LOVE AS ALPHA & OMEGA
Jessica Kim—Praxis Venture Lab Fellow, Venture Partner, and three-time founder
Jessica Kim REDEFINES SUCCESS IN LIGHT OF THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS: LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS.
This talk by Jessica Kim, a Praxis Venture Lab Fellow and serial entrepreneur, presents us with an alternative imagination for how to design businesses, lead teams, raise money, and define success through the lens of love.
As she moved through the early stages of her career, Jessica began to see entrepreneurship as an arena for living out the two great commandments. She set out to love God and love others in all aspects and stages of the startup life: by loving customers and participating in their flourishing; by loving through our operational decisions, leadership responses, and board/investor relationships; and by loving those who report to us for who they are and not for their performance.
Jessica reminds us that whether your venture succeeds or fails, love is the only certain investment—from problem to solution, from launch to exit, and everything in between. Love is, as she says, the Alpha and Omega of startups.
Jessica delivered this talk at the Praxis Annual Academy, an intensive one-week session on entrepreneurship for college students.
FINISHED THIS SESSION?
OPEN IN PRAYER
RECONNECT (10 min)
Last session, we discussed redemptive entrepreneurship, in which someone sacrifices in order to restore something or someone to its proper place. we discussed different ways it can be lived out and were asked to prototype this in our own life. what did you come up with and how did it play out?
WATCH (10 min)
DISCUSS (15-20 min)
1. WHEN JESSICA HIRED THE HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS, IT REMINDED HER THAT FOR HER, THE TRUE AND DEEPER PURPOSE OF BUSINESS IS TO LOVE PEOPLE. HOW HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS (or education or ministry or art or whatever your vocation) AND HOW HAS THAT SHAPED YOUR CAREER TRAJECTORY and work behavior THUS FAR?
2. CAN YOU THINK OF AN ENTREPRENEUR OR COMPANY THAT HAS EFFECTIVELY MODELED LOVING PEOPLE AS THE "ALPHA AND OMEGA" OF the enterprise? HAS THIS PROVED FAVORABLE FOR THEIR REPUTATION?
ON THE CONTRARY, WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES THAT HAVE shown that they were not at all focused on love as a deeper purpose?
WATCH (10 min)
REFLECT (3-5 min)
Spend a couple of minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.
DISCUSS (15-20 min)
3. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. How does Jesus paint a picture of what loving each other looks like? How is “working with your hands” connected with loving others? is it possible for an entrepreneur to "make it their ambition to lead a quiet life"? if so, how would that look in practice?
4. How has our culture defined the characteristics and metrics of a successful leader?
jessica says, "what if we instead measure success by the number of people who are positively impacted by interacting with our company?" what do you want your metrics for leadership success to be?
5. can you think of any downsides to treating love as the alpha and omega of entrepreneurship?
6. In order to love others well, we first must love God. For millennia, the Church has invested itself in spiritual disciplines as a means to this. How will you build a foundation of love for God so that you can love others freely through your work?
PROTOTYPE (3 min)
Think about how you can start loving people differently through your work. cOME UP WITH one specific WAY TO LOVE OTHERS—or one specific person or group to love with greater care—that will contribute to THEIR flourishing. put these ideas into action before the next session.
END IN PRAYER
Read (and share with others) the Praxis Journal essay Jessica wrote on this topic.
Listen to this episode (iTunes | Stitcher) from the Q Podcast. It’s the final part of a talk by Dr. Greg Thompson about the core practices of the Christian church. In this excerpt and follow-up interview with Gabe Lyons, Greg gives a masterful explanation of love as the center of our Christian vocation.