A new group of ministers is emerging on the scene. I call these folks “ministry entrepreneurs.”
These are folks who have a particular vision for ministry and have not been able (or willing) to find a way to pursue it in traditional ecclesial structures. This may be a calling to minister to a specific unreached people group. The person may have a passion to build up the churches through his or her unique gifts to teach or encourage. Perhaps this person is filling a ministry niche that has been unfilled.
To put it another way, the person may be saying one of the following to the churches:
- “Come alongside and help me in an important ministry.”
- “Let me help you to do your ministry.”
- “Allow me to be a broker or networker who will connect you with ministry partners.”
We find such people involved in congregational development, clergy development, community missions, marketplace ministry, lay development, new church starts and global missions (among others). The examples are endless.
My question is, “Who is training these people?” Many come out of traditional seminary programs and have developed other skills that uniquely equip them for these focused ministries. Others are autodidacts who have taught themselves what they need to know.
Just as college and universities have developed programs for entrepreneurs in business and industry, is there a place to develop ministry entrepreneurs?
In regard to these ministry entrepreneurs, I think it would be interesting to discover:
· What do they need to know (knowledge)?
· What do they need to be able to do (skills)?
· What do they need to be (values)?
Although much of what they learn would be similar to the knowledge, skills and values of a church or judicatory minister, their peculiar calling demands other training.
Are there seminaries or theological schools providing preparation for this new category of ministers? If so, I would be interested in discovering who they are.
Ircel Harrison is coaching coordinator for Pinnacle Leadership Associates and is supplemental associate professor of missional theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.