Covenantal Families-Mentorship PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

 

COVENANTAL FAMILIES

 

Candy and I had multiple families express their concern over mentorship, business partnerships, and competition and asked us to express our thoughts and reiterate our teachings on these subjects. Since these topics drastically impact the direction of families, we have printed several sections from our book that address these issues.

 

First, though, let me assure you that when Candy or I, or our children, talk to you about family economics, we mean father, mother, and children, with spouses, grandchildren, and future generations to be added, all working together as a family unit in the same location. Our desire is to keep our families together because that is in accordance with God’s Word.

 

There is nothing commendable about young men going off to be mentored by other men and then beginning their own business away from their home without their parents and siblings. There is no difference in that model of entrepreneurship than what the world already offers. In fact it is a competing view to fathers’ discipleship of their own sons and to the whole concept of family economics in general!

 

What is not common, but which once was the norm, are multigenerational family businesses, where every family member works together to build their particular family dynasty in the same community for hundreds of years. This is the biblical model to which our family adheres and to which we labor to restore—not the communistic model, which destroys the family by making every member independent of one another so that everyone starts off from scratch.

 

The strength and stability of churches, communities, organizations, and nations comes from the strength derived from the continuity of generations of strong families. God designed it as such; history testifies to its effectiveness.

 

The chapter from our book on discipleship, which we published in our March 2013 newsletter, addresses this issue extensively, but for brevity’s sake, I will attach some biblical passages from that to this section on mentorship.

 

The section that follows entitled MAKE SURE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP IS IN ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR DIRECTION is actually the second half of our chapter on Discipleship that we were going to print this month anyway. Don’t skip over this, as it is crucial to your family’s well-being!

 

MENTORSHIP

 

So let us address mentoring. Traditionally, mentoring is viewed as a dyadic, face-to-face, long-term relationship between a supervisory adult and a novice student that fosters the mentee’s professional, academic, or personal development. It is important to acknowledge that the term “mentor” is borrowed from the male guide, Mentor, in Greek mythology, and this historical context has informed traditional manifestations of mentoring.

http://ehrweb.aaas.org/sciMentoring/Mentor_Definitions_Packard.pdf

 

While it is true that Christ tells us to make disciples of all nations, before we use this as a paradigm for mentoring other fathers’ children, let us realize that this referred to making disciples of new converts to Christianity, not to young people who were raised in a Christian home. And the purpose of this command was to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children’s hearts to their fathers to make ready a people for the Lord (Malachi 4:5,6; Luke 1:17).

 

By adopting the Greek model of education, a pagan model, that separated sons from their fathers, the Israelites brought judgment on themselves and their nation as seen in the following excerpts from Tom Eldredge’s book Safely Home.

 

Antithesis to the Biblical Approach to Discipleship

 

Tom Eldredge in his book Safely Home clearly displays this antithesis when he writes, “Josephus, in describing this period of great apostasy, writes that Jewish fathers were desirous to leave the laws of their country, and the Jewish way of living according to them, and to follow the king’s laws, and the Grecian way of living; wherefore they desired his permission to build them a gymnasium at Jerusalem.”

 

“Jews, conformed the young…students completely to the Greek style of life by means of gymnasium education. Education in the gymnasium included not only sports, but also Greek religion, philosophy, science, medicine, architecture, literature, oratory, and music—a liberal arts curriculum. The cultural assimilation to Hellenism manifested itself in their language and their appreciation of Greek philosophy.”

 

“Hellenization of the Jews contributed to cultural downfall and judgment. The hearts of children turned from their parents. First century, BC elementary schools were rather widely established. ‘Prior to the time, a father taught his son the covenant law, of that act of teaching was itself a covenant stipulation. And you shall impress these Words upon your children. Now the Pharisees, controlling as they did the internal affairs of the land, created a system of public schools…Specifying that each district and each town should have a free school for children. The covenant and its oral traditions could be transmitted most effectively only in schools.’”

 

“Jewish leaders at this dark time in history now made it a law that Jewish children had to leave home daily and attend houses of teaching to learn the law at the feet of the rabbis who had made the new compulsory school law as parents were no longer deemed qualified to teach their children, despite the law’s injunction that they do so.”

