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School aims to take business back to basic biblical principles Franchise envisions impact on community

A church's calling goes beyond Sunday morning, and its instruction shouldn't be limited to spiritual matters, according Stephen Andzel, pastor at New Creation Fellowship. Churches, he says, are called to teach everything, from science to literature.

And even business.

"Several associate ministers, friends of mine, have churches that already have successful business schools," Andzel said. "Most people think church is just a place you go on Sunday, but to really help a person you got to reach the spiritual, the soul, and the physical."

The Joseph Business School franchise has a modest goal -- to educate Christians to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders through biblical principles.

But Andzel says he hopes it will have a much larger impact. Business owners, he says, should be "taking their success and reinvesting it back in the community and turn it back into the thriving community we think it could be."

Next month, the Joseph Business School will welcome its first class in Buffalo. The nine-month course will cover biblical principles for business, in addition to more traditional business school fare. Tuition and supplies are $2,775 per student.

"Our goal is not just for them to complete the nine months; our goal is for them to start the dream of launching their own business," said Stephen Grant, director of the Joseph Business School in Buffalo. "When they're done with this school, they will have a well-drafted business plan they can take to any investor."

Graduates will have a group of like-minded business people they can call on, their 20-person class and local successful business mentors that operate with integrity, Andzel said.

Clarence Brown sees the Joseph Business School as part of a discernment process for a business he wants to start in Buffalo.

"I don't have a business now, but I'm in the process of starting a business," Brown said. "I believe the Joseph Business School will be one vehicle that will help me establish it well."

Brown, who has been working for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority for 17 years, says he feels called to be an entrepreneur.

His future business, to be called C.E. Brown Enterprise, will help people reach their full potential through life coaching, publishing books and other areas he hopes to narrow down during the class.

"There will be several different types of industries, several different types of businesses," Brown said. "I'm still hoping as I go through this nine-month program it will give me better insight."

By learning business principles in a biblical manner, Brown said he will be able to have more integrity in his business and help others become entrepreneurs as well.

The principles of the school have worked in other places, said Pastor William Winston, who started the Joseph Business School 12 years ago in the suburbs of Chicago.

"The Bible carries the principles for success in life, and if these principles are followed, God's hand and his blessing will follow that," Winston said. "I'm going back to Eden, I'm going back to the atmosphere of heaven, where honesty and integrity were just a way of life."

By turning businesses to the principles of the Bible, including honesty and integrity, Winston said, the fate of an entire community could be different.

"We could take an individual, teach them business principles," Winston said. "They could start their own business in those neighborhoods and create a new economic destiny for those communities."

The Buffalo school will be one of about a dozen Joseph Business Schools in the United States, with other campuses opening around the world, Andzel said.

Brown said he hopes to be part of an economic revival like the ones Winston has seen in Chicago neighborhoods.

"I believe very honestly that Buffalo is in a place of growth, it just doesn't look it now," Brown said. "I do desire to see Buffalo really grow as a city. I want to see Buffalo back in its glory days."