SLMAW 012 – Work Transitions with PJ Simmons

PJ Simmons

 

What You’ll Hear:

    • P.J. gave his life to Christ at a young age and was blessed not to fall into the prodigal son routine
    • He went to Bible college and started working full-time for a non-profit called the MediciProject
    • After looking for ways to pay off his student loans and advance the Gospel, he decided to start a podcast and started GospelDrivenEntrepreneur

  • He’s transitioned from single to married life and has gone part-time in his job in order to dedicate himself more fully to the podcast
  • He loves the unknown and need to rise to the challenge that comes with being an entrepreneur, not so crazy about the uncertainty of finances
  • When it comes to integrity in the workplace, there’s a tension that’s good, it keeps us grounded
  • Being driven has a negative connotation in the secular, but as a Christian it’s about being dependent on the Spirit of God while simultaneously leveraging the position He’s put you in for His glory.

Intro

P.J. Simmons is the founder and director of Gospel Driven Entrepreneur and the host of the Gospel Driven Entrepreneur podcast.  His heart is to equip entrepreneurs in connecting their faith to their work, intentionally engaging culture to bring about the kingdom of heaven on earth.

P.J. lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife Ashley.

Q&A*

When Did You Become a Christian?

At 8 years old at camp, walked down the aisle and gave my lift to Christ. I’ve been blessed that God has kept me from the whole trickling into sin, prodigal son routine and have been fully committed to Him.

How Did You Get Started Doing Your “Gospel Driven Entrepreneur” Podcast?

I got my Bible degree and was figuring out how to pay back my student loans.

About 2-1/2 years ago I started driving for Uber and testing the waters for extra work but I wanted something I could make money at using my skills and that could provide a platform for something in the future.

I’ve been leading a non-profit called mediciproject where I did a lot of interviewing, networking, etc.  It was very entrepreneurial and the founder felt we had to kind of pay for ourselves.

I decided to podcast.  I listened to a bunch of different podcasters and really liked John Lee Dumas.

I jumped into it in September, 2014.  We release 2 every week, interviewing entrepreneurs from around the world.

We run the non-profit almost in a for-profit way, where the students that participated had to pay their way.

What Was it Like to Balance Your Full-time Job with the Podcast You Were Working With On the Side?

I was 27 yrs old when I started.  I thought “how am I going to leverage this time as a resource to advance the Gospel and really grow something to glorify God?”

I would carve out a couple nights, 3-4 hours each night, and 4-5 hours on the weekend, mainly to maintain it.  It’s very time consuming with just getting a product out there, scheduling interviews, doing the interview, editing it, uploading, and promoting it.

Did You Always Want to be an Entrepreneur and in business?

No, absolutely not.  I was leading toward being a Pastor.  But over the years as my skills developed, my passions took a different route.  Over the last 5 years I’ve been gaining confidence and enjoying it.

You Recently Made a Transition, Tell Us About That

Since first quarter of 2016 it’s been nothing but transitions.

I’ve been part-time with the non-profit and part-time with the podcast in order to grow and sustain the podcast so I can serve other business owners and entrepreneurs.

On April 9 I got married.  Now I’ve got to stay focused with work to make sure the main thing is the main thing, being in relationship with Jesus and putting my wife first.

What Do You Like Most About Being an Entrepreneur?

The unknown.  The necessity to rise to the challenge.  I don’t think we realize what we can do until we’re pushed.

What Do You Like Least About Being an Entrepreneur?

Not having confidence about how much money is coming in.

My original vision was to get out of debt, be financially free, and be a giver.

My wife and I build our budget solely on what she makes and my part-time salary.  Everything else gets thrown at the Dave Ramsey plan.

How Can our Listeners Regardless of Their Occupation Make an Impact for Christ?

The average person spends about 80,000 hours of their lifetime at their work.

We know our work matters because of the creation story.  He created everything and on the seventh day He rested.

We also know that God created us in community and made us in His image.

We reflect His image by calling our work good and doing it in community.

We have an opportunity to reflect God’s character.

Definitely if you’re an employee you have an opportunity to engage others in community.

We can establish God’s Kingdom on earth through the things we create or be graceful to others.

Rather than something specific or a list, we need to be image bearers of God and focus on the theology of work.

We do our work well.  We look to be graceful.  It’s holistic in nature.

I think we have to re-frame our mindset, how does God specifically want us to think of our work.

The implications are huge.

The Spirit Round

Tell Us About a Difficult or Unlovable Person You’ve Worked With and How You Responded and How Your Faith Helped You

We go to all type of colleges, big and small.

I can relate to this because I was this way, but these students think they know everything.

What happens is life seems to come full circle and God’s always teaching me something.  Now I’m getting who I was in college.

98% of the students we work with are just great, but you’re always going to have that customer or person that rubs you the wrong way.  What you have to do is choose to die to yourself and serve them nonetheless.  Not get run over, but take joy and lay your life down to serve somebody.

If we can do this with our enemies, imagine what we can do for the other 98%.

How Important is Integrity in the Workplace, and give us An Example Where You’ve Been Tested in This Area?

You could lose your job, your house, but one thing that defines who you are is your integrity.

With Gospel Driven Entrepreneur, part of the income is sponsor partnerships.

When you’re selling marketing opportunities, it’s very easy to be not so transparent, overcharge, scew numbers.

That’s always going to be a tension.

This is a weight, not one that holds us down, but keeps us solid, grounded, righteous.  If you have that, it’s the only thing that matters.

Tell us a Joke Our Listeners Can Tell Their Co-workers this Week

I’ll tell a corny one.

What do you get when you cross a pig with a ninja? – a porkchop.

What Is Your Favorite Scripture?

Colossians 1:15-18 (NKJV)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Can You Recommend 1-2 Things For Our Listeners’ Commute to Help  Them Be Spirit Led?

Tim Keller “Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” – an amazing resource for Christians in the workforce. Why work matters and how we can leverage our work.  Or as an audio book.

Any Final Thoughts?

Remember to stay driven.  In our society, it has one meaning.  Being driven is about the hustle, obtaining, notoriety.  For the Christ follower, it’s about being dependent on the Spirit of God while simultaneously leveraging the position He’s put you in for His glory.

How Can Our Listeners Reach Out to You?

On Twitter @pjsimmons

Our website www.gospeldrivenentrepreneur.com and click email contact button

* Q&A answers not word for word, they are paraphrased and abbreviated

Summary of Links

mediciproject

uber

John Lee Dumas

Dave Ramsey

Tim Keller “Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

Scripture: Colossians 1:15-18

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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