In a recent conference I attended in Atlanta, GA I sat and listened to a successful entrepreneur talk about the struggles she had with the church after her conversion experience. She shared how much of a challenge it was trying to serve and help the local church because she operated in business a certain way that caused her to be successful while she noticed the church often operated in a much slower and less productive manner. It is very difficult for successful entrepreneurs to work with pastors because when you are a self-starter and you know what it takes to build something that is successful and you have a standard way of operating it becomes frustrating to work in an environment where you don't see production and structure and order. While I listened to her I thought back to some of my own challenges as an entrepreneur with an apostolic call on my life.
When I began serving in ministry I quickly became frustrated with the way I saw things happening. The church was sending a message to the world that because we have moral standards you should listen to us. However the church had no structure, order, standards of business operation and practice that would warrant CEOs to pay it any attention. CEOs will not trust giving their "tithes" to an organization with which the leader has no real understanding of business no any productivity. In the mind of a corporate leader what God would allow resources to be mismanaged or have no strategy for growth and development. This is why we have to begin to develop best practices as it relates to the church so that we can attract business leaders. Even Jesus had entrepreneurs on his ministry team and he was very effective at winning them and getting them to join and give to his cause. Jesus as the apostolic leader and pastor was also an entrepreneur and CEO of a major ministry. Pastors need to begin to see themselves also as entrepreneurs. This will help the growth of the local church in many ways. Entrepreneurs like pastors are also visionaries, strategist, understand people, and also have the ability to gather others around a cause. However there are some things that pastors need to learn from entrepreneurs that will aid them in the development and growth of their ministry:
1. Organizational skills
2. Administrative skills
3. Leadership development
4. How to generate income
5. Packaging and promotion of products and material
6. How to connect with business leaders
7. The language of the marketplace
8. Structure of an organization for growth
9. Communicating your vision effectively
10. Time and resource management
11. Succession planning
12. Partnership with others outside of your network.
Pastors can't become intimidated by successful business leaders connecting with or developing relationships with other leaders. Leaders who become intimidated by this are insecure and immature and should not be leading a local church. It is important for a pastor to understand that entrepreneurs need to have the freedom and flexibility to connect with others of great influence for mentorship and development. My spiritual father Bishop Frank Dupree said to me years ago, "Nathan, you will not get everything from me, so connect with others who can help you do what you are called to do." When he said this to me it freed me and I knew that God had connected me to him to help me to become the marketplace and ministry leader I am today. An entrepreneur will quickly leave your church when they feel you are trying to control them. They must feel like they are a part of your team and that their input matters. Entrepreneurs have a strong spirit of discernment and can tell when you are pacifying them and they are only being used for their financial contribution. If this is the case they will leave your ministry. Entrepreneurs have much experience, wisdom, and counsel they can add to improve the vision of the local church. If they can grow a business surely there is something they can add to your ministry.
Ministry leaders are often under the misconception that because the ministry is spiritual business that entrepreneurs have nothing to offer of value to aid in it. However, that is far from the truth the church and ministry is still a business and has its own corporate responsibilities all of which need a corporate minded individual to get them done.
It is also vital for entrepreneurs to not look down on pastors because they lack the ability or don't have the capacity to handle the church from an entrepreneurial perspective. Pastors have the ability to help disciple entrepreneurs in the things of God just like entrepreneurs have the ability to disciple pastors in the things of business. My recommendation to pastors and entrepreneurs would be to disciple each other and partner to work together to change the world. Every entrepreneur needs a spiritual advisor because there are things in business that weigh on your soul or matters where you need the advice of someone who can hear from God and will give you wise godly and biblical counsel.