It is clear that every venture I’ve been involved with involved the discipleship/pastoring process. I’m not sure that taking the business out of that context is healthy for me. This has impact on how I expand the Growth Engine possibilities. I feel the pull necessary to establish a strong, dominant presence in the Fortune 500 companies. But it shifts us from a business “by the people” approach to a “business by the numbers” approach. And while I am cognizant that business involves both aspects, I am hesitant to pursue this radical number-focused approach that leads to growth at high personal cost.
I am aware of the fact that the dichotomy between the two approaches is not always so stark. But there is something troubling me as I embrace the plan for 2007. I also have a sense, that I would rather build business around the ministry model that God has given us. It is slower, and it requires personal investment in people. Is the Lord asking me to do something different? I’m not certain, but there has always been a sense that the New Testament growth model is better than the American capital model – even for a business.
This sense may come from the predisposition of my heritage, but it feels more like a leading in my spirit. I must pay careful, careful attention.
As I am praying, I am reminded of this continuing word I have been experiencing. In the end, it will come down to management. I keep hearing this in my spirit. For several weeks, now, it has been a constant refrain. If God is leading me, why does he keep emphasizing this point? Am I not truly hearing him?
It may be this: I may need to set aside the larger vision for this organization in favor of a tighter focus on its management. Is this “school”, again? Are we back to the old maxim: until you know the objective, focus on capacity? Something in my spirit goes awry when I embrace expansionist thinking. Father, are you saying that I should focus, now, on developing a well-managed organization as opposed to the dominant, market-conquering organization? I’ve always embraced kalos as opposed to scale.
If this observation is muddled, it is because I am muddled. The enemy has a subtle tactic: when a person receives profound spiritual insight, it is often accompanied by a great energy dynamic. The enemy tries to shift the dynamic slightly off course. The difference is hardly perceptible in the beginning, but as time passes the angle becomes more obtuse.
As I look back over my life, I’ve seen my spirit grow excited with profound spiritual truth, but I have seen that it is very easy for me to extend this truth in the wrong direction. This may be happening now. It might be helpful to review an example:
Previously, I had great excitement about the nature of the church, to the extent that I almost launched a major new church. Nevertheless, I could not find peace about this goal. So, on the one hand I had profound excitement about the church. On the other hand, I had something inside beginning to feel awry as I envisioned myself starting a major church. I know now what God was doing. He was restoring my clarity on the church as the primary distribution system. He was also confirming the strong pastoral calling on my life. The temptation was to twist/convert this spiritual gift. The ambitious leader in me contemplated charging off to build something. This would have interfered with God’s plan. Thankfully, I heeded this unsettled feeling before I declared and/or overcommitted to a wrong course of action.
Somehow, as ridiculously simple as it sounds, the Holy Spirit is drawing my attention to the process of management. It is almost embarrassing. It feels like I’m being brought back to elementary school when I need to graduate. But I will not neglect this leading/correction. So then, I must reconcile this profound emphasis on management with the organization’s need to move forward in the marketplace.
As I continue to pray, I recognize the need to balance my earlier statements with a cautionary. One can go on about forever trying to build a well-managed organization. For as soon as one has one aspect in tune, the other aspect becomes out of tune. There must be a standard of output that one measures which reflects the quality of the management. Certainly the numbers are part of this measurement, but only a part. So then, one must be careful about becoming too introspective about the organization’s management system. One must tie internal excellence with external results.