 

“It was in this setting that God sent John the Baptist to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (Luke 1:17). The scribes had put themselves in a place that God had never designed for them between God and His people, and between the fathers and their children.”

 

“(They) no longer knew the law as a covenant relationship…the educational mandate, given to them by God… a failure involving the very heart and soul of life and covenant; their relationship with their children (Matthew 18:5). ‘No man cometh unto the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). Jesus…showed that relationship was at the heart of the Gospel message.”

 

“God designed the father-children relationship to teach this principle. God’s people were not just to know about their children, but to know them as they walked by the way (Deuteronomy 6:7) They were not to delegate the education of their children to the scribes. Their refusal to receive the spiritual revival called for by John and embodied in the person of Jesus Christ resulted in the destruction of the Jewish civilization in 70 A.D.”

 

Over the years, what our family has witnessed is that the sons who leave home to be mentored by others never return home. They either stay with their mentor or pursue their own life apart from their father and their family. Something we don’t want to happen to our families!

 

Most recently friends of ours related a very gripping encounter they had with a father lamenting his separation from his son while he was being mentored by a pastor several states away from home. The father conveyed that he had diligently taught his son when he sat in his house, when he walked by the way, when he laid down and when he rose up, to the extent that they had never been apart from one another. Sadly, once the mentorship was completed, the son moved even further from his father and his home to work for someone else.

 

When we depart from God’s paradigm, we miss the grand blessings that come from following His Word and instead bring curses upon us. Our desire is for all of us to live and work together. We want our children to take over our ministry and business. Therefore, we purposefully did not give our children to anyone, as their training was our job—plain and simple.

 

One of the vendors at the conference this year asked Jedidiah, “So, Jedidiah, tell me what you have learned from your father.” His answer reflects my faithfulness to scripture when he replied, “Everything I know I learned from my father.” Of course, this includes Candy, as well, as she greatly contributed to our son’s knowledge, wisdom, and skills, but since parents are one, “father” covers both of us.

 

My son understands God’s mandate and the blessings that come from faithfulness to the family covenant. This is why Jedidiah spent a considerable amount of time at a recent party discouraging a young man from leaving his home to pursue a mentorship with one of the men who was at our conference. We pray that no one else is tempted to pursue this apostate course!

 

Often others can see glaring discrepancies between the outcomes we want for our children’s lives and the course we are running because it isn’t so much that we start the race, but how we finish it. So if you want your sons and daughters close, if you want to experience the blessing of multigenerational family covenant—keep them close to you. Don’t let the enemy waylay your family at this point in the race by undermining everything you have worked for all these years!

 

Our ministry has been all about equipping fathers and mothers to disciple their own children and to forge their own family businesses and family communities. Both in CHEF and in our church, we continue to instruct, encourage, and admonish families to follow the biblical paradigm. It is the key to God’s blessings for the family, the church, and the state.

 

I am not discarding the fact that drawing from the wisdom and experience of those who have successfully mastered skills in which we are deficient is imperative to success. But segregating our children at this time in their life is no different than sending them off to college.

 

Instead of following the world’s typical example, we would encourage you to read books. Isn’t that the way we have taught our children everything else? If you still need help, work with another family for a short time to learn the skills necessary for the success of your family’s enterprise. Our family continually helps other families start their own family businesses. We also help families connect with other families who have businesses—so that they can learn about business as a family. It is all about FAMILY Economics!

 

EXCERPTS FROM OUR MARCH NEWSLETTER THAT ADDRESSED DISCIPLESHIP VERSUS MENTORSHIP

 

God the Father and God the Son

 

God the Father sets the example by walking with His fully-grown son, Adam, in the garden. Furthermore, He sets the course by personally instructing His children—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. He dwelt among His children in the wilderness as He went everywhere with them. He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a fire by night. He fed them manna from heaven. He instructed them with His Word and protected them from their enemies.

 

God continues to reiterate this doctrine throughout Proverbs. These scriptures make known that it is the sole responsibility of parents to instruct their children. “Hear my son your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1 “My son do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you…” Proverbs 3 “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding. Hear my son, accept my saying and the years of your life will be many…My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my saying…For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body…” Proverbs 4 “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart…for the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life…” Proverbs 6 “Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Give me your heart, my sons, and let your eyes delight in my ways.” Proverbs 23 These are just a few of the verses from these and other chapters in Proverbs that prove this point.

