Why did I choose Impact VC?
February 9, 2022
What is Work?
I believe that we all deeply wish to (consciously or not) integrate our work and relationships and time and efforts with what we fundamentally believe to be True about the world and our purpose within it. For me this has meant developing a Theology of Work/Investment/Impact to marry my profession to the larger story into which I feel called.
And that is the pattern for all work. It is creative and assertive. It is rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world thrive and flourish.
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work, Timothy Keller
All forms of work are vocation. We are not called to toil away in meaningless secular work to make money that we can give to ministries engaged in the sacred. There was work in the Garden before the Fall, and work will remain after all things are made new. Cultural activity is a glorious Good that will go on forever.
Some might think that comparing an eagle’s flight, which is a part of nature, with a piece of music, which is man-made, is comparing apples and oranges. But an eagle is skillfully using the physics (aerodynamics) of the material world, and a musician is doing the same thing with sound.
Who formed the world of nature (which provides the raw material for physical sciences)? Who formed the universe of human interactions (which is the raw material of politics, economics, sociology, and history)? Who is the source of all harmony, form, and narrative pattern (which is the raw material for art)? Who is the source of the human mind (which is the raw material for philosophy and psychology)? And who, moment by moment, maintains the connection between our minds and the world beyond our minds? God did, God does.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark A. Noll
What is the Purpose of Business?
God’s Mission Statement for Business:
1. Business exists to create opportunities for individuals to express aspects of their God-given identity in meaningful and creative work.
2. Business exists in order to produce goods and services that enable the community to flourish.
Why Business Matters to God, Jeff Van Duzer (Watch YouTube talk)
Impact founders are directly and purposefully engaged in both of these efforts regardless of the belief systems that form their visions and animate their labor.
All of creation, people and planet, is comprised of billions of “threads” and the more these threads are interwoven and interdependent with one another, the stronger and more beautiful the fabric of the world becomes. The perfected version of this fabric is Shalom. Impact founders search out the places where that fabric is torn and leverage the power of business to mend those tears in scalable and sustainable ways. We consider that activity to be the mission of Renew Venture Capital. We partner with these founders to reweave and Renew the fabric of Shalom.
In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.
Not The Way It’s Supposed to Be, Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
In What Kinds of Businesses Should We Invest? What Impact Founders Deserve our Partnership?
We, like the Jewish exiles in Babylon in Jeremiah 29, have been called to move into the “city”, to plant gardens, and to seek the flourishing of everyone, regardless of what they do or do not believe. We are not to build a subculture outside the gates where we can take care of others just like us without interference from the outside world. We are to drive our resources into re-weaving the fabric of shalom for everybody, and we are to partner with anyone who is engaged in that work. We do so without losing, in fact only through the power of, our unique identity and motivations. [The Meaning of the City, Tim Keller]
We are not called to only support business leaders who espouse our philosophies and who claim to agree with our views on religion. We are not to build insular, subcultural communities of the converted. In response to and motivated by the costly Grace that we have received, we are to meet the needs of our neighbors with the same speed, intensity, and thoroughness that we meet our own, regardless of the beliefs of those neighbors.
Is there a grace that is at work in the broader reaches of human cultural interaction, a grace that expedites a desire on God’s part to bestow certain blessings on all human beings…blessings that provide the basis for Christians to co-operate with, and learn from, non-Christians?
He Shines in All That's Fair: Culture and Common Grace, Richard J. Mouw
Every page of the Bible answers that question with “Yes”. We believe that investing in businesses that allow people to leverage their creative gifts in the service of others in ways that can be sustainable and that can grow - backing founders whose work yields healing with others and the world regardless of what those founders believe - is a vital and central activity to which we are called. We are to flood the entire world, no matter the faith tradition or lack thereof, with resources that bring about flourishing.
The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology a worldview that will mount the historically rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way into the post-postmodern world with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom.
The Challenge of Jesus, N.T. Wright
These are our motivations, and if our actions and the philosophy behind them are attractive to others, then so be, but we demand no fealty to earn our support.
In the church, impact investing, especially when combined with social enterprise, has the potential to fuel innovation and transformation in our communities where other forms of funding may not be adequate.
We Aren’t Broke, Mark Elsdon
Partnering with Impact founders who are building large, sustainable businesses with outsized and lasting Impact, regardless of what those founders do or do not believe, is right, smart, wise stewardship, substantive witness, and something to which all Christians and Christian institutions should feel called.