“I never realized ministerial work could be entrepreneurial,” said Joshua Payne, AoP’17 as he sat in a workshop at the National Festival of Young Preachers. “I always associated the word ‘entrepreneur’ with the drive to make money.”
That is one of the many misconceptions of the entrepreneurial spirit, explained AoP President Dwight A. Moody, as he convened the gathering.
“If you can imagine things that do not exist,” he told the Young Preachers, “and see how they can come to pass, you have a wonderful gift that most people do not have. Use it for the glory of God and the common good.”
Moody then introduced three of the Young Preachers, each of whom told their story of merging their ministerial vocation with their entrepreneurial instincts.
Amy Violette, AoP ’15, explained how both her ranch-based retreats and her leather bag industry helps to fund her calling to preach and teach preaching. She is an adjunct professor in the school of religion at Belmont University, an iPartner with the Academy of Preachers. She has served as an AoP Gospel Catalyst this past year.
Tyler Best, AoP ’12, is a student at Asbury Seminary and also the Director of Social Media for the Academy of Preachers. He described the tech management business he launched with a friend in 2015. Then he spoke to the group about the coffee shop church he started in 2016 in Corydon, Indiana.
“It is hard to keep things in balance,” he confessed. “I want to make sure these entrepreneurial initiatives grow out of my calling as a minister and in fact enhance my work as a minister, rather than detract from it or displace it as a central focus of my life.”
Then the aforementioned Joshua Payne took the floor and described how his life as a farmer in central Missouri had given rise to a unique calling.
“I am a student at Central Baptist Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas,” he explained. “But I love farming and I make enough money to invest in a ministry. I want to turn farming silos into a retreat center that incorporates elements of the Benedictine way of contemplation.”
“I was fascinated by all three stories,” Moody said later. “What these young ministers are doing is remarkable. It inspires me, and I am sure it will inspire others.”
Moody concluded the workshop by affirming the legitimacy of making money. He then detailed the business plan he uses to manage his own non-profit start-up, the Academy of Preachers itself.
“The energy and interest in merging the ministerial vocation and the entrepreneurial spirit is more wide-spread than we thought,” Moody explained. “We have plans to host a national convocation on this topic for our Young Preachers.”
The workshop was one of 6 offered at the National Festival of Young Preachers. In addition, there were four master classes. The Festival was held in Lexington, Kentucky. The 2018 National Festival will be in Atlanta. Visit academyofpreachers.net for more information.