Thursday, July 20, 2006

Entrepreneurial Threat?

I was recently in conversation with some denominational administrators. They said something that I had not heard before. They said that the threat of congregationalism has been superceded by the new threat of entrepreneurialism. I had no reply because it was a totally new concept to me. It did not take much later reflection for me to realize that when entrepreneurialism is a threat, it is a bad indicator of the health of the organzation. Any organization that does not appreciate its entrepreneurs is headed the wrong direction -- especially if they stifle or lose them. We almost worship the ground that the pioneers of our church walked on. We restore their homes and barns. We go on pilgrimages. But we fail to remember that a pioneer was an entrepreneur of a different time. A pioneer, by definition, is one who is so dissatisfied with what is that he or she strikes out to find or create something new. Pioneers are usually young, or at least young at heart. They do not accept the status quo because they are driven by a vision of what could be. They are often rejected by their contemporaries, but revered by their later followers. When their followers so revere their forefathers that they reject the current "pioneers" (entrepreneurs), then the climate is created for new models and new organizations. The dissastisfied few will always explore and invent, their contemporaries will always stand back with folded arms and criticise, and their followers will always lay concrete on the new path. I guess it is just the way it is. But should it be that way? Let me know what you think.

Dennis Pumford
Assistant Directional Leader


Kanaleis said...

Dennis is correct. We look backward to revere our pioneers as bold and courageous, then proceed to stifle those who would look forward with the same spirit. No more...

Jim said...

Reminds me of a book I was just reading not long ago. The author is making a comparison of the Christian experience to painting. He's talking about how art is alive and it changes and it grows and there's always something new to be painted, to be discovered, and then he starts talking about Christianity.

"Here's what often happens: Somebody comes along who has a fresh perspective on the Christian faith. People are inpired. A movement starts. Fatih that was stale and dying is now alive. But then the pioneer of the movement - the painter - dies and the followers stop exploring. They mistakenly assume that their leader's words were the last ones on the subject, and they freeze their leader's words. They forget that as that innovator was doing his or her part to move thigns along, that person was merely taking part in the discussion that will go on forever. And so in their commitment to what so-and-so said and did, they end up freezing the faith." pp.13 "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell.

Karl Wagner said...

As one who has closed several businesses, I can fully appreciate the drive of our pioneers and their entrepreneurial spirit. Discarding "company" mentality, they sought to give a new message away and outside the status quo of the church. I don't believe they did this intentionally, but found no alternative to the ever increasing pressure from the church to stay within the box.
I've seen well meaning leaders give the "company" line, maybe unaware themselves how entrenched they are in the organizational structure. Unable to break free, they deminish the cause they have given their very lives to propergate. While we can sympathize with them, we cannot allow them to keep us from moving foreward with the gospel because it happens not to fit their particular view.

Anonymous said...

Organizations that you speak of have one goal, whether stated or not, preserving the organization. This is true especially of church organization. Any perceived threat to the organization is dealt with harshly, usually by disfellowshipping the individual(s) seeking to try something new. Just imagine if you will if Jesus had yielded to the organized church of his day. Christianity would never have moved out of Jerusalem. Go Mission Catalyst!! Don T. in Redding, CA

Dick said...

Do you think that if the current move entrepreneuralism had prevailed the Seventh-day Aventist Church would have been able 1- to carry its message to virually the whole world? 2- to keep its doctrine intact? I don't think so.

Gary said...

Interesting thoughts Dennis. Of course you have always been able to see things others don't.

I have a new book sitting on my desk. It is called "Pastorpreneur" (Jackson) and I am anxious to read it.

All I know is that one of the things lacking in the church is innovation, creativity, and real leadership. True, the Adventist church may not have been as successful as it is without organization, but if the organization doesn't stay fresh and relevant, it is no longer necessary.

Anonymous said...

Although Dennis makes some good and poignant thoughts, could he have misunderstood the leader's comments. It could be that he was saying that there is such a measure of individualism in our church today that no one really wants to work together? Everyone wants to do their own thing? Although we need entreprenuers like Dennis is talking about and we need to be able to encourage them and not stifle them, we also need the ability to work together as a team.

