The church can learn much from the business community about growing a great organization.  Just to be clear, the church is not an organization, but rather an organism.  However, the principles of growth are certainly transferable.

In the July/August edition of Inc. magazine, eight highly successful entrepreneurs shared how they built great companies.  The applications to the church are profound.

  1. Optimism and a Positive Focus – Pastors are church leaders of growing churches are optimists.  Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder and “Chief Executive Optimist” of Life Is Good, says “Life Is Good focuses on what’s right in the world.”
  2. Delightful Experiences – When is the last time someone described their experience at your church as “delightful”?  People have enough hassle in life.  They certainly do not need it at church.  Cynthia Rowley, Founder of Cynthia Rowley, Inc, says, “The more people shop online, the more a brick-and-mortar shopping experience has to be something delightful.”
  3. Continually Innovate – The needs of those in your community and church are constantly changing.  Your ministry should as well.  Jack Dangermond, Co-Founder of ESRI, says, “We concentrate on what our customers want…Customers notice that we are actually here to support them.  And their needs help us innovate.  We spend about a quarter of our annual revenue on innovation.”  Pastors and church leaders, how much of your time, energy, and resources are focused on innovating for the purpose of better reaching your community?
  4. Maximize Opportunity – For many unchurched people who finally visit a local church, they will only get one chance to impress them.  Naomi Whittel, Founder of Reserveage Organics, had one chance to make a great first impression when she debuted on QVC.  She said, “The pressure was intense.  When yo go on, you have one shot – you either make it or you don’t.”
  5. Have A Sense Of Humor – Alexa Von Tobel, CEO of LEARNVEST, learned much about leadership from meeting her idol Richard Branson.  She said, “Something cool about meeting him was how playful he is.  As a young entrepreneur, I’m always learning what kind of leader I want to be.  Here was someone who had accomplished so much.  And he wasn’t intimidating.  He was hilarious.”
  6. Make Hard Choices – After laying off 24 of his 66 employees, Ben Huh, Founder of Cheeseburger, noted, “When faced with a problem, you want to run in the other direction…I have to do what’s best for the company.”  Pastors and church leaders, are you willing to make the hard choices and do what is best for your church?
  7. Recognize Touch Points – When Andrew Berlin purchased the South Bend Silver Hawks Single-A baseball team, fans considered the experience of attending a game as a dismal experience.  He immediately identified 36 touch points from the moment you arrive at the game until the time you leave.  He improved each touch point.  Attendance is now booming and people love attending games.  How many touch points do people have from the time they arrive in the church parking until the time they leave your campus?  Are you prepared to improve each one?
  8. Relentless Commitment To Vision – Early on, David Tran, Founder of Huy Fong Foods, had many people telling him to change the recipes of his food.  He says, “When running a business, people always have advice.  An early customer told me the sauce was too hot, that I should change it.  I refused.”  He goes on to add, “People have told me, too, that I should make different flavored sauces, like a spicy ketchup.  I said no.  It’s best to keep it simple.”  Pastors, can you relate?

Optimism, Delightful Experiences, Continually Innovate, Maximize Opportunity, Have A Sense Of Humor but also Make The Hard Choices, Recognize Touch Points, and have a Relentless Commitment To Vision.  If you do these eight things, you will better position yourself to have a growing, healthy organism.

Which point listed above most resonates with you?


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