In this blog Leen de Bruyne shares ten entrepreneurial lessons for the church of the 21st century.
1. God is a God of tremendous creativity
God took time to create the heaven, earth and life and really enjoyed the process of creativity. God thought about every detail He wanted to create (Psalms 139:13-14). In the same way, entrepreneurs are creative people. They are open, intuitive, they just walk around and see new opportunities which they want to turn into reality. Ask God to send you His endless flow of creativity in order to get new perspectives, ideas and energy!
2. God is a risk-taker
Entrepreneurs like to take risks. Maybe things turn out very successful, but most probably they will fail. As I read through the Old Testament, I do not read a great, efficient story. Far from that! You get a picture of God who is struggling with His own people, adapting His strategy, sometimes improvising, adding new people or changing things. As a church planter, do not be afraid to take a risk!
3. Things are created twice
According to Stephen Covey, things are created twice, first in your mind and after that in reality. In the Kingdom of God this functions the same way. Paul writes in the letter of Ephesians: “Walk in the works He prepared in advance for you” (2:10). God already created everything and He only asks from you to walk in these works. If you have the conviction of planting a church, realize that God has created it. Go there and turn it into reality.
4. God is a God of abundance
One very interesting verse in the Bible is: “You cannot serve God and the mammon” (Matthew 6:24). It is impossible to serve both. Why? Because the mammon is the god of money and represents a world of scarcity. Unfortunately, within the church is a lot of scarcity thinking as well, because we do not realize that God can give us more than we even dare to imagine. Begin to view God as a God of abundance and it will change your attitude.
5. Jesus is ready to do new things
A lot of people want new wine, but they want to put these new wine in old wineskins (Mark 2:22). However, this does not work. It is either old wine in old wineskins, or new wine in new wineskins. By the way, Jesus says that the old wine is even better than the new wine. If Jesus says it is fine to use new wineskins, feel free to apply new ideas and do new things! Do not feel the pressure to justify what you are doing to those who prefer the old structures.
6. The future is greater than the past
Entrepreneurs always discern new opportunities and think about next steps. Although it might not give you an impression as Spirit-lead, Jesus promised “You shall do even greater things than I have done” (John 14:12). I want to encourage you, in the process of planting a church, to keep thinking big! Do not be surprised when God blesses you enormously.
7. We are saved to be free
Why does an entrepreneur quit his job? He wants to be free! Finally, he ends up with a lot of employees, working eighty hours a week and gets a heart attack before he reaches fifty. The initial idea was to get more freedom. As soon as you become a Christian, God saves you to be free (John 8:36). Are you really free? We are so used to be slaves, because it is so unusual to be a free person. If someone criticizes you, do you immediately feel sad? At the moment you have a creative, unusual idea or thought, do you regard yourself a heretic? The reason might be that you are part of an old structure, which cannot handle new things. Above all, realize that in Christ, you are free. Make your own decisions with confidence.
8. Failing is the fertilizer of new beginnings
In business, failing is the normal pattern and success is an exception. Strangely enough, in the church is failing not really an option. The reasoning is as follows: if you understood God immediately, why did you fail? When you fail, it becomes a personal issue, it is your fault. However, Jesus is far more realistic than we are (Luke 17:33). Failure is not a problem, it is a way to learn. It is a way to humble yourself, to break down the flesh and to become more dependent on the Holy Spirit.
9. Work together
A good entrepreneur does not like to reinvent the wheel. Within the church, I observe that a lot of people want to invent everything by themselves: own churches, own theology and own books. That is completely fine, but it is not really effective. Work together, since we have to function as a body (Ephesians 4:16).
10. Make His Kingdom visible
We live in an era in which church and business are no longer separate worlds. Make the Kingdom of God, His new world in action, visible around you. Do good, bring justice into your neighborhood, care for people, be kind (Micha 6:8). Walk humbly with your God. You may practice this everywhere, in church and in your business.
Leen de Bruyne shared this message during the Advance! conference in September 2021. This article is a summary.