Matt Adair is replanter of Christ Community Church in Athens, Georgia. He wrote earlier this month on Embracing Your Unique Gifting and Leveraging it for Jesus’ Mission. Here he looks at the power source for the church’s employment of their gifts.
Entrepreneurial Aptitude – A Sacred Trust
Church planters are gluttons for punishment.
The spiritual soil of the cities we dig around in often feels like petrified clay. The first people to jump on the bandwagon as we plot world domination will most likely abandon us. The stress that comes from denominational agencies, our families and the deepest recesses of our souls is a force powerful enough to stop a charging rhino dead in his tracks.
And now I’m asking you to take another whack of the paddle by leading with the kind of edge that emphasizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. Odds are that you believe there’s a direct correlation between the problems in your plant and your foibles as an entrepreneur. If only you were more outgoing or better organized, more like Driscoll or Chandler or Patrick or Kilgore or Vanderstelt…
Nevermind that marketplace influencers like Seth Godin (in books like Linchpin) are begging and pleading with you to use your unique wiring to create something of significance. Set aside the fact that an entire cottage industry surrounds the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment in an effort to help you identify and lead from a position of strength rather than exerting max effort to address your weaknesses and gaining minimal reward at best.
We share this vision of edgy entrepreneurship. However, with all due respect to the best and brightest in the business industry, we are forced to part ways when it comes to identifying the power source of our life and leadership. The business gurus encourage self-actualization (maximizing our own glory as our greatest potential), while for the Jesus-worshipping church planter our greatest potential comes from maximizing the glory of God by the power of an external source we are utterly dependent on: the Holy Spirit. At the end of the day, entrepreneurial aptitude for starting a new church – adopting an attitude that embraces our unique brand of genius – is a mysterious gift of humility and confidence that the Holy Spirit gives to us for the glory of God and the good of his world.
And it is out of this doxological-redemptive trajectory – loving God and loving people – that churches thrive. Where unique gifting is leveraged for the glory of God, there’s an organic group of missionaries in community empowered by the gospel. Our entrepreneurial edginess does not serve people as means to a self-directed end because our mission is to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). The discovery of our own genius is not meant to prop up our ego but should be put into play to equip people to be the church (Ephesians 4:7-12).
And at the end and underneath it all is a hope the world finds confusing or cuss-worthy (1 Corinthians 1:23) – a courage that is not buried deep inside of us but a courage we see nailed to a cross 2,000 years ago on a Palestinian hillside. Here is attitudinal aptitude par excellence – the boldness of doing what only you can do (Acts 4:12) wrapped around the kind of humility that lays down your life for people that you love (Mark 10:45).
This means that entrepreneurial aptitude is not a strategy – it is a sacred trust that has been pressed into us and is lived out as we press into the Jesus who came to turn the world right side up and make everything better than brand new (Revelation 21:5).