Most people who know me are aware that I've written several books primarily related to bivocational and small church ministry. Most people don't know I've also written an e-book on business. It's titled Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business. It's currently only available for NOOK devices.
Over twenty years ago our family took ownership of a successful small business that we operated for fifteen years. The business was very successful for the first few years, but for a number of reasons we were forced to close that business a few years ago. Most of those reasons were due to mistakes I made managing the business. When the economy was strong my mistakes didn't matter as much, but when the economy tanked those mistakes were costly. I learned a lot about leadership and business management from the mistakes I made, and I wrote the book to help others avoid the same mistakes.
There are many similarities in leading a small business and leading a small church. While there are obvious differences, there are transferable principles that apply to both. Some of the mistakes I made leading our business can also cause great damage to a church.
Owning a small business can be a very good situation for a bivocational pastor. When I was a bivocational pastor and worked in a factory I was expected to be at work 40 hours a week on the shift I was assigned to. After retiring from the factory and taking ownership of the business my hours were much more flexible. This made it much easier for me to do funerals and meet other ministry needs.
Our business also gave me opportunities to minister to people who did not attend church. People soon learned I was a minister and it was interesting what people were willing to share with a stranger, especially if they were hurting. This continues to happen for me when people call me needing an auctioneer.
Recently, a woman called saying she needed to sell some items at auction. I went to look at what she had, and in our conversation I explained that I was a minister. It turned out she was going through a lot of personal issues that was causing her emotional and physical problems. There were spiritual issues as well. I was able to minister to her and to recommend a good church in that community that she should visit.
Not long ago I had a discussion with a Christian realtor who told me he has had numerous opportunities to minister to people who contacted him to either sell or buy a house. Like me, he feels this is part of what it means for a Christian to be in business.
Owning your own business is a dream for many people, but it can also be a nightmare. A large percentage of small businesses fold within the first five years of their existence. Most of those failures can be traced back to poor leadership and mistakes that can be avoided. If you currently own a small business or are thinking of starting one, you may want to invest in this e-book. Right now it's for sale for only $4.99. Since many of these principles are transferable into church leadership, you may want to read this book even if you're not involved in your own business.