The Business of Church Isn’t Business

“Those engaged in pastoral work are often tempted to adopt efficient management, planning and organization models inspired by the world of business but also a lifestyle and mentality that are guided more by worldly criteria of success and even power than by the criteria Jesus presents to us in the Gospel,” Pope Francis

A church is not a business. A business is successful if it has a positive bottom line. Church success is more related to what it gives away and not what it accumulates. Churches can’t be successfully run using business principles. The differences are obvious.

Leadership. Businesses have a human CEO. Jesus is the CEO of the church. On earth, churches should have team leadership. The boss is at the right hand of the Father. He speaks through a leadership group not a dictator.

Motivation. Businesses are profit driven. Churches are, or should be, Gospel driven. The Gospel is central to every sermon, program and meeting , and the advancement of it both locally and globally drive strategic initiatives.

Employees. In business, positions are filled with experienced and trained people. In church, God uses people with spiritual gifts. He uses the unlikely, so He gets the glory.

Involvement. In business, there is an “A” team, the stars, that everyone else supports. Church is not a spectator sport, it’s participatory. Everyone plays an important part.

Culture. Business have a “culture.” Certain types are recruited; folks who will fit in. Churches should reflect the diversity of the community they serve. Jesus takes the different and binds them together.

Success Measurement. Business is bottom line judged. Churches, Jesus said, will be judged by how they love, demonstrating itself in friendliness, generosity, internal/external care programs and community involvement.

Strength. In business the strong survive. To be weak is to be killed. In church, all are admittedly weak and vulnerable. Most likely there is a thriving small group program where members truly can have great biblical conversations, share struggles and pray with/for each other. Strengthen comes from God through mutual support.

Story. In business, there is “business-speak” a corporate story. In church the people are being inspired and equipped to share their faith relationally, telling their story,  resulting in more and more new believers being added to the church.

Theory. In business, employees are trained using the latest and greatest success theories. In church, the teaching/preaching is biblical, theological and immensely practical.

Future. Business relies on external systems of education for future employees. In church, ministry to children and teenagers are top priorities, not afterthoughts.

The Engine. In business, profit, success, and advancement are king. In church intercessory prayer fuels everything. It’s the engine, not the caboose, of how the church rolls from top to bottom.

Do we need to rethink the business of church?

One Comment
  1. I could not agree more. I might also add that a Board of Directors is a corporate entity required by the state for any corporation. Unfortunately, many Boards also tend to deal with spiritual matters. I lean toward a Board of Elders dealing with spiritual matters.

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