Bill Hybels lists ten manifestations of leadership. They are “visionary, directional, strategic, managerial, motivational, pastoral, team-building, reforming, entrepreneurial.”
The manifestation of leadership today is entrepreneurial. The very first thing one needs to do in regard to the word entrepreneurial is to define it, here is a dictionary definition: “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
Using the word entrepreneur as one of the manifestations of leadership for the church seems incongruent to many. Since this word comes from the business world, many fail to see any connection with church work. It is commonly understood that if one is going to plant a church one of the key ingredients is that the lead church planter must have an entrepreneurial spirit. The word entrepreneur used in this way helps us to understand several things that must be present in the church planting pastors toolbox. There are some attitudes and actions associated with entrepreneurs that are quite at home and appropriate for a pastor to possess.
One of the things we understand about an entrepreneur is, there is no safety net! Therefore you have to take some risks. Just reading this sentence scares many people for most people are risk averse. Many of the problems in our churches today are because no one will pray, make a decision, carry it out and live with the consequences, in other words, we will not take a risk for the Lord. Entrepreneurs understand risk is at the heart of leadership. I am not describing foolish crazy risk, but there’s no way to mitigate against the fact that leading the church involves risk. Risk takers are action oriented. Entrepreneurs cannot live on yesterday’s victories, they have to create victory today and that takes action and often bold action. Leader you must orient yourself to action! Prayer, meditation and reflecting are all necessary and absolutely important, but the intention of these things is to prepare us for action! Pastor it is important that you know things and that you possess godly character, but you are a change agent and you are in your leadership position to take action. This is one of the fearful parts of leadership, people are looking to you and counting on you and you must follow through. Not every decision will be brilliant or well-timed, often you will be criticized, many times your critics will gather like a choir and sing the same refrain ‘we never did it that way before’! Regardless, you are a leader and leaders take action. As an entrepreneurial leader you must listen to the lay people, our people are godly and are leaders in their fields of endeavor. We must listen to them and yes learn from them. It would be great to ask their opinion and suggestions for how we can implement the mission that God has charged to us as believers. We need input from our people. If the pastor has to have all the ideas and all the ways to carry out the mission we may severely limit our impact! Our congregations posses a wealth of talent and experience that God has gifted to our local church, our people!!
An entrepreneur has to be resourceful. You will never have everything you need to take action. There will never be enough people, time or financial resources. For many leaders this fact brings about paralysis. Some leaders are tempted to hold off making a decision until everything is just perfect. Allow me to remind you of something you already know, the perfect day, the perfect time never arrives. What leaders have to decide is that the time has come and though we do not have everything that we need, we do possess enough to move forward. You will have to be creative as well as resourceful and find new and different and even better ways of accomplishing God’s will with what you possess. He will bless what you do possess and make up the rest!
The entrepreneur loves a challenge! Being a leader presents new challenges. Where you live and where you lead there are challenges. They are all around us, we do not have to go looking for them they track us down. As a leader, rather than avoiding challenges we need to seek them out. One of the reasons you have been placed in your leadership position is to meet the challenges of the day. Therefore rather than running from them, learn to embrace them, expectt that with God’s help and grace that you will work through each and every challenge that arises.
The type of leader being described is also resilient. Everything does not go according to plan. As I read recently ‘if you’re leading your bleeding’. Plenty of things will go wrong, people will second-guess, and you will become discouraged. Count on it! Leaders have to be resilient, we have to bounce back. More times than I would like to remember I have had to pick myself up dust myself off, have a good talk with myself and trust God. Likewise there were times when if I knew where to throw in the towel, I would’ve thrown it in and quickly. There have been times that I’ve hung my harp on the willow tree and cried out to God I can’t do this anymore. In those discouraging moments God has come and renewed my spirit and given me courage to hold on and to keep following His will. Today if I could offer only one piece of advice: be resilient. God has called you, He has equipped you, He will help you. Get up and keep going.
“It is not a disgrace to reach for the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.” —Benjamin E. Mays
Leader are you reaching for any stars? God has not called you to settle! God has stars that he wants you to reach for, and I believe you will be able to reach them with God’s help. God believes in you and I believe in you as well.