Why Your Church Should Launch a Business or Non-Profit

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Wait, start a business? That’s not what you went to seminary for and learned?

You mean in between learning Greek and Hebrew, plowing through obscure commentaries on the minor prophets, and digging deep on your views of Supralapsarianism you didn’t take a business class? Nothing on startups? Social entrepreneurship?

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t either.

For most of us, training and education, whether for pastoral ministries or in church planting, was really about churchy things … how to preach, how to write sermons, how to visit people in the hospital (and not make a fool of yourself), counsel, officiate weddings, conduct funerals, step into to lead VBS when your volunteer flakes out, and more.

But how to start a social enterprise whether a business or non-profit? Not so much. The follow-up question is, should you?

Yes. Yes, you should. Why?

Because your community needs it. Your church needs it. You need it. Let’s unpack this.

Reason #1 - Your Community Needs It

Just this morning on social media for Intrepid I posted this equation … “current needs + who you are + missio Dei = new startup venture.” That pretty much sums up what Intrepid is about. Helping you see and assess the current needs in your community, giving you permission and freedom to be who you are, connecting this all into the narrative of God’s redemptive work and reconciliation of all things, and the outcome is your startup venture. I can’t tell you what to start. However, as you survey and take the pulse of your community you’ll begin to see what needs are there.

Maybe your neighborhood or town needs a new laundromat, community center, workout gym, daycare, auto body shop, Gluten free restaurant, trail building advocacy group, and there’s so much more. The fun reality is you get to color outside the lines. Your community needs you. This is an amazing opportunity to live out the gospel.

Reason #2 - Your Church Needs It

Sometimes churches have a difficult time collectively connecting with the community. Yes, on an individual basis the church is made up of people who live in the community, but as a church-wide presence? This is where starting some kind of for-profit or non-profit can be key. How amazing would it be to see churches starting laundromats in communities where this is none, spearheading affordable housing developments, or launching a non-profit that cares for a local riparian habitat?

This is a great way for people part of your church to love their community, serve people, and build genuine relationships based out of mutual respect where people are not projects. Yes, churches Jetset all over the world on exotic mission trips, but what would happen if churches saw their neighborhood or town as their mission field to love and serve? Crazy amazing things would happen.

Reason #3 - You Need It

Pastor or church planter I’m talking to you. You need this. No more forced conversations with strangers in the park or at coffee shops. I call it Creepy Church Planter Syndrome. Yes, we all want to build genuine relationships. 100% agree. With launching a business or non-profit it will come so incredibly naturally that you won’t be forcing conversations any longer. Plus, your people will see your example of loving and listening to people … and will do likewise.

Plus it’ll get you out of your office (whether you have a building or an attic office at home) and into the community. Offices are the kryptonite to pastoral ministry and church planting. They should be banned, but that’s another conversation. ;-) The point is, like with your people, you’ll continue to be thrust into your neighborhood and town. That means greater opportunities to demonstrate the gospel … and to share the gospel. It’s a win-win.

I can only imagine how spectacular of a sight it’d be if more churches and church plants would launch businesses and non-profits. I’m convinced it’d have more impact than larger attendance at worship services.

If you’d like to stay connected and hear about ongoing opportunities to learn how to start social enterprises click on the button below.

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Written by Sean Benesh

Director of Intrepid

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