Entrepreneurial leaders are needed!
I believe entrepreneurial leaders and teams are needed to enliven the 21st century mission’s movement. Entrepreneurial teams first of all need an entrepreneurial leader, a person who is not afraid to take steps of faith, a leader who can embrace change and be vision centered.
Entrepreneurial Leaders Need to Re-energize Generational Organizations
There are differences between leaders and managers even though both serve essential functions. Leaders articulate vision, recruit resources to accomplish that vision and give birth to new forms and functions. Managers take what already exists and maximize the impact of those resources while minimizing risk, placing high value on stability.
Often missional organizations are founded by highly entrepreneurial individuals with God-given vision. They recruit people and financial resources based on a highly visionary mindset. They take large risks and dream big. Then, at some point, they are succeeded by someone a board of directors selects as a good manager to provide stability, balance budgets and bring operational continuity. Boards crave stability and risk management. The problem is that momentum is lost. The organization is stable but unable to regenerate and revitalize its vision.
When an organization realizes it is not growing and is losing its visional posture, one of two things can happen:
- A “better manager” is selected who can increase efficiency and hopefully engineer a low-risk operational scenario. Usually, this approach is good in the near-term, but can be a one-generation strategy. Often internal fixes predominate with an overemphasis on analysis, rebranding studies and other internal adjustments.
- An entrepreneurial leader assumes leadership who can revitalize the organization, paint a clear vision and direction, recruit people and resources and inspire a new round of missional growth and vitality. This approach is riskier for a board of directors but has a higher probability of long-term gain.
Organizations Needed to Empower Entrepreneurial Leaders
As most ministries mature, they lose the ability to foster and enable new outreaches, initiatives and approaches. They tend to protect assets, reduce risk and protect missions. This is not bad; it’s natural. But they lose the ability to incubate new extensions of their ministries.
Suppose organizations respected and fostered innovative leaders from within. Imagine these leaders being encouraged and resourced by established organizations. Instead of forming new 501(c)(3) structures that require nonprofit capitalization, leaders could jumpstart initiatives with blessing and enjoy the support of their home bases.
Can this work? In 1989, two individuals dreamed of incubating new initiatives in the kingdom of God. They founded an organization to empower leaders to turn vision into reality, fostering innovation and enabling visionary leaders to flourish. Since 1989 more than 40 initiatives have been born through this clear calling and vision from the Lord.
Entrepreneurial Leaders Need to Start New Ministries
Jesus is all about expansion! He implied growth of his church when he gave the Great Commission. The whole world was the focus. New, new, new! This implies growth!
New ministry ventures require leaders who can translate vision into the recruitment of people and financial resources. An example is Sal Sberna, former lead pastor of megachurch The MET in Houston. Today, he is championing a ministry to children and next-gen people in Africa, Asia and South America called “Reach Youth Global.” Sal has a unique balance of entrepreneurial and organizational gifting. After growing The MET Church into a multicampus church ministry, God led him to give leadership to a very effective multicultural international youth ministry.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Since the Great Commission has not been rescinded and Jesus is still moving through the Holy Spirit in the lives of people, let’s fall into step with him. Jesus risked his life for each of us. Ultimately in his presence, everything changes. The economy of the kingdom prevails. We live eternally in his presence and our future is assured.
Why wouldn’t we take spiritual entrepreneurial risk? We have nothing to lose. I would rather have risked and humanly failed than to have not tried and risk missing out on hearing Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Lauren Libby is the president of global media ministry TWR. Lauren is a member of the National Religious Broadcasters board and has also served on the ECFA board. This is an excerpt from his article in the 2016 winter edition of Outcomes magazine.
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