, I was just thinking about, if you haven't become part of overflow insider, yet, yes, you need to, because you actually had an incredible conversation with Lita Ming. Oh, come on, Lee, about entrepreneurs, and how to steward and talk the language of this with your high impact owners. Yeah. So overflow.co/insider? Yeah, if you have not joined yet, this is an exclusive. What are you doing just for you on there, and it's free. And it's free? Best part about that? Come on, you know, I heard this message from Steven Chandler a couple years ago. Yeah. And he was talking about how he's learned to talk to high, high impact donors, but also really, hyper specific, career driven people in his church. So for instance, lawyers, interesting, someone came up to him who was on the church staff, and they said, Steven, you're not gonna believe this. We just got Billy Bob Joe, obviously, don't know his name, the lawyer, Esquire, whatever. They said, We just got him to join the parking team. And he was like, okay, and they're like, why aren't you excited about that? Look, a servant heart. And he made this profound statement. He said, Why are we not having him? Be part of legal on our team? Like if his gifts are there? Why are we saying you need to be stripped of those gifts? And use what's put in a box here in this church? Right? What is your thoughts on that? Yeah, I do think that we're limited some times, right? There is a formula to church in the modern church, where it's these next steps. Yes, these programs. And I'm actually all for that I love next steps. I love progressions, I love programs, I do think that God works through systems, that systems facilitate the vision. And so I am 1,000%, all about that, at the same time. Systems are not in replacement of the Spirit systems are not in replacement of common sense. Right? Yeah. And so if you do have somebody that is clever, in the things of legal clever in things of business, clever in the things of entrepreneurship, and you are aiming to accomplish something specific within your church, why not leverage them? Yeah, for the purposes of that, instead of just kind of, because of your system, having them adhere to a very specific path. Yeah, that might be limited to a parking lot team in saying that, I'm all for lawyers, venture capitalist, doing kids check in definitely doing parking lot team, if they feel called to that. I do think especially in our context, in the Silicon Valley in this church, that I've been privileged to be able to serve that I have actually seen people find a ton of fulfilment a ton of freedom, to get out of their day to day, and to serve in a context that is much different from what they do from Monday through Friday, or sometimes even Saturday. Sure. And so it's a case by case basis. Again, I don't think there's a formula or a rule of law. But I will say that sometimes we get so buried in our processes in our systems that we forget to see the person and how we can best utilize that person. Our systems should be there to serve people, not so that it can just serve ourselves, ultimately, really well said. So, if someone's listening to this, and they're a pastor of a church, and they're like, actually, I've never thought about this group of people before. How what are some good first steps they can take to learn how to come alongside entrepreneurs and business people in their church? Yeah, I would say if you don't have some sort of ministry, in different churches, it's called Kingdom builders in different churches is called Legacy team. We talk about that in different podcast episodes. We should probably actually talk about that more as it's heading into urine giving season. For for many, many churches, capital campaigns building campaigns, I would highly encourage you to have a context in which you can talk about this type of stuff. We call it at our church Kingdom builders, Kingdom builders is the financial engine room of vive church, it is so mission critical to what we do in our church, we know that God gives vision to pastors, but he allows Kingdom builders to provide the resources to accelerate that vision. And so very simply put, there is a structure and there's a system and there's a flow, and there's a cadence, and there's a rhythm in which we communicate and develop our kingdom builders, so that we can continue to equip them and continue to point them towards the mission that specifically vive church has in the context of the kingdom of God. And so what that looks like, in practicality is that our kingdom builders, they meet once a quarter, at a kingdom builders breakfast. It's a Saturday morning, where we do something very simple, but very, very powerful. We come together over food come on somebody that's anointed already. Yeah, we come over food. And what we do is we first celebrate all God did the past quarter, right? We facilitate community, we let people cross connect in these roundtable kind of breakfast settings. Because some of these people they can't make it to every Sunday, some of these people are not yet serving on a Sunday. So this is their moment to find their tribe to find like minded people that are furthering the church alongside them. And then we we give people an inside scoop. We give people clear communication, exclusive communication that they otherwise wouldn't have not had, if they weren't part of this kingdom builders crew. And so our pastor, what he does is after celebrating everything that God did, he points everybody to what God is about to do the next quarter. And he invites people to pray to financially partner, and to figure out ways that they can leverage their skill sets. And they can figure out ways that they can leverage their network to see the vision fulfilled, whether it's a building, we're going after a new campus, we're about to plant, an outreach center, and outpost that we want to do. Just recently, we were one of the first responders to the Maui fires. And we leveraged people within our kingdom builders network to be able to not only give, but to have resources deployed on the ground in Maui. And so this can be a catalytic community that you need to start if you haven't started already, and we'd love to talk to you about that here. I'd overflow. Wow. Yeah, I love this. I think this has been really encouraging for former me. And for a lot of new units, correct? Yes. The Salta Paul, conversion has happened here. But you know what I was thinking just to close on. That whole concept of Kingdom builders and how you lay that out is also really good prayer. Starting with thankfulness and gratitude. Casting, the vision is also dreaming, which is a form of praying, and also saying like, here's what we're believing for, but also God, what is in my hands that I can use right now. Good. So I think that's awesome format. So, for all of you, entrepreneurs and businesspeople out here, be encouraged because we love you. And question the next episode. Let's go. Thanks so much for listening to the give it up podcast if you want to receive even more insights on church innovation, culture, and giving now you can sign up for free to be an overflow insider, where you'll receive exclusive content discounts direct access to Vance Roush to get your questions answered, and also invite only access to our monthly fundraising leadership forums, head to overflow.co backslash insider, or just click the link in our bio to sign up for free today. In order to get this podcast in the ears of even more church leaders. Could you please subscribe and leave a review for the show? This tells the podcast players what people are enjoying and want to hear more of and we are adamant about providing maximum value to even more church leaders. Thanks so much. We'll see you next time.