Entrepreneur: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. Merriam Webster
Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” That statement is full of things to consider such as:
- It’s Jesus’ not mine.
- When He spoke those words, it hadn’t happened yet.
- It would grow (build)
- It would prevail.
The church is God’s enterprise in the world. We have a responsibility to take the gospel that never changes to a world that will never be the same. Jesus doesn’t change, the message of hope and grace through Christ remains the same, but how that message gets delivered, how it reaches people, how the church gathers and scatters is constantly changing. That is why today’s church leaders need to think in terms of how to create both space and permission for entrepreneurs to do what they do best…innovate.
We are in an interesting time of challenge in the church world. In the US in every way that we measure big “C” church attendance – it’s declining. The average person in the local church is attending less and often attends several places. The bulk of church growth today is often swapping sheep or re-arranging brand. Add to that how challenging ministry is to the health and effectiveness of leaders and it comes as no surprise that leaders everywhere are looking for what to do to meet these challenges. It will require the best of our thinking, innovation, spiritual initiative and risk taking.
What I love about our church and the movement we are part of is that it has always been a risk-taking movement. To see people unite around Christian Unity, Biblical Authority and the Great Commission is a dangerous challenge to the gates of hell. Innovation and change has always been at the forefront of seeing the local church grow. That has happened in large churches, mega churches and smaller churches. It is Christ’s vision in action. Church size, location or even resources don’t limit innovation and initiative, but it is limited when we are isolated or insulated. It accelerates when we are connected, unified and moving as Christ intended.
One of the things we are working on to overcome that isolation and accelerate innovation is the Spire Network. It’s more than a conference or a collection of resources. It’s a broad platform designed to be the place where ministry leaders who inspire a movement of healthy growing churches go to be encouraged and equipped.
The most disruptive (and effective) forms of innovation today are happening not through the traditional “portfolio” or “pipeline” of services that have defined the past 200 years of progress but rather through platforms— (think Uber, Airbnb). Platforms are a fundamentally different approach to innovation. Platforms do two key things:
- They allow something to happen that already wants to happen, they help whatever that is to accelerate.
- Platforms turn consumers into contributors. Who knew 200,000 people wanted to turn their cars into part-time taxis? These seem like simple visions now, but they would never have existed to radically change our world if someone hadn’t taken a risk.
That’s what we are going for with the Spire Network. We are developing a platform to encourage innovation and risk-taking, share best practices and ideas and accelerate the good things God is doing through the church and entrepreneurial leaders. That, as much as anything is what the church needs from its leaders today.
So, I want to ask you – are you leading like that? What risks have you taken that the Kingdom might expand? What kind of space have you created in your church that invites risk-takers and entrepreneurs to engage? How will you accelerate the movement of Christ’s Church in the year to come?
Rick Rusaw has served as the Lead Pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado for over 25 years. He is the co-founder of Externally Focused network and the co-author of three books: Externally Focused Church, Externally Focused Life, and Externally Focused Quest.
He became the senior pastor at LifeBridge in 1991, five weeks before it celebrated its 100th anniversary. Change in the church began when Rusaw asked the question, “If our church disappeared, would anyone care?” That question set the direction for the past 25 years and has led them the church to get involved in schools, businesses and service agencies with the goal to become the best church for the community.
We are excited to have Rick as one of our SATtalk 2018 Presenters and he will be leading a Roundtable Discussion for Pastors at our Pre-Conference Event. Click here for More Details