Briercrest students use their business to shine the light of Christ into the world

Kayla Malanka | Aug 19, 2013
Josh (L) and Benji Gustafson Josh (L) and Benji GustafsonJosh (L) and Benji Gustafson

Blessed to be a blessing. Two Briercrest College and Seminary alumnus brothers use their newly established business in Macoun, Sask, G2 Eavestroughing and Exteriors Ltd (G2), to bring honour to God and share their faith with others.

“I see running this business as an awesome opportunity to reach out in so many different ways and shine Christ’s light through our business,”  Benji Gustafson, one of the owners of G2 and a graduate of the Christian Ministry program at Briercrest College, explained.

Founded upon the Bible verse Colossians 3:24-25, the brothers said the objective of G2 is to work hard for the Lord in everything they do and to bring glory to God.

“We’ve always said that we were going to run our business to be most noticed for our reputation. Our goal is to be different through the way we act, work and do business, and at all times we are working hard for God and not ourselves,” Josh Gustafson, also an owner of G2 and graduate of the business administration program at Briercrest College, explained.

“We wanted to make sure that in everything we did we were being stewards of His (God’s) money and stewards of His time and that we wanted to be representing Him as a Christian in the way we act and talk to people and the way we work.”

Their reputation and work ethic is being noticed by both employers and employees.

“I think sometimes our biggest impact has been on our employees when we hire non-Christian employees, or if we work alongside another crew from a different company. It gives us a good opportunity to practice our faith, share about Jesus, and gives us an opportunity to practice living as Christ would want us to live,” Josh said. 

“It’s funny how others notice something as small as not swearing on the job site. And that is the kind of stuff that opens the doors to asking questions and it gives you an opportunity to show you can be in the world and not be of it.”

Since opening their doors in 2009, the expansion and growth of G2 has flourished. What once was just a summer business with one employee, has now grown into a full-time business. “Basically we started off just doing eavestroughing,  so we would just go to people’s houses who wanted new eavestroughing and we’d tear off their old ones and put new ones on,” Josh explained of the business.

“Then we started doing soffit and fascia our second year, the stuff kind of at the top of the roof underneath the eavestroughing, and then we also started doing seamless metal siding.”

As the company has continued to expand, G2 now offers some constructional work, dry walling and even stonework, allowing the brothers to purchase more trucks and hire more employees.

“So we went from just one single eavestroughing business to an all home exteriors business to interior as well with some finishing and dry walling. Expanding into all areas and seeing where we want to go and seeing what we like and seeing what works and what doesn’t,” Josh explained.

Benji said it has been very humbling to watch their business expand and gives credit to God for leading the way. 

“It has been super humbling to see where we started. We had an idea and little experience and to now see how blessed we have been over the past few years and to see where we are at now is amazing. It has also been awesome to see how much support and encouragement we have had,” Benji added.

“We work hard, but we really cannot take credit because we have just been extremely blessed and He just keeps pouring out blessings on us and expanding us and opening doors for us to walk into.”

While the business continues down the path of success, Josh and Benji still clearly recall the ups and downs of their first year trying to run the business.

“It was a steep learning curve starting off and learning the business side of things like doing the books and balancing income and invoices,” Josh said.  “It was a lot of work but it was rewarding being your own boss and making your own decisions.”

Benji agreed and said being such young entrepreneurs also added to the challenge of running the business at first.

“Being at a younger age where we may not know everything makes just about every situation we get into a learning experience,” he explained. “We didn’t start into the business with a lot of knowledge, just knowing that anything we did we were going to do it as best as we could.”

Pausing a moment to reminisce, Josh laughed as he spoke about their very first customer.

“To be honest we were so worried about making sure everything was done right it was a long day” he explained.

“We stayed there definitely later into the day just to make sure the job got done and got done right. After we were definitely tired and exhausted and it rained all day so we were soaking wet, but we were happy.”

