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Monday, January 29, 2007

A Comparison of Business and Church

It has been over a year now since I've left my previous career track as a pastor and ventured back into the business realm. What has made the transition so easy is that if you squint a little bit, being a pastor and being an entrepreneur are one in the same. With few exceptions, the average entrepreneur and the average pastor face the same challenges day in and day out.

There were of course many contributing factors to why I left life as a pastor, but the deciding factor had to do with the incompatability of having a healthy personal life, family life and ministry.

Today in the entrepreneurial environment, I see sometimes five people a day who are getting ready to start a business, and it is my responsibility to help them navigate that process. As any good navigator would, I give them the heads up on what may lie ahead if they make certain decisions. As a result, I often have a conversation with a starry eyed, soon to be entrepreneur about the sacrifice they will have to make in personal and family life to make their business a success. I tell them that their marriage will definately be strained if not end in divorce, and that their kids may resent them for spending time with the business instead of them, even if they someday leave them a successful business to run as an inheritance.

I was recently reading Leadership Journal's article titled Leader's Insight: The Subtle Sin of Grandiosity and as I read it I couldn't help but to draw an instant parallel between the struggles of ministry and entrepreneurship. Read the article, but every time you read the word "church" or "ministry" substitute "business" and see if it doesn't change your perspective on what it takes to start a business.

This quote really drove home the point on both the ministry and business aspects.

"I remember a church [business]-planting consultant who warned a group of us that we would need to pay the price if we wanted a successful church plant [business start]. We'd have to do whatever it took: let our marriages suffer, put our children on hold. But it seemed to me then, and it does now, that this cannot be the way God intended ministry [business needs to be]."