Introducing the Soon-to-be-Released Intrepid Book
It's been a long time in the making. I started writing Intrepid: Navigating the Intersection of Church Planting + Social Entrepreneurship several years ago when I was collecting training material on church planting. I had a hunch as to how church planters were being trained and so I wanted to see if my assumptions were valid or not. My basic premise was ... I don't think church planters are given any valuable tools other than "churchy" stuff. Let me explain ...
I've seen a number of training programs and curricula for training church planters. All of them deal with the common themes of theology, missional lingo, and then when it comes to actually planting the conversation quickly narrows to starting worship services, attracting a crowd, growing your crowd, turning your crowd into two services, and so on. Sure, there are also related topics like leadership, discipleship, community groups, and so on, but I came away from reading these thinking, "Ok, these are all fine, but do church planters ever receive any practical skills that will sustain them long-term like ... how to start a business?"
I know, crazy thinking, right? Surprisingly it was that rascal Paul (you know, the "apostle" Paul) who ruined this conversation and thought process for me. In his stubbornness he broke all of the rules of church planting ...
- He worked his side hustle of making tents to sustain his livelihood.
- At times he refused financial assistance from the church so no one would question his motives.
- He had this knack of collecting tithes and offerings ... only to send them off to a church in another city who was experiencing financial hardship.
In other words, Paul was self-sustaining when he needed to be and when he chose to be. He actually had a skill. Now, we don't know anything about his life as a maker of tents. How did he get into it? Was this a family business? How did he integrate this into his life as a church planting missionary? Was he good at it? Did he apprentice others to do the same? And there are many more questions that we won't know the answers to.
When I gathered church planting training material from the leading networks and denominations I was curious to see if anyone thought in the same way Paul did. More than that, did anyone train planters to intentionally be like Paul? If so, how were they trained? What were they trained in? That is the focus of the Intrepid book. That's why it is about combining church planting with business startups.
Stayed tuned on pre-order information. Here are what some other people are saying about the book:
From the Foreword by Brad Brisco ... "Today, there is a new movement among bi-vocational leaders. More church planters are choosing to plant bi-vocationally. They are making this decision out of the conviction that bi-vocational church planting actually provides a more desirable way to plant a new church, rather than on the basis of limited funds. In other words, it is becoming a first option, not a last resort." -- Brad Brisco, Director of Bi-vocational Church Planting for the North American Mission Board and author of The Missional Quest and Next Door as It Is in Heaven
"In Intrepid, Sean Benesh takes a fresh look at the age-old struggle of how those in ministry can support themselves while building the kingdom. Sean's innovative approach goes a step further than "tent-making," demonstrating how church planters can be catalysts for holistic transformation in fragile communities. Sean will expand your thinking on the purpose and methods of church planting, demonstrating practical ways church planters can creatively bring the whole gospel to communities. Those who plant churches are entrepreneurs at heart. Sean's approach provides an inspiring blueprint to channel that entrepreneurship into sharing the gospel in word, in deed, and to empower human flourishing." –– Beth Sethi, MBA, Nonprofit Capacity Builder and Adjunct Professor of Global Development, Multnomah University
“I love what Sean is unpacking in this little book, especially since I know that he’s processed all of this in his own life and ministry. I truly wish I’d read a book like this to encourage me toward this type of ministry years ago, but I’m deeply thankful that it’s now out there to encourage future missionaries to the 'uncool' places to do ministry that doesn’t look like church work alone. The truth is that this type of ministry thinking will soon be necessary if we’re to continue to engage deeply as Christians in the United States. I can attest that God has worked through my church, but also through the businesses and community connection points that my community and I have developed over time. It didn’t always feel like ministry, but looking back it’s clear that God truly pulls the pieces together.” –– Andy Littleton, Pastor of Mission Church and Owner of Midtown Artisans in Tucson, AZ
“I’ve long been a fan of anything and everything Benesh writes. He’s a voice in the desert, a clarion call to what’s coming. It’s time to make way for how God wants to come into our communities, and Intrepid is like a highway. The fact that Benesh is a thinking practitioner gives him an edge in the conversation and makes this book worth paying attention to.” –– Peyton Jones, author of Reaching The Unreached and Church Zero
"Sean’s experiential understanding of church planting, entrepreneurship, economics, urban and community development, culture and the call to be a missionary coupled with his rare self-awareness and refreshing humility are seasoning him to become a much needed prophetic voice and clear communicator for this generation of the church. Over the last year, I have had the unique pleasure of getting to know Sean. Over several conversations, reading his blog, his books on Exegeting the City and the Urban Hinterlands and now his latest book on Church Planting and Social Entrepreneurship, I believe Sean has truly tapped into the a kingdom-focused view of missional church planting. This is not just another book about the trends of 'business as mission' or 'church planting as tent making'. It goes deeper, farther, bigger, and requires so much more. This goes to the heart of what it means to be a sent one of God; a disruptor of the kingdom of darkness. A self-starter who steps into their full potential as a fellow image-bearer and creative made in the image of their Creator. Church planters are consumers because they are American; but they are producers more because they are chiefly made to create, start, design, build, and launch something from nothing just like their God did: ex nihilo. To go into a community or city and help build a church out of the dust. To make something exist when before there was nothing. That is missions the way it was meant to be. If you read one book on church planting, read this one." -- Jonathan Chambers, Community Manager of Entrepreneurship, Cherokee Office of Economic Development in Woodstock, GA