Sheri and her husband are doing ok for themselves now, but Sheri remembers leaner times. She remembers being hungry as a child. She remembers struggling to feed her own children as a young mother. After hearing a sermon on Christian purpose and Christ's calling, Sheri contacted me about feeding the hungry. Three months later our church of 40 people took full turkey meals to 100 families in our community.
How does such a little church do such mighty things for Christ? First and foremost is because of the impressive power of God's Spirit moving among His people. Second, and the subject of this article, our church has accomplished great things for Christ because of the freedom granted for our members to serve in unique and entrepreneur ministries.
What is an entrepreneur ministry? It's a service project or ongoing ministry that people in our congregation come up with on their own. Servant entrepreneurs consider their own experiences, talents, skills, and connections and then ask God to show them how they might serve Christ. It's service that is planned from the bottom up rather than the top down.
It rarely fits into a church's organization chart or budget. And there is the rub for the local pastor. I know how difficult it is to fill the positions we need in the church. I have often felt like my primary job as pastor isn't preaching God's Word. Rather sometimes it feels like my main job is motivating the people in the pews to do the work I decide needs to be done. Serving Christ for parishioners translates into "filling the pastor's empty slots." Motivation hardly begins to describe the job of convincing people to do what is unexciting and not fulfilling. Impossible is more like it. Or worse, people do what they have to do without joy or creativity.
Servant entrepreneurship is an entirely different experience. People ask themselves and God: "What is my purpose here on Planet Earth?" They see their experiences and talents not just in the light of what they can accomplish for themselves, but what they might accomplish for Christ's Kingdom. They become excited about the possibilities. Their excitement catches on with those around them. And before you know it, the beauty and energy of God's people working together comes alive.
I've learned to put aside the things I think needs doing. I've learned to ask God to show US what needs doing. Yes, I still pray for leadership and guidance. I regularly pray that God woud speak through me to my congregation. Now I also pray that God's Spirit would speak into the hearts of my parishioners, and through them, to me. I'm willing to give up control of all the ministries and then watch as God and His people accomplish amazing things together.
What has God accomplished through your church that makes you sit back and say, "Wow!?" Have you ever felt like you're on the fun roller coaster of God's blessings and marveled at how He still shows His love to the world through His body? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below. Next week, I'll share how I've learned to respond and the steps I follow, when one of my church members tells me about their latest entrepreneur servanthood idea.