What It Means to Be an Entrepreneurial Pastor

Entrepreneurship is one of the new, hot characteristics pastors are claiming for themselves. But many operate, I am afraid, on the wrong definition of an entrepreneur. Because they focus more on personality than skills, more and more pastors are slapping an “E” on their uniform, but can’t play ball.

What entrepreneurship really is

The entrepreneurial attitude has inaccurately been equated with extroversion and riskiness.

Consultant and author, Peter Drucker, is regarded as tops on management and entrepreneurship. His books are a great help to the discerning pastor who can determine which principles overlap with pastoral ministry, and which belong solely in the business world. Drucker, in opposition to the pervasive mindset, says entrepreneurship has little to do with personality, and more to do with action:

“Entrepreneurship should be the least risky rather than the most risky course…Entrepreneurship is ‘risky’ mainly because so few of the so-called entrepreneurs know what they are doing. They lack the methodology. They violate well-known rules” (Innovation and Entrepreneurship, pages 28, 29).

What action, then, defines entrepreneurship?

“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice…the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity” (viii, 28).

Do you want to be an entrepreneurial pastor? Do those three things. Search for change. Respond to it. Exploit it. For the spread of the gospel.

The entrepreneurial pastor is not necessarily an extroverted risk-taker. There is too much at stake to embrace an impulsive ministry model. Rather, the entrepreneurial pastor is someone who methodically hunts for opportunities to minister the gospel based on changes in his church, in his town, and in the world. Particularly, he sees changes as opportunities to be exploited for the gospel, not obstacles for the gospel.

Say a mom left an open package of cookies on the counter. There are risky three year olds who grab the granite and treat the cabinet door like a treadmill. There are those who throw a tantrum because the goods are out of reach. Then there are those who pull the chair from the dining room table and pig out before big sis notices.

Sure, if that toddler keeps it up, he’ll be the fat kid in class someday. But for pastors, opportunity obesity is a good thing.

Why entrepreneurial pastors must rely on God’s grace in Christ by the Spirit

What apparent opportunities are real opportunities? How do you go about tackling them? What do you do when you fail? How do you achieve success?

Each of these questions is answered by the grace of God that all pastors must rely on. Pray to your Heavenly Father for discernment, because he stands ready to give you wisdom (James 1:5). Bow at the cross when you fail to seize opportunities for the gospel, because Jesus has borne your failure already. Pray that the Spirit – who does the work of God among the people of God through the Word of God – would make your efforts find and seize opportunities effective.

A pastor who recognizes and tackles opportunities for the gospel by the grace of God?

That guy’s got game. And he’s probably humble enough not to strut around in the uniform.

(I’m going to follow up this post with one on how to apply Drucker’s seven sources for entrepreneurial opportunities in the context of gospel ministry. So stay tuned!)

(Image credit)


  1. Thanks, Eric! God help us to exercise the requisite chutzpah to be entrepreneurial for the gospel!

  2. Thanks Eric ! A succint correction guiding me to confess to being overly zealous and impulsive. I flirt with the E word and must continue to submit first to prayer. Help me to live it out through Romans 8: The Life in and through the Holy Spirit. His fuel, His fire, His fruit….His will be done and not my desperate desire to “git it done” . Looking forward to reading more…..(btw I’m not a pastor yet imagine getting an MDIV after my 60th birthday_2014)


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