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Business as Mission: Rob Touchstone and Dr. Lauren Pinkston

April 22, 2021

Dr. Lauren Pinkston

Dr. Lauren Pinkston, assistant professor of Business as Mission and founded of Kindred Exchange.

Two Lipscomb Professors and Entrepreneurs Share About Their Experiences with Business as a Means of Missional Living

In this week's episode of Not a Trip, Emily and Olivia sit down with Rob Touchstone and Dr. Lauren Pinkston to discuss their involvement with Lipscomb's Center for Business as Mission , views on the sustainability of short-term mission efforts, and personal histories of missional community development. Bot have found that their God-given calling is to use their business and entrepreneurship skills to serve under resourced communities and promote ethical mission work. To hear more about their stories, keep reading or listen to our podcast!

Rob Touchstone’s journey with business as mission began when he co-founded the Well Coffeehouse, which is a social enterprise that turns their profits into hope for those who lack access to clean water. He became a full-time professor in Lipscomb’s College of Business in 2015, after a chance meeting with the college’s dean. His love for missional entrepreneurship and students studying business led to his creation of the Lipscomb Center for Business as Mission, which he is currently directing. As the Business as Mission (BAM) program was being formed, they connected with a community in Morant Bay, Jamaica that Lipscomb Missions had been serving with for 15 years prior. 

BAM students now have the opportunity to connect with budding entrepreneurs in Morant Bay and share business skills that they’ve learned through their college classes. This partnership is a creative and sustainable example of the importance of seeing individuals holistically, caring about spiritual growth, as well as one’s basic needs and ability to make a living wage. As Rob said in the interview, “You’re leaving something way beyond a handout. You’re providing something that you know will last, hopefully even outlast your own efforts.”

Dr. Lauren Pinkston echoed these sentiments throughout the interview. She spent five years, combining community development philosophies with organic business models to bootstrap effective economic change for families needing safe work in Southeast Asia. Upon her return to the US, she connected with the BAM program and is now an assistant professor within their department. She most recently founded Kindred Exchange LINK, a non-profit focused on sustainable short-term missions strategies. Lauren is also a research lead for Freedom Business and a liaison between the College of Business and Lipscomb Missions. 

Her thoughts on mission, theology, and social entrepreneurship are powerful, a testament to her heart for ethical service. Lauren is dedicated to humbly following God’s plan for restoration of His creation, explaining that, “God created mission and pursues his people every single day, in a way that is deep and meaningful and powerful. I don’t have the power to do that. I see myself as a warm body who is on the ground, sharing that hope and good news with people in relationships but always pointing back to the God who has been pursuing those individuals since the beginning of time.”

This work of “redeeming spaces where people can work with dignity”, as Lauren titled it, is not an easy one. We are thankful for their devotion to this ministry and willingness to share what they’ve learned with their students. To hear more of this inspiring interview, listen to our podcast, Not a Trip, on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or at this link. 

Not a Trip