FAITH, WORKS & ECONOMICS
Dr. Svetlana Papazov
An entrepreneur and pastor, Papazov finds her place – and her church – in the middle of the workplace by Matt Hufman
r. Svetlana Papazov introduces herself in business circles as an entrepreneur, but when it comes time to exchange cards, she casually mentions she has another role noted on the back: pastor.
Dr. Tim Hager, vice president and dean of AGTS, noted that as followers of Christ and people of the Spirit, Pentecostals “seek to live for Jesus and be led by the Spirit 24 hours a day.”
The two-sided business card is necessary. A veteran entrepreneur, Papazov (AGTS ’13) is leading two startups outside of Richmond, Virginia – a business incubator and a church plant – that share the same space.
“It is vital that the church disciples believers to fully live their faith and calling in every context and location,” Hager said. “AGTS is empowering church leaders to effectively breathe life into congregations and deploy Christ followers into their mission fields – their places of work.”
“I see myself as a missionary among businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Papazov, who also does business consulting. “Entrepreneurs are risk takers, and they need spirituality to be empowered to go after things. They’re reaching out to a higher power that unfortunately too often is not the Christian God. “To them, I’m just another spiritual guru who can help.” Papazov’s business background is the entry point for her to talk about the gospel, and that’s by design. She and her husband, Michael, have planted the business incubator and church to reach the people in their occupations. Papazov’s doctoral work at AGTS, which focused on finding ways to bridge the so-called “SundayMonday gap” between church and the marketplace, is part of the seminary’s growing and groundbreaking work in the field of Pentecostal faith, work, and economics.
Dr. Charlie Self, a professor of church history at the seminary, is a leading voice on Pentecostal faith, work, and economics. He has authored a book and several articles on the subject and lectures widely. His work includes sitting on the steering committee of the Oikonomia Network, which explores faith, work, and economics, and he has served as a senior adviser and faculty member of the Action Institute for Religion and Liberty, a think tank that studies the integration of faith and economics. “God’s work in the world takes place through people who spend their day working,” Self said. “At our best, we believe the Holy Spirit is poured out on all people, classes, and cultures so there are no insignificant people, work, or tasks when they’re brought to God.”