Are You Ready To Run A Business? If Not… Get to Work!
A very important person has asked me to run one of his key enterprises for him. He says I’m totally irreplaceable in this particular outfit. “It’s you or it’s total disaster,” he says. Based on my background, it scares the bejeebers out of me… but I have no choice. I must take the job; It’s “my destiny” or something.
Why am I petrified? Well, allow me to review my background: I got a speech communication degree with a music composition minor… would YOU install a liberal arts goofball as your CEO? I know next to nothing about human resources, accounting, systems, project management or, really, any of the skills that someone would need to run anything that mattered.
But God is insistent. He wants me to run… my family.
My family requires a leader who knows something about: developing and maintaining people, accounting and budgeting, and project management out the wazoo. It’s daunting, plain and simple (and nobody ever told me this before I walked down the aisle)!
Not only does God want me to run this family, He says it’s a proving ground into even bigger work. “Come now, Regis, that’s crazy talk,” you’ll say. “How could the development of a family culture (including the eternal salvation of all of us), a multigenerational legacy, and establishing a 5-capital legacy for my great grandchildren be outsized by anything??” I’ll tell you:
…by doing the above for the whole church. And God happens to be looking for a few good fathers that He could trust with that job. But if you haven’t learned the lessons at one of the field headquarters, He absolutely will NOT promote you to Central Agency work. Take a listen:
3 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[b] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Allow me to give you the Abraham’s Wallet Translation (AWT) of the passage above (forgive me but Imma gloss over much of the character stuff for the point of this post):
“Anybody want to be a leader in the church? I hope so. There will be some requirements. For instance:
- You’ll have to be able to train somebody in discipline and self-control, and have it yourself.
- You’ll have to be good with money, but not be greedy.
- You’ll have to know how to celebrate (this is important for culture)… but not overdo it.
- And… you can’t be new at any of this. You’ll have to prove yourself at home.”
So I’m not speaking in allegory at the top of this post. I seriously have to learn how to run this enterprise, and I’m serious when I say I’m not qualified, at least on paper. This means I have to collect the tools and skills of business management somewhere, somehow. But how?? Here are some great opportunities to learn quick:
- Find some men who’re doing it right and learn, learn, learn. I don’t care where you have to go to find these men. Do you only know guys like this outside your own church? So be it. What if I have to go to the nearest synagogue to find some men who understand family? Great; Jews definitely DO understand family. What if I have to actually humble myself before some older guys that kind of intimidate me and say, “Mr. Johnson, I don’t know if you know me, but I know you: I know you’ve got great kids who’re grown and living for Jesus, and you’ve been responsible with your money… Could I… Could I take you to lunch and talk to you about some of this stuff?” Yes, do that! Talk to Mr. Johnson!
- Treat your home like a business. I don’t mean make name badges and have your kids clock in after school. But I DO mean have quarterly reports, constantly monitor the morale and stress levels (are we trying to do too much? Are we blossoming and well rested?), create doable goals, and have regular check-ins with your wife. Speaking of which…
- Authorize your VP/CFO/CMO/COO. As I said above, I started as a nincompoop in all this stuff. My wife? Not quite: her degree is international business. She LOVES spreadsheets and Quicken and reports and checklists. So, once we’ve agreed on high level stuff, guess who executes with zest (and doesn’t need my permission to do so)? Uh, yeah. My wife makes me better in all the above areas (and teaches me what I failed to learn when I ditched Business Math in college).
- Try your hand at a small business! This is its own post/s, but getting your feet wet with a business of your own (it could be mowing yards, selling stuff on etsy… seriously ANY business enterprise) will help develop all the above skills. It has certainly helped me.
Years ago, I tweeted this idea out by saying “You shouldn’t be allowed to be in ministry if you’re not good in business” as a(n admittedly contentious) summary of 1 Timothy 3:4-6. This made people think I was nuts or arrogant or some such, but I was really just talking about myself. I DO have the ambition of “being an overseer”… so I have to up my management game at home. Simple as that!