Spiritual entrepreneurship and core values.

David Kinnaman, the author of UnChristian, recently gave an interview in which he had this to say about the changing times we are experiencing in the Christian Faith:

“I think we are likely to see a time of spiritual entrepreneurship that we have not seen in centuries. By that I mean many new ventures for the cause of the Kingdom will flourish. New ministries, businesses, non-profits, and education systems will be created by Christians who are eager to refashion a livable, godly, just, and beautiful society.”

I have been thinking much about spiritual entrepreneurship, what that phrase means, and whether or not it is a term that I can claim. After much thought (and prayer, of course), I believe it is a term that I can claim for my ministry, at least at this point. An entrepreneur, Webster claims, “is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” The church, as an organization, certainly has a “business” side, from income and expense reports, to membership and worship attendance statistics, to paying bills, the church operates like any non-profit business. The difference, of course, is that the business of a church is not to increase profit margins. Instead, I believe that the church’s purpose is to increase the clarity of the Kingdom of God here on earth. I think this is a venture worth taking the risk on, because I believe, with all that I am, that the church is uniquely positioned to reach out to the world.

Like any good entrepreneur, I have spent some time developing what I believe the missional guidelines (core values) for the church ought to be. I’ll spend at least one post on each one of these, and the list will probably change over time, but for now they are:

1. The Church must be Kingdom focused.
2. Healthy things grow.
3. We ought to err on the side of grace.
4. Discipleship matters.
5. Jesus is for everyone.

Grace and Peace.

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10 Responses to “Spiritual entrepreneurship and core values.”
  1. Where have you been? Long time no post. I hope things are well. Looking forward to read more in the coming posts.

  2. Ben Fields says:

    At first that statment offended me but then I realised it is exactly what I am doing. Spiritual entrepreneurship. I am a small business owner (15) w/ an auto repair shop. I started a non-profit 15 months ago, Named for the 44th book of the bible, Acts. One thing we do is take donated cars fix them up and give them away. 26 so far.This is my expression of my faith that I could not seem to express in church.So now I just try to be church.

  3. JRG says:

    I am interested in hearing your definition of “the Church”, and I’m not sure I understand what Mr. Kinnamon means by such general phraseology as “the cause of the Kingdom”. In that connection, is it possible to have a “Church” without a business side? It seems to me that too much emphasis on certain aspects of entrepreneurship is what gives churches and Christians a bad name. Can the Church realize the core values you list without having a business side, and if not, how much emphasis does the business side require? I am amazed at the billions (trillions?) of dollars spent on stuff like buildings and wonder what amount, proportionally, actually goes to help people in need. Which brings me to a suggestion for another core value: The church must be people-focused.

  4. JRG,
    Not to put to put words in Paul’s mouth but your suggestion of being people focused I think comes into play with being centered upon the Kingdom of God. I am sure you know that building the Kingdom of God is not the same as constructing buildings, but building relationships (between God, neighbor and self).

    Just my two cents.

  5. JRG says:


    To me, being “kingdom focused” and “people focused” is not the same thing. Your point, if I understand correctly, is that the latter is a subset of the former, but in my opinion one should not be emphasized over the other.

  6. sheyduck says:

    Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg fame wrote a book titled “Spiritual Entrpreneurs” that you might be interested in. haven’t read it, but I really got a lot out of his “Unlearning Church.”

    As to “kingdom focused” v. “people focused,” I perceive that the former must include the latter, but the latter doesn’t necessarily include the former.

    • JRG says:

      One last comment, and I’ll go away. Obviously, the church must be kingdom-focused. The church must also, equally, be people-focused. There is no other way to read the parable of the good samaritan. I believe that, for a Christian, being people-focused always includes being kingdom-focused.

  7. sheyduck says:

    Oh, yeah, and welcome back to the blogosphere, Paul!

  8. I like this topic!
    “The Church must be Kingdom focused” – Knowing this means Kingdom of God/Heaven focused, and not the kingdom of Hutto, Paul or The UMC,
    I wonder HOW will you measure success in this area, when success (what you do and your church does) may benefit other churches, para churches, or spiritual organizations that are outside the traditional measurement criteria of worship, small group attendance, and giving.
    So Rev. Spiritual Entrepreneur how will you measure something that has no length, width, height or number? (yes, I know this is bringing out the not-so inner nerd in me).

  9. Kyle says:

    Are there 5-10 easy steps to anything?Are the needs of our churches, communities, nation, world really able to be boiled down to a list of 5-10 things? Seems to me that this is a rather simplistic, business/administrative model of looking at the church.  Would argue that the needs of each individual church is unique and that the needs/essentials of our churches greater could be greater than the five you listed. All for using metaphors but find the metaphors of business and corporate world virtually bankrupt, overused (esp. in modern circles) and diminishing to the miraculous, mystical, and the Divine.

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