by Johnny Shiu
A pastor is in a unique position to influence his leaders who are in the marketplace in many different ways, and this week we turn out attention to how a pastor might support entrepreneurship within his congregation.
This week, Henry, and William interview special guest, Pastor Andy Wood of Echo Church, about his journey in ministry and the world of entrepreneurship.
Andy is lead pastor of Echo Church located in San Jose, California, just south of San Francisco. Early on, he was influenced by his father who was a business owner. He recalled watching his father going through the “highs” and the “lows” of running a business. He saw that back in those days there was really no place for an entrepreneur in the Church for someone like his father. That is, the pastors he knew did not know how to empower local faith centered entrepreneurs.
Today, Andy's vision with his ministry is to partner with entrepreneurs because he believes that business has the ability to transform culture and entrepreneurs will have a leading role. Andy explains that he does many things to equip his entrepreneurial congregants - from simple encouragement to preaching relevant messages to holding conferences. A fascinating stat is that his most recent conference had a 50/50 split between Christ-followers and non Christ followers because the content was top notch.
This leads into a discussion about how a church leader should start their journey by finding those business leaders within the congregation that share a similar heart. Connect with them and listen. Take them out to lunch and try to learn from them. Andy said that he noticed that business leaders and entrepreneurs are some of the most lonely people and are highly anxious. They experience high stress and tremendous pressure. They need a pastor even though they may represent themselves like they have it all together.
Ultimately, Andy stressed that a pastor needs to be convinced that business/entrepreneurs are important. He reminisced that his father may have been able to utilize his gifts in a different way if he had more support from his church leaders.
William correctly noted that nothing could be more entrepreneurial than planting a church, and then Pastor Andy revealed that Echo had support from 17 different churches at its beginning, and that support was a huge encouragement to him on his own journey. It is a great example of the Acts 2 church life where believers are helping other believers for God’s glory.
Editor's Note: if you or your pastor are looking for additional resources, check out Made to Flourish, It's a ministry that equips pastors and churches looking to integrate faith, work and economic wisdom.