For decades, Southern Baptist churches have been program driven. These programs fit well in most churches and were honored by God. One reason they worked was the churches were homogeneous. They looked alike. The denomination, through various agencies, provided material for these church programs. However, the communities in which churches are now located are different. And in the areas where new churches are being started, new programs are being required for effective evangelism and mission.
Several years ago, First Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas examined their community and discovered vast numbers of people living in apartment complexes. The church asked Tillie Burgen to become Director of Mission Arlington, emphasizing reaching people living in apartments. Today there are more than 200 groups that meet weekly for Bible study and worship. The number of people worshiping in these units now far exceed the number that worship on the main church campus.
Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, California with Rick Warren as pastor is another entrepreneurial church. Rick sensed a call of God to start a new church in Orange County. He surveyed the area and decided that to reach that people group the church must take on characteristics other than the traditional church. He led the founding group to begin creative ministries and worship styles to meet the need of the people. Today it is the largest church in the denomination.
Willie Jordan, in Markham, Illinois, began St. Mark Baptist Church in a community of change and decline. He developed a vision of how a church could make a difference in the lives of individuals and in the community. After 20 years, he has led the church to grow from a handful of people to a congregation with more than 2000 in attendance each week. Recognizing that many of the people in the community could not attend Bible study and worship on Sunday morning, he established Bible study and worship on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The church develops many different kinds of ministries, each led by lay people in the community. Further, since financial stability was of major importance to reclaiming the community, the pastor worked with a bank to help stabilize the area and now he serves as a director of the bank, evaluating loans for people in the community. An article in a local newspaper credits St. Mark Baptist Church with helping turn a declining city into a thriving and growing community.
Other churches using entrepreneurial methods are Eastside Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia, Western Heights Baptist Church, LaGrange, Georgia, New Faith Baptist Church, Mattison, Illinois, and Northside Baptist Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These churches determined people in need would set their ministries or programs. All of these churches dared to climb out of the boat of security and comfort and venture into whole new areas where the storms were often raging, yet each is making a great difference in the kingdom of God.
- A Leader Must Have a Profound Sense of God’s Call
- A Leader Must Grow in Their Relationship with God
- A Leader Must Be Compassionate
- A Leader Must Be Passionate
- A Leader Must Be Visionary
- A Leader Must Become Entrepreneurial
- A Leader Must Be Contextual
- A Leader Must Be a Planner
- A Leader Must Be a Lifelong Learner
- A Leader Must Be a Delegator and Empowerer of Others