Most readers know me as a missional community practitioner and don’t realize I am also an entrepreneur. I currently own an investment portfolio management firm, and have for 10 years. I’ve started three other businesses, and will be starting another when we move to Phoenix later this year. I am a business starter, that’s my ‘day job.’
Most churches have a hard time getting entrepreneurs, like me, to join their mission and vision. We are either running from church or passively sitting in pews on Sunday. We have gifts and strengths to offer, but they lay dormant in the local church. Why? It isn’t for a lack of asking. Pastors frequently attempt to pull the business owners in but are met with, “I’m too busy.” Excuses, like these, are usually a cloud of smoke to mask the true objections. My hope is to help shed some light on what lies beneath the “I’m too busy” objection.
A BIG PROBLEM
First, entrepreneurs are not more important or better than the rest of the church. However, we can all agree that the entrepreneur is usually a pretty odd specimen with unique gifts and abilities. The church can’t afford to have anyone’s gifts sidelined. The mission of the church is too important to miss out on a single part of the body. What does it say about our church, if a fraction of its gifts go unused, unengaged?
The entrepreneur is not super human, but they usually have a ton of capacity, they aren’t scared of risk, they love thinking outside the box, and they don’t mind submitting to leadership. What’s really interesting is that if they find something they are sold out for, they’ll call others to join them. They can become a huge ally for the church to aid in the understanding of making disciples who make disciples. The problem is that for many years the entrepreneur has been told to “fit into this box” or go elsewhere. Many have. Many entrepreneurs have decided to fulfill the great commission through para-church organizations and non-profits. I understand why.
What if you were a baseball player and were continually told by your coach that instead of playing baseball, you were going to knit scarfs? I’m guessing you’d find a different place to allow your talent to mature. In a sense, churches have been doing this for years with the entrepreneur. We don’t put them in the game they were designed to play.
Entrepreneurs are so unique they can give a church’s vision a run for its money, ask tough questions, and sharpen the leadership of the local church. They have the ability to challenge and push leaders in ways other folks can’t. They cause us to dream bigger, get specific, empower others, and take major risks. So, why do entrepreneurs hate your church?