The Nashville Institute for Faith and Work is excited to welcome James Granberry and Erick Goss for our October Faithfully Working Lunch on October 25 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Entrepreneurship is hard and doing it redemptively with God at the center is countercultural. Come learn how James and Erick have weathered different seasons of their entrepreneurial journeys.
Q: What have you most learned about integrating your faith into your work in the last year?
James: Integrating my faith into my work does not mean handing out tracts to my employees, having a fish on my business card, or quoting scripture in a negotiation. It means doing excellent work because God calls us to excellence in all things. It means asking: How can I love in this particular situation (whether good or bad) to this particular person (co-workers, investors, partners, competitors, vendors)? My work is a platform to reflect the love God has shown me. This may seem easy in good times but exceedingly difficult in difficult times.
Erick: God's work is my work. He calls us to participate in what He is doing in the world. I need to always be attentive to what He is saying through the Bible, through circumstances, through people, through prayer. I want to be attentive to what is He calling me to do. It's easy to attempt to make my own way on his behalf. Engaging God daily and looking for the Spirit's work is really the only way I've found to stay in sync and not fall into a pattern of relying on myself. I think it's actually less about integration and more about surrender. Integration could be viewed as taking a spiritual thing called "faith" and integrating into a non-spiritual thing called “work”. Rather, I feel my work is an outward expression of my spirituality and relationship with Christ, just like being a parent, serving at church or being involved in the community would.
Q: What idols most plague you in a working environment?
J: Pride -- my desire to be liked, to be respected.
E: There are probably too many to list! Reputation, ego, money, success, ease, etc. It's pretty clear that I've got an idol problem when what I want isn't happening the way I want it to. When anxiety, frustration, jealousy, despair, and/or anger manifest themselves, it is clear that my desires are disordered, and that God and His Kingdom aren't my primary concern.
Q: How does your industry most reveal God's character?
J: God is the ultimate steward. He stewards his power, wisdom, and creativity perfectly in his unfolding plan starting with creation and eventually culminating in our eternal fellowship with him. Real Estate investing is about stewarding investment capital, land, structures, and people. The more we look to the ways the ultimate steward uses His power and influence in His master plan, the more redeemed our own work can be.
E: We work in children's digital media. There are a number of disciplines required to do good work. They include creativity, storytelling, economy, stewardship, teaching, support, and nurture, engineering. All of these disciplines communicate different aspects of God's character as Creator and King.
Q: Where is your industry or work in tension with Christianity?
J: Generally, my industry is about making as much money as possible for investors and our company, with that you can lose sight of the human element throughout our value chain. With investors -- we have a large incentive to put money to work in investments regardless of the investment quality. With employees -- there is more work than time - we can demand a lot and not provide time for restorative rest with family, friends, and God. With our tenants -- we can dehumanize them, thinking of them as units of occupancy/rent instead of God's divine creation to be cherished.
E: Most of our industry doesn't acknowledge the spirituality of parents and children. God isn't a part of the conversation despite the incredible volume of stories being told and produced. The "telos" or ultimate aim of the majority of the companies in our industry has little to do with anything transcendent or spiritual. The industry as a whole has accepted that "material" reality such that there really isn't room for stories that mention or acknowledge "faith"...much less Christianity.
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James is a founding partner of OakPoint Investments. His efforts center on managing the company’s $350 million investment portfolio across the US, in addition to maintaining relationships with investor partners. He is a Texas native, Furman graduate, and Vanderbilt MBA holder with expertise in portfolio and asset management, financing, acquisitions, and dispositions. James is married with three girls (2,4, and 6) and when he isn’t working or attending tea parties with his girls, he likes to read, play golf, or listen to his latest favorite podcast.
Erick is CEO and Co-founder of Creative Trust Ventures where leads all retail, e-commerce, online video, and mobile operations. At CTV, he launched JellyTelly, a new children’s digital network, and subscription video-on-demand platform and, in partnership with VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, launched the bestselling video series Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible?. Read more here.
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