I attended MidAmerican Nazarene University’s Tuesday’s program for alumni and local business leaders. I was interested in the program, organized by Graydon Dawson and the MNU Fastrac for Entrepreneurial Leadership
Unfortunately the program ran long (odd for business people but not for university promotions… I know the culture too well : 0-) so I had to leave early. However, there were some interesting insights from the first two presenters that may translate into principles within ministry or other forms of Christian vocation. Some key principles I heard:
Katie Weiford, Co-owner of Kookiedoodle Crafts, LLC noted that entrepreneurship offers an opportunity to explore and connect the collective skills a person might have. After working in two other settings, her business gives her a chance to combine her varied abilities creatively in a business setting. She notes it is hard work but she and her mother (who started the venture) realized it was a project they could accomplish (there was a key moment when they realized they were going to “do this” venture). Finally the rewards take time, but the creativity serves as part of the reward in itself (an intrinsic value).
Mike Asselta now spends more time investing and advising companies from start-ups to larger, established ventures. He noted entrepreneurs possess three qualities. First, entrepreneurs possess the ability to be innovated, to think creatively. Second, entrepreneurs must be willing to take measured risks (and own the consequences from those risks). Finally, entrepreneurs are people who work hard. When asked what he thinks may be crucial for entrepreneurs (including what he would do over in his life), he stated entrepreneurs need a clear revenue plan, they need access to cash for growth when opportunities arrive, and they need a solid mix of partners who complement them.
Just how these principles might translate is open for future speculation but I think they prove helpful. Katie’s observations seemed to translate to a number of contexts. Using one’s gifts in a way that fosters creativity and commitment seems like a sound invitation to an entrepreneurial ministry. Mike’s initial observations (creativity and hard work) resonated with the earlier presentation. I was struck with the challenge to “own” both successes and failures as a standard most pastors should accept as well. The final observations may seem more business oriented. However, if you consider how many ministries really do not always have a sound strategy for ministry the admonition to ground ministry in a sound strategy (to think through the implications of any initiative as it draws upon the church’s resources) seems to apply, as well as having a solid range of leadership to share the ministry. The one principle that caught me was the need to access cash for growth. Too often ministries are begun with little or no resources, or all resources are committed early to “launch” the ministry. However, I wonder just how often do ministries begin to take off only to stall with no advance plan to draw additional resources if needed to match the sudden growth? Understanding these principles, even in ministry settings, may help secure the faithfulness of new ministries in the future. Food for thought.