Greg Atkinson on the Secret Power of Kindness, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of the ChurchMay 23, 2023
Will the 21st century pastor look more like the co-vocational tentmaker of the 1st century church than the full-time pastor of the 20th century?
Church leadership expert Greg Atkinson says YES, and shares several reasons why pastors and churches need to embrace entrepreneurship now, in this episode of the More Than a Pastor Show.
Wondering if Starting a Business is Right for You?
Question…Have you been thinking about starting a business, but you’re not really sure if it’s right for you? Or that you’ve got what it takes? I want you to have a copy of my free guide entitled, How to Know if Starting a Business is Right for You. In it I share the 12 signs that you might be ready to start your own business. And I share the 3 most important things every pastor needs to build and grow a profitable business. Get your free copy today at morethanapastor.com/biz.
Links for Today's Show
- Watch this Episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fHzhlTTCIJA
- Greg Atkinson's Website: www.gregatkinson.com
- Connect with Greg: [email protected]
- Sign up for Greg's Email List: http://firstimpressions.email/
- Get Greg's New Book: The Secret Power of Kindness
- Free PDF: How to Know if Starting a Business is Right for You
- My Last Post: Burned Out Pastors: Don't Quit, Give Yourself a Reset Instead
- Want to Support the Show? Buy Me a Coffee
Introducing Greg Atkinson
I’m excited to have Greg Atkinson join us on the show today. Greg has been in ministry for nearly 30 years.
He is the Founder and CEO of Worship Impressions, the First Impressions Conference, The Entrepreneurial Church Conference (coming in 2024), as well as the Co-Founder of the Social Media Church Conference.
He is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, speaker, leadership and life coach, and consultant. He has worked with churches of all stages and sizes, including some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country, as well as with businesses, non-profits, and organizations.
In this conversation...
- Greg and I talk about how he began to leverage his ministry skills into resources that served pastors and churches, and how those resources have generated multiple streams of income.
- I also ask Greg for his thoughts on what the future of the church will look like over the next 5-10 years and beyond. His answer might surprise you.
- He takes us into the backstory behind his new book, The Secret Power of Kindness, which is available for pre-order starting today on Amazon. And we explore why the message of Kindness is needed in the church, and in our world, now more than ever.
To learn more about Greg, please visit: www.gregatkinson.com. And now let’s get to our conversation with Greg Atkinson!
Highlights from the Full Interview
How Should Pastors Discern if Starting a Business is Right for Them?
Greg cautions against providing a one-size-fits-all solution, as different individuals have different callings and contentment in their local church settings. Greg advises pastors to listen to God's guidance and face any fear that may be holding them back from exploring new income opportunities. He believes that pastors should lean into their calling and consider their individual wiring and shape for ministry.
Greg knows pastors who have multiple jobs to support themselves without taking a salary from the church, citing examples like Rick Warren who didn't receive a salary from his church. And he knows pastors who transitioned from being a pastor to a full-time business entrepreneur, which turned out to be the right decision for him. This pastor is now successful as a business coach, impacting billionaires and thriving in the business world while still occasionally guest preaching.
Greg shares his personal experience of juggling church staff responsibilities and consulting for 10 years before transitioning solely into the business world. He emphasizes that he still remains involved in ministry by preaching, hosting small groups, and being active in the local church. However, he finds fulfillment in leading a business and scaling it.
Greg suggests various options for pastors to earn income outside of the church, such as running a business from home, engaging in remote work, or operating an online store. He highlights the flexibility and unlimited potential for income that comes with running a business, enabling pastors to support their families without burdening the small church. Greg appreciates the income freedom he has experienced as an entrepreneur, allowing him to give more generously than when he had a fixed salary.
What Does the Future Look Like for the Church?
Greg believes that in the future, an increasing number of pastors will be bi-vocational, just like Paul in the Bible who was a tentmaker. Greg predicts the rise of micro churches, house churches, and small churches led by bi-vocational pastors. He mentions that seven years ago, he recognized the need for pastors to supplement their income and started offering online courses on creating income and running a business. Despite initial discouragement, he continues to pursue this path.
Greg observes that churches are facing challenges post-COVID, with smaller attendance, reduced giving, and decreased engagement. His consulting business for churches has also been affected, as they have smaller budgets and may feel embarrassed about critical evaluation. He emphasizes that the future of the church lies in smaller congregations with fewer resources.
He notes a shift in giving patterns, where the older generation known as the "tithers" kept churches financially stable through their tithes. However, the younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, are generous but tend to donate to causes outside of the church rather than tithing. This decrease in church funding makes it difficult to afford adequate staff salaries. Consequently, pastors will need to be bi-vocational and explore other income sources.
Greg encourages pastors, highlighting their competencies and skills that surpass those of the average business leader. He mentions examples of ex-pastors thriving in real estate and sales, leveraging their people-oriented nature and social media skills. He suggests exploring real estate or other fields that align with a pastor's strengths and can supplement their income without burdening the church financially.
Greg also emphasizes the importance of adaptation for the church in a changing landscape, particularly after the impact of COVID-19. He mentions his book "Strange Leadership," where he previously discussed the need for the church to adapt.
Why Greg Wrote The Secret Power of Kindness
Greg began thinking about this book in 2020 when America was experiencing a great political divide and going through challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, mask and vaccine debates, and the George Floyd incident. Greg observed division, hate, and fighting not only among people in America but also within the church.
He had always been fascinated by the Fruits of the Spirit - especially the fruit of kindness - and he believes kindness has the power to unite individuals, the nation, and even the world. This book is also a personal project for Greg, and he opens up about his own experiences with abuse, trauma, forgiveness, and other topics he has never publicly discussed before. It includes chapters on forgiveness, empathy, love, and unity, aligning with Jesus' prayer for unity among people.
Greg believes that his book, The Secret Power of Kindness, will resonate with anyone interested in fostering a kinder world, regardless of their religious beliefs. He mentions that people he has shared the book with, both believers and non-believers, have shown excitement and support for the idea of kindness.
Please check back...More highlights from the interview with Greg will be added to the blog post here in the next 24 hours...
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