 

So what is our covenantal duty? Psalm 78:1,5-7 says, “Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”

 

Children Derive Their Identity from Their Father

 

Most importantly, we must look to the Son of our Father to see what He did when He became of age. So let us ask ourselves, did the Son’s duty to His Father change when Christ turned 18? Had He magically become an independent man who no longer subjected himself to His Father? Christ at thirty years of age sets the course for His children by stating that He came to do the will of His Father and that He could do nothing apart from His Father. John 6:38; John 5:19

 

Indeed it was the Father who established the Son’s identity when He revealed to the world that Christ was His beloved Son. “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Luke 3:22

 

God continues this foundational truth in verse 23: “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, theson of...the son of...the son of…” all the way down to verse 38, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”

 

God’s instruction was emphasizing the vast magnitude of this father/child relationship, as children receive their life, their identity, their purpose, their wisdom, their sustenance, their reputation, their power, their inheritance, and their blessings from their Father/father.

 

(To single mothers, this means you, ladies. So take heart. You are the heads of your households, and your children will also be blessed by your faithfulness to discipleship and family economics. God becomes the husband to the widow and Father to your children through you.)

 

Hebrew Education

 

The Hebrew forefathers clearly understood their covenantal duty to train their children to serve God, not only for this life, but also for the eternal life hereafter. In point of fact, the driving philosophy of the Hebrew education system was obedience to God’s Word. Thus, their emphasis was on reverence for God, obedience to Him, and reverence for parents and obedience to them through multi-generational family relationships in covenant with Him.

 

In view of God’s Word, children were considered essential to the success of the family, and thus were integrated into every area of life throughout their life. Consequently, parents faithfully discipled children in God’s Word as they worked together to serve the family and the community. Children, in turn, were devoted to their parents and worked alongside them as they invested into the welfare of the entire family, thus forming strong families—the foundation of both the church and civil government.

 

God’s Strategy for Victory

 

God sent His Son to reconcile the world to Himself. Yet how did He purpose to do it? Interestingly, He reiterated His dominion mandate before the coming of Christ in Malachi 4:5,6 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

 

Then as promised God sent John the Baptist as the forerunner to the One Jesus Christ who would turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children back to their fathers. Luke 1:17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

 

So what is God’s plan for victory? Throughout His life, Jesus was about His Father’s business. “Jesus said, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’” John 4:34

 

“Therefore Jesus…said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me…the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify…that the Father has sent me.’” John 5:19,20,30,36

 

“So Jesus said…I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me…I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” John 8:28,38

 

“Jesus spoke, ‘Father I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do…I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave me out of the world; for the words which You gave me I have given to them that they may be one even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.’” John 17:4,6,8,21

 

God’s strategy for victory, then, is clearly discipleship, family economics, and family solidarity, and if we miss this point, we have most definitely missed the mark.

 

“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May He give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.… Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” Genesis 28:3,4,14

 

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5

 

 

AN EXCERPT FROM OUR BOOK THAT RELATES TO MENTORSHIPS AND FAMILY SOLIDARITY-PART II TO DISCIPLESHIP

 

MAKE SURE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP IS IN ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR DIRECTION

 

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.” Proverbs 14:7

 

Let us also stress this important truth. It is not enough to disciple our children and keep them close; we must also make certain that those around us, who inevitably influence our children as well, are in alignment with God’s biblical standard in their own hearts and minds, or we risk the loss of our own sense of truth, along with that of our children. Never underestimate the influence others wield over our thinking!

 

The following examples best illustrate the validity of this warning. Recently over dinner, a couple asked us to expound on our vision for multigenerational communities and explain how that would work. After responding in great length, the husband admitted he had forgotten that he had grown up in a multigenerational family culture, while the wife realized that, to some extent, they were already practicing some aspects of this principle as they visited with her parents a couple of times each week. Yet both of these revelations came to them as somewhat of a surprise because they had been immersed in a church community that espoused family dispersion.

