New book explores the idea of ​​Jesus as a ‘social entrepreneur’

Jesus the Social Entrepreneur: Understanding both His Entrepreneur Mindset and Nature ‘Miracles’ is the title of a new book by Australian author and Cambridge alumnus Prof L Murray Gillin.

Em Prof L Murray Gillin. Picture: Keith Heppell

In his new work, the emeritus professor – who studied for his PhD in materials engineering at Christ’s College, Cambridge, between 1962 and 1965 – seeks to apply decades of teaching, research and practice in entrepreneurship and innovation to understanding the mindset of Jesus as the world’s greatest social entrepreneur.

In addition, and applying recent findings, to explain the power of ‘human intention’ he looks to provide an understanding of Jesus’ power in his nature miracles.

Prof Sir Colin Humphries, a Cambridge scholar and author of The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Storieshas written the foreword.

Prof Gillin, who spoke to the Cambridge Independent as he prepared to travel to the city to attend his daughter’s conferring ceremony at the University of Cambridge, said: “I have had 40 years involved in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship teaching and research.

“I actually started, back in 1985, the very first teaching program in Australia and then in 1989, introduced to the world the first master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation, as a full degree, not just as part of an MBA programme. It grew dramatically from that until we ended up forming the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship in 2000.”

The seasoned academic, who has also worked in the fields of defense science and technology – and as defense research attaché in the Australian embassy in Washington DC – is keen to stress that “entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business, it’s not about business plans – it actually has to do with the very character, the values, the determination, the passion to actually make things happen.

“So that’s what I’ve actually identified, and back in 2004 I was a by-fellow at Churchill College in Cambridge and there I did some research on a whole number of serial entrepreneurs around the Cambridge region. And we were able to demonstrate quite clearly that they had quite an intuitive capacity in their decision making, so I brought that into my concept-of-entrepreneur mindset.

“But overall I’ve often, for many years, wondered how can we look at Jesus in terms of his activities? I’m not just talking about the ministry, I’m talking about the activities in the community. So I decided that it was time to review his behavior and I used some core tools that I’d developed over the years to assess or to evaluate how we could anticipate he would have responded to these instruments.

“That was done with a whole series of colleagues of mine who had been researching, who understood what entrepreneurship was and did understand who Jesus was. So we each evaluated independently and then I averaged those down in order to determine how he approached the opportunities – because it’s the opportunities that we’re really interested in.

“I think I’ve already made the point in the book that the opportunity that I summarized, the opportunity that Jesus was about, was to change society values ​​and behaviors through his relationship with God, and that means that he was addressing what I refer to as the ‘wicked problem’, that is social problems which don’t have any single – or simple – solution.

“In the book, you’ll find that I’ve looked at aged care as an example of this in the current day, and of course Covid – I only started writing when I was forced into isolation as a result of Covid.”

Em Prof L Murray Gillin.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Em Prof L Murray Gillin. Picture: Keith Heppell

Prof Gillin, who studied as an undergraduate at Melbourne University, examines in the text how today’s social entrepreneurs “can adjust their behaviors and their mindset to deliver the solutions to the opportunities that we need to actually bring about change.”

Throughout Jesus the Social Entrepreneur, the author focuses on what he calls the “entrepreneur mindset” – “because it is a spiritual component”, he explains. “In the book, I use the characteristic concept of body, soul and spirit.

“We’ve identified that in terms of what Jesus did, and I worked out when he became a spiritually-aligned person after his time in the desert, but also it applies absolutely to social entrepreneurs today. They are able to recognize that inner being, that inner drive, those inner values ​​which provide them with the means to actually push on and make it happen.”

Sir Colin Humphries, Prof Gillin’s great friend, with whom he is staying while in Cambridge, says it is a “very challenging book because it does challenge not just our concept of entrepreneurship, but it also manages to look at the whole concept of how we explain miracles from a scientific perspective”.

The committed Christian adds: “What I’m trying to get across is that as human beings, we’re much more than just bodies that are made up of bones and flesh, which doctors tend to treat with chemicals and medicine.

“We are very energetic beings, and I come from a materials engineering background where obviously atoms and molecules and all those sort of things are very much part of my background. We are energetic beings and hence it’s the energy side which is used and which can be developed by understanding the power of human intention. That’s what I’m trying to get at.”

[Read more: Cambridge author John Harvey’s first five novels reissued, Cambridge author Phillip Brown’s Diary of the Last Man is a novel for our times]

Jesus the Social Entrepreneur: Understanding both His Entrepreneur Mindset and Nature ‘Miracles’ was published earlier this year and is available now from Amazon. For more on Prof Gillin – who is working on another book, titled ‘Make It Happen’ Entrepreneur Mindset: A Lived Experience – visit

Also this year, Prof Gillin’s wife Loris published a book titled Facets of the Kingdom, written in travelogue style to London, Armenia and Israel with an integrating perspective on Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures. For more on Dr Loris Gillin, visit


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