12 Characteristics of a Spiritual Entrepreneur

6. Believe this is bigger than them

Of all the criticisms levied at spiritual entrepreneurs, the most common is often that they have big egos and it’s all about them.

Sometimes that’s true.

But most often it’s not.

Big vision does not automatically equal big ego.

The best spiritual entrepreneurs humbly submit to God and are committed to a vision that is so much bigger than they are.

Personal humility combined with big ambition for the mission fosters incredible leadership.

Think about it this way. The reason we’re talking about Paul 2,000 years later is that Paul’s work wasn’t about Paul; it was about Jesus and the mission of the church.

If your vision is all about you, it will die with you.

True spiritual entrepreneurs know that.

7. Ship first, improve later

Perfectionists make terrible entrepreneurs.

If you haven’t shipped on your vision yet because you’re waiting for ideal conditions or the perfect result, you’ll wait forever.

People email me all the time (usually after going to a conference hosted by a large church with lots of resources) and ask whether a new building or better lighting or a move to a portable location will help them grow.

I always tell them it won’t (here’s why).

Big churches never started big. They usually started very humbly. But because they are led by spiritual entrepreneurs, those entrepreneurs at every stage made the most of whatever they had.

A spiritual entrepreneur can launch a growing church in a dying building with little money.

Then they make all the improvements later as facilities and resources grow.

8. Are fine with ambiguity

Ask a spiritual entrepreneur how they’re going to do it, and the #1 answer is, “I don’t know. We’re just going to do it.”

There’s something powerful in that.

If you have it all figured out before you launch it, your vision isn’t big enough.

9. Will risk it all without guarantee of success

Too many leaders hope for some kind of guarantee.

Risk brings no guarantees because it’s risk.

Spiritual entrepreneurs are OK with that.

Most spiritual entrepreneurs want to die trying. Usually they don’t die trying, but the fact that they’re willing to is crucial.

Ironically, if a spiritual entrepreneur has a solid plan that’s on mission, they usually don’t fail. But you have to be willing to fail to succeed.

10. Never wait for consensus

Too many churches will only move forward if there is consensus.

That’s a critical mistake.

Consensus kills courage. By the time you have consensus, ideas are so watered down they are worthy of the committee that put them together.

Spiritual entrepreneurs rarely act alone (at least the smart ones don’t). But they’re ready to move ahead with a group of early adopters knowing most will eventually buy into whatever is being proposed once they see it working.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.