 

Shortly thereafter, we had a conversation with another set of parents who returned here for a visit after just a year in another state. In the course of questioning them on how they had adjusted to their move, they told us they loved it, but that their son would soon be returning to their prior church family. They appeared to be fine with that decision, so we questioned them on why he was coming back here when they were there.

 

Sadly, they thought it was the most natural thing in the world for him to return to his church family, instead of remaining with his biological family, the family in which God placed him. Keep in mind that here again, they had been immersed in a church community that espoused family dispersion. Yet there is something very wrong when the church takes precedence over the family. So we went on to disciple this father to disciple his son to build his own family dynasty instead of another’s man’s ministry.

 

Another family, who truly understands the family covenant and family economics, has a family business in which all his children work together. Yet at his church, his children have repeatedly been asked what they do all day at home and what they intend to do with their lives.

 

Furthermore, their eldest daughter was admonished by their pastor for turning down a proposal of courtship from a young man just because he told her that he would consider moving out-of-state for a job. The boy had no problem with moving away from his family or taking her away from her family, yet the girl was looked down upon because she held to a biblical understanding of the family and wanted to remain close to hers.

 

On top of these instances, during this same time frame, after Candy responded on the blessing of a woman’s close relationship with her daughter and the great help this daughter was to their family, the mother immediately relayed an alternative direction to this pattern by sharing that the pastor’s wife had instructed the mothers of her church that they needed to raise their children to be independent so that they were ready to let them go when the time came to do so. Candy immediately dispelled this heresy and went on to encourage this mother with biblical precepts of family economics and solidarity.

 

Here are four families who have in some way or another been influenced by others’ defective doctrine. Sadly, many families will be unduly split apart because the principle of family continuity was replaced with our cultural belief in independence and family dispersion.

 

As the first example displayed, even if you are initially going in the right direction, you place yourself in jeopardy of being derailed if those around you, especially those in authority over you, possess a faulty doctrine. Logically speaking, how can anyone expect to maintain a close family if the pastor’s children, and those in the congregation, are flying in every direction?

 

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” 2 Peter 3:17,18

 

Let me reiterate this important truth. If a church does not have the family right, they have absolutely nothing right! God has always worked through families through the family covenant, which He continued to reiterate throughout scripture.

Granted, we realize that some children move away from their home community to be near their spouse’s family, but this should be the exception, not the rule or the norm for the entire family, nor the direct result of parents’ flight training. Remember that when Jacob returned home, he brought his sons and daughters, their spouses and his grandchildren with them. And that was the pattern that God reiterated to His children and the one the Israelites adhered to in their communities.

 

After all, discipleship encompasses more than just our immediate children because God tells us to instruct the generation to come, even the children yet to be born. Psalm 78:1-8

 

It is antithetical to God’s Word to have children dispersed all over the country. There is no strength in that at all. That is the way of the world—not something we should be replicating. Besides, even the heathen people we know don’t want to spend their later years traveling all over the country to visit their children or have their grandchildren shrink back from them at holiday functions because they are strangers to them.

 

Our desire is to have our grandbabies with us, and right on our property, no less, so that we can rock them, bounce them on our knees, sing to them, read to them while they sit on our laps, play with them, prepare and eat meals with them at our table, have them walk alongside us as we share our vast knowledge, and snuggle with us in bed, not several times a year, but each week of each year. We have much to teach them, which quite frankly will require hours upon hours at our home each week. Moreover, our own children are looking forward to helping one another raise each other’s children. They, too, want to share meals, labor, worship, and entertainment with one another and us each week.

 

Already our children have their sites picked out for their own homes surrounding the main house, which they are designing to be placed within close proximity to one another on our present acreage. It has been our lifelong hope, which we have fervently prayed toward for many years. With this purpose in mind, we have raised our children accordingly to stay close and build our dynasty through family continuity. After all, our Hebrew forebears lived and worked together in their own regions. So God willing, our sons and daughter will be pasturing our flocks, just as Jacob’s married children pastured his. Genesis 37:12

 

To further illustrate the importance of tenaciously adhering to this point, one of the families at our church shared that their former pastor, a homeschooling father, kept his son right by his side as he discipled him to take over his ministry. Yet in spite of this father’s tenacity to keep his son close, a pattern that was visible to all he knew, time and time again, other pastors would offer this man’s son a position in their own churches.