Stuck in a good rut said...

Another sign of decline in effectiveness of an organization is when the leadership devotes most of the time at the stakeholders/constituency meetings telling the attendees what a wonderful job the organization has done in the past rather then discussing with the attendees how they can more effectively reach the organizational goals.

Dick said...

Are the administrators of the church really leading or are they simply consensus builders? It seems to me that the true leader leads, while the administrator administers. This may be a short fall in some Seventh-day Adventist churches and is a risk for any church. Those who are suppose to lead are administrating while the real leadership has passed to other hands. Sometimes the leadership in a church can be an agendized minority.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, God does not feed His people any new truth through the pioneers. We can gain new insights about the old truths, but no new truth emerges from it.
With the Adventist theologians who were not satisfied with waiting upon God to reveal that which was not yet revealed, they have all clamored after the teachings of other churches, primarily the Catholic teachings. Another person had said that where Ellen White was silent on certain passages, the SDA church has adopted the Catholic teaching on that passage. This is true concerning the seven heads of the beast, and the interpretations given to the counting of the number 666. Yet for the last 9 years, the truth concerning these items has been revealed, and like you have said, they sit back and criticize this new light. Even LK, a renown Adventist pastor, has openly rejected it, yet when questioned as to why, he gives NO ANSWER! All the words that I have read from the SOP that indicate the manner in which new truth would be treated, I have witnessed as the manner that this new light has been treated. Superhuman effort has been put forth to prevent the people from receiving this message. Yet no one, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NO ONE has ever demonstrated that I stand in error. The BRI is foremost in rejecting this and their influence over the church and our pastors is shamefully apparent in their Monthly newsletter ``Reflections'' when they openly borrowed the Catholic's teachings on the seven heads and refuted (poorly) what I had given them. (Jan 2005) They could not even quote what I had written correctly, but misrepresented it in the worst way, in order to make people believe that what I had written was wrong. They failed to demonstrate it. Their alignment with the Catholic's teaching is very apparent and outright shameful!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dick and Anonymous. Yes I know that this church (SDA) would have reached the whole world and have gotten farther in our Message if we continued with the spirit of Ellen White & her entrepreneurial ways. You would not believe the writings of hers that have been hidden by the church. (talk about being like the old Catholics) Study why she really went to Australia, she was forced! Also read about so many of the ministries she wanted us to do that never happened. Mission Catalyst is truly going back to our ROOTS and the way a Group of Disciples of Christ shold be run. EW did not want all this administration and without it we would have ALL the $$$$ needed to reach ALL people groups, and Keep ur doctrines(those of the Bible) completely intact! Do not fool yourself that Church Politics will keep the SDA church on the right track. Politics is politics and always has some corruptabilty. I love our church but we need to open our eyes to what our Youth need and what the world needs from us before we can make disciples!

Barry said...

God never speaks to His servant thru His people. He speaks to His people thru His servant. But in most cases today, God's servant has been reduced to nothing more than an errand boy or girl.

The real test of the "Anointing Factor" as I like to call it, is fruit. Where there is no fruit, no anointing.

Why is it that we "call" a pastor to a church to lead and then ask him or her to bring that calling on their lives, that anointing to preach the everlasting good news, and lay it on the table of the church board so they can tell him how to run the ministry that God has given him or her???

For every good thing that God has given us, satan has a substitute, a fake, and it will generally come to you 180 degrees out of sinc with God's plan. It will come to you BACKWARDS!!

The original blog that is posted here is a breath of fresh air! God bless you sir!

Mi dos centavos,
Church Planter

Ralph Myers said...

The status Quo of the SDA church and its leadership, is a dead end road. All they have to do to know this, is to read the Spirit of Prophecy concerning themselves. They, like the nominal Adventists, are waiting for something to happen that will set the final events in motion, yet they do not realize that when this will begin to occur, they will not jump up and help the cause, but rather they will execute their efforts to stop it and prevent it from happening.

Ralph Myers said...