Benji laughed as well and said the first customer was certainly stressful.

“We trained for a very short time, bought our equipment the very next day, hired our younger sister (as their first employee) and then took off to do our first day,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say it was a ton of fun, but in the end you get your paycheque after completing your first job and that was pretty exciting and encouraging that we could conquer something like that.”

Both graduates of Briercrest College, the brother’s agreed their time spent studying at the school really helped set the foundation of what their business is today.  

“I learned from Briercrest that running our own business was going to be really hard work and that it can be basically for nothing if you don’t have the right mindset or the right intentions,” Josh explained.

“We take our faith into everything we do, we make sure that all our decisions are made through our faith and through prayer, and we really do not want to do anything that would go against what He wants for us. So in everything we do, we want to do our very best so people would have no choice but to notice God through us and through our work.”

Attending Briercrest also helped Benji and Josh secure their business’ integrity and vision.

“I took a few classes at Briercrest that just really helped with how we should run our business and know God is in control of everything and anything we do,” Josh explained.

“I learned that everything you do, every decision you make you should do it according to what He would want you to do and where He would want you to go.”

Beyond the biblical teachings, the school also helped the brothers learn the practicality of running their business.

“Briercrest also helped in the business sense in a way that it gave us confidence, for me in particular, to start our own business,” Josh said.  “To know how to balance books and get organized and make a business plan that can then be carried out.”

Josh and Benji said having grown up on a farm in Macoun, SK, instilled in them a lifestyle and taste for running their own business.

“Probably around high school I began realizing I wanted to run my own business and then going through the BA program at Briercrest really helped inspire us to start the business,” Josh said.

“I enjoyed the entrepreneurial side of things and being able to make the big decisions and being able to handle the finances and taking on the responsibility of basically whether you succeed or not. Plus, we could make our own schedule and our own hours and do our own thing.”

Benji agreed and said from a young age he and Josh spoke about owning a business.

“Even before understanding what we were saying or wanting to do, we did talk about doing our own thing.” he said. “We always knew we wanted to work for ourselves and try to accomplish the goals and dreams we had.”

While the business continues to expand, the brothers agreed they cannot take credit and point to God as their reason for such success.

“In business lots of times things can go sideways so my faith has played a huge role in opening and running the business. We had to have faith in the Lord and that He would provide for us as we started this business,” Josh explained.

 “So it was kind of amazing how the Lord just provided and continued to give us work. He has paved the way for us to expand and just continue operating and just basically we know we owe what the business is to Him.”

A path of provision and guidance paved with miracles and mercy according to the brothers.   

“When we first started the business we just bought the machine and the trailer and we didn’t have any advertising. In fact, we didn’t even have our name in the phone book for the first two years of owning our business, but we never ran out of work once,” Josh laughed.

“It is just a testament to how He works and I think having faith in Him to help us with the business and having faith in him to keep going and that everything would be okay was a huge part for us.”

It was a faith and trust that led their business to being nominated for two awards this year at the Estevan Business Excellence Awards.

“We got nominated for two awards, the New Business Venture award and for the Growth and Expansion award,” Josh explained.

“We actually won the venture award, so that was a pretty big honour for us because I know we were up against some big oilfield companies down in this area.”

Benji and Josh said it has been a privilege and a challenge to work together, but both added they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s been really good to have my brother involved, but it has been testing at some points,” Josh laughed, to which Benji agreed.

“Just because you are working so close together all the time and lots of times we disagree on things so we’ll struggle with which way we should go kind of thing or how we should do something. The biggest benefit, though, is just having someone else there to help make decisions and help steer in the right direction and do what is best.”

Benji agreed and said no matter their differences he always knows his brother has his back.

“We’ve always been pretty much best friends all throughout our lives, but through the business we have grown a lot closer, too, in our friendship, but also in a more mature way,” Benji said.

“We really have to trust each other and rely on each other. I wouldn’t do this with anyone else.”