 

Herein lies the irony of this situation. These pastors admired this man’s son because of his father’s training, to the point that they coveted this man’s son to build up their church body, even though they failed to train their own sons for their ministry. In fact, this is exactly what this faithful father pointed out to them each time he discovered another offer to jump ship and man theirs when he emphatically stated, “You cannot have my son. I have faithfully discipled him to take over my church, something you should have done with your sons.”

 

This same covetous pattern holds true for our children, as well, as numerous entrepreneurs continue to offer our children positions in their companies because they covet the excellent results of our training. Since they failed to train up their own children for their companies or ministries, they are forced to look elsewhere.

 

Employees and pastors know hard working, faithful, mature employees when they see them and thus pursue them to build their domain. But think on this for minute, if strangers see the fruit of parents’ labor, why are these same parents such fools in letting that kind of excellence slip right through their fingers? It makes no sense at all, that these same parents would not allow someone else to take over residence of their homes that they worked years to own and improve, yet freely give away their most valuable possession.

 

Remember this important truth: “Children are a gift of the LORD. Like arrows in the hand of the warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 “For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands; happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” Psalm 128:2

 

We realize that we are fighting a battle against the present spirit of delusion and that the enemy is going to do everything he can to waylay our plans and tempt our children away. Therefore, we continually pray as a family for God to protect us from the wiles of the devil and send us godly spouses for our children who share the same biblical vision.

 

We hope to begin a community of our family’s families and hope that other like-minded families, and in particular, our children’s spouses’ families, will join us to build a strong community.

 

Family business, then, is the next step after discipleship in restoring biblical family solidarity and building family dynasties. It is all about family members being one in vision and purpose for fulfilling God’s mandate to take dominion of all areas of life for His glory. It is God’s design to reconstruct the fallen church and the nations.

 

 

OTHER EXCERPTS FROM OUR BOOK TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS – Before we answer your questions about business partnerships, allow us to discuss financing because the lack of finances is what often tempts people to form partnerships.

 

FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

 

Although financing a business depends on the type of business and particular business model, the average startup cost for a home based business is anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000. Of course, that is just an average, so be prepared for higher input if your choice of industry requires more revenue for starting your business.

 

Keep in mind that it takes several years before a business becomes profitable, so you will need a backup plan of capital to supplement your business’s revenue. In our case, I worked as an electrician until I was able to take an early retirement. That meant that for the first year of our business, I took Jedidiah out to mow after I arrived home from work. By the second year through the sixth year, Candy took the children out during the day until late afternoon, when I met them on whatever job they happened to be working on after I had left my jobsite as an electrician. Then I would take over our business, while Candy and Sonia went home to cook dinner.

 

So financing the start-up cost for your business enterprise could come from maintaining your present full time job while beginning your business part time. In many ways, this is most ideal because you have a source of income while your business has a chance to grow into a dependable resource to meet your family’s expenses.

 

Other avenues of financing include using personal savings or borrowing from your retirement plan, family, or a bank. However, keep in mind that most small businesses fail within the first five years, mostly because they could not repay their debt.

 

Before borrowing from a retirement fund, consult a financial advisor to help you determine if this mode of financing is best for your situation. Although most qualified plans allow you to borrow from your retirement assets, you should compare the interest rate on borrowing from your plan with the interest you will pay on a bank loan. One of the benefits of using your own retirement is that the interest paid goes to your own retirement account instead of to a financial institution. However, the amount you take out of your account for the loan relinquishes the benefit of tax-deferred growth on earnings, and the amount you repay is not tax deferred. Also take into consideration that certain restrictions may apply, depending on your plan, so thoroughly investigate before pursing this route.

 

If you choose to approach your family for a loan, be sure you understand the stress this may place on your relationship with them. Also understand that most families feel that their investment entitles them to share in the decision making process of your business, to the extent of its daily operations. And rightly so, as it is their money, and they should be good stewards of God’s provision.