Not only has there been this revoking of ministerial credentials, but the same Larry Kirkpatrick that has called the work that I have done as being wrong, without providing any evidence whatsoever, has posted his article blasting Mission Catalyst for being an offshoot, and again, without providing any evidence. Yet the evidence that I have seen in his "blasting" is rooted in his own speculative accusations that are unfounded. He bases his accusations upon what he says that he does not see, yet fails to prove that what he cannot see, is not actually there. And just like a faithful Catholic, he is upholding the traditions (27 fundamental beliefs) of men, that our pioneers fought to avoid; the making of a creed. The Bible and the Bible only is sufficient, and any of these 27 that find their place in this truth, and are accurately presented as truth, are fine, but what about the rest of the Word?
Among other sources of information that I have read concerning the "Alpha" and the "Omega" of apostasy, the Alpha consisted of those who attacked the SDA movement from the outside, whereas the Omega consists of those who have infiltrated the SDA leadership and is in charge of the status quo of the church, and are attacking the SDA church from the inside. They refuse to see the truth, and are actively working to prevent anything from upsetting their applecart. As for both parties in this dispute; by their fruits you will know them.

Ralph Myers said...

Anonymous said...? anonymous said...! (Aug 27) I know what anonymous said, and I know what I have said, and if anonymous wishes to assist me in disseminating the truth, I wish anonymous would come forward and contact me. But please do not mingle your anonymous words with MY words, and speak them as though they were the words of "anonymous" for I am NOT anonymous. I am Ralph Myers, and the work that I have done on the number 666 is what the BRI have shoddily refuted in their "Reflections" newsletter. However, I do not disagree with the "other" words posted by "anonymous" but rather I feel in unity with him/her. (I'm also flattered to be quoted, even anonymously.) As Paul wrote: I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. Rom 1:14 I am a debtor to all for the Gospel's sake, and I am ready to preach the Gospel to (all) that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the (SDA) first, and also to the (world).

We are not lights hidden under a bushel, and unity among ourselves is founded upon the central truth of our mission.

Just as this SDA church began with independent movements in both Europe and America simultaneously, the finishing work of this church will be taken up by the simultaneous efforts of individuals and movements such as Mission Catalyst and "anonymous" and others as well as myself.

Warren said...

I believe that people generally attack entrepreneurs, because many people are afraid to try something new. I don't fault conference leadership for this attitude when it crops up, because I think it is common to mostly everyone. It's not just the conference leaders that may have this problem. It is often the common church members too.

That said, entrepreneurs need to be willing to listen to concerns and advice of others, and at least take them under consideration. Most of all, the advice we have been given in the Bible and writings of Elleng G. White.

If your idea is Biblically sound and no valid concerns exist, don't let others hold you down. However, I have concerns about this Mission Catalyst Network that I haven't seen anyone (conference or MCN) mention.

1. Do MCN members fully subscribe to the belief that Ellen White's writings are authoritative today? I haven't heard a clear answer on that. I'm sincerely asking. If not, I would be concerned.

2. MCN may feel it knows how to use tithe better than the church body at large. But that seems arrogant to me. If you feel tithe isn't being used correctly, let the world church deal with the issue, rather than taking matters in your own hands. Yes, it may take more time, but submitting to others in love is a test of Christianity. Is MCN willing to do that? It appears not, but I hope to be proved wrong.

Mission Catalyst said...


You are right -- people of all stripes have an initial fear reaction to entrepreneurs. We all resist change. That is why it is important to allow new churches to emerge with new strategies for accomplishing the task. Most may fail, some will survive and eventually become the norm.

As to your questions, yes, we Mission Catalyst Network leaders do believe Ellen White to be inspired by God and a blessing to His church. As to the wording of "her writings being authoritative," we believe that the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. She believed that also.
Evidently the early church did not believe that everything Paul wrote was authoritative or the other letters to the Corinthians would have been included in Scripture.

You stated that Mission Catalyst feels that they know better how to use the tithe than the Church. We have never stated that. We believe that in a pluralistic society their should be more than one way to accomplish the same outcome. We have a message to get out to the world, and there should be opportunities for people to try using the tithe to spread the gospel. Some may be better, some may not be as good. I would rather try and fail, than fail to try and succeed.