By Barry Dalton
It wasn’t that long ago that Ken Gosnell was riding his bike down to a Vandalia garment factory with his best friend, Richard Morris, to see his mom.
“Her hard work left an indelible memory for me,” Gosnell said. “I was impressed how they were standing all day, working on those garments; that was pretty impressive.”
Gosnell has just published a business book dedicated to his parents, Brian and Mary Gosnell. His father passed away a few years ago but his mother still lives in Vandalia.
The book is titled “Well Done: 12 Biblical Business Principles for Leaders to Grow Their Business with Kingdom Impact.” Published by Morgan James, it launched on Amazon Jan. 12 and will be available in bookstores nationwide by Jan. 25.
Each of the book’s 12 principles is inspired by a passage from the Book of Matthew.
“I think that’s appropriate because Matthew was the tax collector; he was the business guy of the disciples,” Gosnell noted.
Each chapter presents a principle, a Biblical reference and details on how to apply the principle to growing a business.
“I come from a Biblical perspective as it relates to business,” Gosnell explained in an exclusive interview with The Vandalia Leader. “I looked at successful businesses and how they applied these principles.”
Gosnell says he grew up going to the First Christian Church of Vandalia and that the town, the church and the people influenced his decision to get a double master’s degree in business and divinity at Regent University in Virginia Beach. He especially recalls his relationship with church leaders such as Maurice McNelly, Tim Knight, Howard Taylor and Bob Moore as well as others in his neighborhood and community.
“I did hang out at the barber shop a lot,” he said. “And I always appreciated the barber shop. One of the things I’ll say about Vandalia is that the town is very authentic, it’s very real, with real people. I found a lot of truth and wisdom from Harold Williams and the guys at the barber shop. They had a way, and I’m sure they still do, of talking about all of the things of life.”
Gosnell also played sports and had lots of buddies, of course. His two brothers live in Bowling Green, and he still knows a lot of folks in the Vandalia area.
“We had great teachers. We’d go over to their houses and hang out at times,” he said. “Martha used to run the library; she was always great. Although I’m not in Vandalia today, I’m so delighted that I grew up there. I felt very loved by the community, by the people in the community. I felt very safe. It felt like you could breathe. It was just everything that life was about in a small town. So I enjoyed it.”
Gosnell’s first job after graduating from Van-Far in 1990 was in the Missouri bootheel before accepting a position with Dale Carnegie. And about 15 years ago, he began his own successful business, CEO experience, in Florida.
“I found my niche primarily working with CEOs and business owners who have a faith perspective,” Gosnell said. “Not only is the Bible good for life, but it’s also good for business.”
The title of Gosnell’s book comes from the Parable of the Talents, where the master comes back and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been great with little things; I’ll put you in charge of much.”
“So for me ‘Well Done’ became the mantra that I wanted to live out in my life,” he said.
But even if a business doesn’t intentionally come from a faith perspective, Gosnell says the principles in his book still work.
“I believe that the principles apply to any leader that wants to grow and lead,” he explained. “It’s primarily targeted for business owners on how to use these principles to grow their business.”
His ultimate goal is to encourage business leaders to think about how they can improve their business while also serving “God’s economy.”
God’s economy includes being successful, Gosnell says, which leads to one of his principles: Have Profit with a Purpose. He quotes the Bible verse, “What does it profit a man to gain the world and to lose his soul?”
“But when I get to heaven, I don’t think God’s concerned about whether I have thousands of dollars in my bank account or that I have a million dollar business or a hundred million dollar business. Or how many widgets I have in my storehouse. What He’s concerned about is how I operated in the business, and did I use my resources in a way that He would be pleased with as the ultimate owner of all things.”
When asked what he would say to the people of Vandalia area about his book, Gosnell said, “If you need some encouragement or support from somebody who’s lived in our town, this book might be a book that inspires or encourages you.”
Gosnell emphasized that his roots in Audrain, Pike and Ralls counties prepared him well to begin his spiritual journey, and he’s humbled to be able to share some of the Biblical business principles that he’s learned since moving away.
“I think the whole Idea of ‘Well done,” is something that Vandalia resonates with,” he said. “As I look at people in Vandalia where I grew up–and in Mexico, Farber, Laddonia and Bowling Green–they really are people that do things the right way. They are concerned about doing things with excellence and hearing those words, ‘Well done.”