 

Biblically, parents should be a part of the family business, but if your family members are not Christians, there will be a conflict of interest. That is why God says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

 

Even if your family members are Christians, be sure to get everything in writing! This includes terms of credit, interest (if any), anticipated pay off date, and all other expectations. Because of all the problems we have seen arise from family loans, we cannot emphasize this point enough. So be forewarned. Define your terms and put them in writing. More than likely, your parents do not fully understand the path you have chosen, and consequently do not agree with all your methods, so be mighty sure you are both in agreement with most things before pursuing this route of financing.

 

Other options for financing include small business loans, home equity loans and credit cards—none of which we recommend. However, because some entrepreneurs choose this course, we will briefly cover their feasibility.

 

To obtain a small business loan, most banks will examine your personal credit history, business plan, capital, investment in the venture, collateral, and capacity to repay the loan.

 

Home equity loans, on the other hand, allow you to borrow against the equity in your home. The amount you can borrow is based on your equity and the market value of the home. Although interest rates can be quite low, using your home as collateral to secure the loan places your home at risk if your business endeavor fails, or you fail to meet the terms and conditions of the loan. In this economic slump, declining home values make it much more difficult to secure these loans. And more than likely, your property is not appreciating enough to offset the cost of your investment. Many times the interest rate is adjustable, which is also very risky. Generally, the interest paid on home equity loans is not tax deductible if used for something other than purchasing or renovating property.

 

And finally, even though some companies like Google chose to finance their business with credit cards, we strongly discourage this form of financing. Interest rates of 24% or higher and card fees accumulate quickly. For example, even “if an individual charges a $40.00 meal on his credit card and only pays the minimum amount each month—that meal will end up costing more than $200.00!” www.cbn.com/finance/diggs_borrowing.aspx

 

Remember that we are starting our business for our children and our children’s children so that each succeeding generation doesn’t have to start from scratch, but they will be able to take over a profitable family business so that they can grow it for their families. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to be patient. Life is not a sprint but a marathon, so wait upon the Lord to make a way for your business rather than burdening your family with the curse of debt. For Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”

 

Our best advice is to wait upon the Lord to provide by saving until you have enough to begin your business. Start small, save, and then take on bigger ventures as money allows. When God calls, He always equips.

 

“The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you. The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land, which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The LORD will make you the head and not the tail and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deuteronomy 28:9-14

 

PARTNERSHIPS

 

Another form of financing comes from forming partnerships with others who have the capital necessary to begin an enterprise. Although most of us know that we should not partner with non-Christians, some Christians believe that it is perfectly ethical to form partnerships with other believers. Yet we question the biblical validity of pursuing enterprises with anyone outside the family.

 

The prior verses in Deuteronomy 28:9-14 certainly address this question when they refer to borrowing, being the head and not the tail, and how God blesses His families. Other verses that come to mind are Proverbs 6:1-5, which says, “My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.” Proverbs 22:26,27 “Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?”

 

Surety means “security against loss or damage; security for payment. In law, one that is bond with and for another; one who enters into a bond for his payment for a debt.”

 

When you partner with someone else, regardless of who it is, you take on their financial risks, their debts, their friends, their enemies, and their reputation. If your partner is rude, disrespectful, or does something dishonest, it tarnishes your reputation as well as his. It is referred to as guilty by association.

 

In essence, your reputation hinges on the reputation of your partner and his practices. Far more serious is that you put your family’s name at risk by linking it to someone else, when God says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.” Proverbs 10:7

 

Now you may think that you know a person mighty well, yet we are not capable of fully judging the heart of a man, for God tells us that people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Besides, tares look just like wheat except on the inside (Matthew 13). Satan is called the “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Five of the virgins closely resembled the other five, yet when they reached the door of heaven, Jesus said that He did not know them (Matthew 25). Eve was perfect in every way but was deceived by Satan. Paul warns us that he fears “lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Therefore, since our hearts are deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9), we should be extremely wary of becoming entangled with others in a business enterprise because we risk everything on someone else’s character.

