Starting something new

by Lloyd Rankin, Vineyard national director

In his book The E-myth, Michael Gerber talks about the myth that you have to be a gifted entrepreneur to start a business.

Gerber found that entrepreneurs are often great at kicking something off, or having the initial idea, but often fail to turn the idea into a successful business. It takes planning, systems and work to make it fly.

From this, I would conclude that you have an advantage if you have a bit of an apostolic gifting – but that it isn’t necessary.

Remember, most churches in the book of Acts weren’t started by the apostles – they were started by ordinary believers who had been scattered all over Asia and just lived the new life among their community.

What makes you mad, sad or glad?

Starting something new is both a gift and a skill – gifts like faith, the prophetic and leadership; and skills such as courage, leadership, building team and casting vision.

Having said that, though, only a few great ideas ever come to fruition.

Most people have dreams, some people have visions, but not many do something with their dreams and visions.

So how do you know when to start something?

Often it comes in the form of what makes you mad, sad or glad.

When I became involved in church planting, it came after a period of frustration with the religiosity I found in church life when it came to bringing my friends. So I dreamed of starting a church that my friends could join, a church that had as many cultural barriers removed as possible (language, practices, focus etc).

My life of planting churches started from feeling sad and a bit mad. These days my motivation is much more about glad. I love seeing people come to Jesus in our churches and grow and do well in life.

It has been said to find a need and meet it, find a hurt and heal it. When we start something new we stand between two things – a perceived need and a possible and preferable answer to the need.

Once we have decided to start something, it’s helpful to clarify what we have heard. Is God saying you should do something? Is God saying you should join someone else who is doing something? Is God saying now or in the future?

We then crystallise the plan by sharing the dream with trusted people, though this also opens you to negative responses. However, sometimes the push back serves to clarify the vision.

Then we get to make a plan:

What: Start with the problem you hope to solve, or the need you hope to meet.

How: Then how will you do that.

Who: Who will you do it with

When: When will you do it

Where: Where will you do this

Why: Start with why and end with why.

Building a team becomes essential at this point. The most common mistake in starting something is not having enough people at the outset. Groups don’t form just because you put an advertisement in the newsletter or create a Facebook event.

Always begin with a minimum of five or six people if you are starting a small group, people you know will be there at the kickoff event. Give people a task to do, and they are much more likely to be there.

Set the timetable and goals and work to your plan, while remembering planning is everything but the plan is nothing.

Face your fears – fear of failure, fear of presumption, fear of it not working.

So go ahead and start! You never know how influential your great idea could be unless you try.