 

“Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he allied himself by marriage with Ahab. Some years later he went down to visit Ahab at Samaria. And Ahab slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ‘Will you go with me against Ramoth-gilead?’ And he said to him, ‘I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.’… So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead.… The battle raged that day, and the king of Israel … died. Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and so bring wrath on yourself from the LORD?’” 2 Chronicles 18:1-3; 28; 34; 19:1,2

 

Even if your partner is a godly man, remember that the sailors suffered right along with Jonah when God chastised him for his sin. So if your partner violates God’s law against your will, you will reap the consequences of his chastisement nonetheless.

 

From another aspect, consider that when you partner, you also take on the reputation of the partner’s wife. So even if your partner is a Christian, if he is unequally yoked, you are putting yourself in danger of ruining your reputation or destroying your own marriage. “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread. And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.” Proverbs 6:26

 

Although you probably would be able to identify a heavy drinker, you might not be as discerning about a glutton. “For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.” Proverbs 23:21 “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” Proverbs 21:17

 

Partners may start out with a similar vision, but if he has not had the experience of handling riches, it is hard to say what sins may arise from your success. It is said that there is no greater test than that of riches, making your future with a partner very uncertain. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19

In light of this, consider all the times you have been wrong about someone’s character. Ask yourself how many times you thought you found someone who believed as you did, but found out after a while that you were completely wrong? How many times have you, or others you know, been deeply hurt by someone in church? How many churches have you known to fragment over issues? Even Paul and Barnabas had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company (Acts 15:39). So while it is true that Christians should work together as members of one body in the church (1 Corinthians 12), the reality of this fallen world is that we are fallen creatures. And there is certainly much more at stake in a business partnership when things go awry than in a broken relationship between church members.

 

Frankly, no two people share identical character traits, beliefs, visions, goals, values, or ethics. So who holds the final authority over direction when differences arise? Unlike hierarchy of authority in families, in marriages, in sole proprietorships, even in corporations, there is no head in partnerships, as each share equal authority. Without a head, chaos in both vision and practice reign, creating conflict from the onset of the relationship amongst themselves and their employees. For “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…” Matthew 6:24

 

Just slight differences in perceived roles create tensions. For instance, one partner may feel that he is working harder than the other, spending more time on the job, taking more risks, or taking more time off to spend with his family. This often leads to bitterness, which causes wedges between the best of friends. So while it may appear that partners share similar agendas in the beginning, they often end up with competing agendas, resulting in counter productivity.

 

Naturally, the complexity of business requires decisions on every issue that arises during each day. In a partnership, this requires continual meetings for mutual approval of direction and actions, which proves not only cumbersome but also thwarts productivity and efficiency.

 

After personally witnessing countless partnerships dissolve, resulting in dissolved friendships, we do not believe a partnership is a wise course to take. Whereas friendships come and go, the idiom that blood is thicker than water (meaning that after all is said and done, at the end of the day you are still family) succinctly describes the advantage family members have over partners.

 

A family has a vested interest in each other and the family name. They also possess a natural affinity to one another. So even though there may be disputes from time to time, it is naturally easier to forgive a character trait by attributing it to inheriting genes from Uncle Jim or Grandma on Dad’s side of the family than it is the partner with whom there are no ties.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14 states, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” Being equally yoked in business includes beliefs, character traits, vision, goals, values, and ethics.

 

A prime example of the validity of this truth is evidenced in my experience on our family farm. When I was a boy, my father used workhorses to plow our fields. This in turn allowed me to witness firsthand the importance of being equally yoked. For when the horses were not, the rebellious animal pulled against the obedient one and wore it out, making work far more difficult. In the end, the rows became a muddy mess instead of the beautifully straight rows accomplished by two equally yoked horses. Accordingly then, goals and methods are far more likely to be similar within a family than with anyone outside the family.

 

Ultimately, though, partners are at odds with a vision for a family business. So instead of investing your time, labor, and monies in another man’s family dynasty, you benefit your own posterity by spending all your time building your own family dynasty, your own family’s wealth and legacy where your family forges ahead with the same vision, the same purpose, and the same goals, as you work together.

 

Don’t be so anxious for a family business that you place your family in jeopardy. Consider the great harm that was done by Abraham and Sarah by partnering with Hagar to achieve the blessing God had already promised to them. If they had just waited for God to provide!

 

When God gives us a vision, He will bring it to pass. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5,6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7 “Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18