Ministry is business.

Jeremiah Thomas
5 min readMay 4, 2017

There are two sides of the coin in ministry, the spiritual and the practical. There is the spiritual side of ministry, such as prayer, preaching, evangelism, and more. But there also is a very practical side of ministry; the business side. Finances, payroll, budgeting, marketing, advertising, planning, all the normal things any business needs to consider.

The interesting thing about ministry is that if you talk to most ministers about ministry- they tend to only discuss the spiritual side of it. This is not all wrong; a minister is to spend his time primarily- if not completely- on the spiritual side of things.

The early church did this in Acts 6:2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The twelve understood where they should be spending their effort; in prayer and the ministry of the word. What did they do with the business side of ministry?

They delegated it to others. Not just to anyone, but to people who were led by the Holy Spirit and qualified for the positions they were filling.

If the ministry were to neglect the business side of the coin then the ministry would surely fail. If a church mismanages its finances, they might not be able to pay the utilities, mortgage, payroll, etc, and will be forced to shut down. If a ministry doesn’t market itself, and nobody knows that it exists- it will fail. If a ministry doesn’t deal properly with employees and volunteers, it will fail.

The practical side of ministry can not be ignored.

If ministry is also business, then why wouldn’t ministers treat it as such?

I read a public post from a fellow minister in which he was talking about how people desire to go into the ministry to be seen. That they don’t understand how ministry is hard work, that people don’t see the hours of effort behind the scenes, and that they don’t really know what ministry is like.

He was discouraging people from going into ministry.

To me, the statements he made were absolutely useless.

Let’s say for example that I am starting a brand new business, a clothing store. Wouldn’t it be expected that in order for that store to succeed I would have to put in a lot of work and effort? I would have to spend my entire day focused on how I can make the shop look better, run smoother, figure out the right pricing, so on and so forth. Day in and day out. To make that shop a success I would have to eat, breath, and live the shopping experience of that store. Or else it will just end up as any other normal store that doesn’t stick out or make a difference.

This just makes good business sense, to work your butt off in order to be successful.

If I told the customers how much of a drag the store is in my life, that all I do is work, and how hard it is, do you think they will keep shopping there?

People have enough issues of their own, when they come to your store- they don’t care about your problems, they just want a nice shopping experience. If you give them that then they will be back. If all you do is dump your problems on them, then the only kind of people you will attract are people that want to dump their problems right back on to you. Sooner or later, your business will fail.

(If people do go shopping to socialize- it’s not to hear about the problems of the store owner)

Some young aspiring entrepreneurs that want to start their own store come and ask me about how my life as a store owner is. I don’t tell them that the payoff for your effort is totally worth it. I don’t tell them that I’m doing what I’ve always felt I was supposed to be doing and that I love every minute of it. Instead, I tell them that I work all day long, all I ever have is trouble from the customers, and I have a never ending amount of bills that I am struggling to pay.

Do you think that those young entrepreneurs are ever going to come back for my advice? Do you think that any of them are going to want to follow my example?

Absolutely not.

The customers want a nice shopping experience, and other success-minded entrepreneurs want to be inspired. If you can provide both of these people with what they want and need, then sooner or later you will become successful.

What good then does it do for a minister to publicly complain to hundreds of people about how hard ministry is? To go on a rant about the long hours, the struggles behind the scenes, and combating demonic spirits. What sort of response will this inspire? A pity party? A “boo-hoo”?

As ministers, we should go into the ministry with the mindset that it will require hard work and effort. As employees, you should go to your job with the mindset that you should work hard and put all your effort into it. As entrepreneurs, you should have this mindset. As stay at home moms, you should have this mindset.

EVERYTHING you do that is worth doing- you should plan to put all your heart into it, which will require your time, effort, and sacrifice.

The reward of being successful at what you enjoy doing (what you are called to do) is worth the cost or sacrifice. Don’t complain about it.

Any thriving business or ministry that exists today didn’t get there by being lazy. They got there by working harder, and smarter than those around them. I guarantee they aren’t complaining about the effort they put into it every day.

If you are in ministry or want to be, don’t be so spiritual that you don’t apply practical wisdom to what you do.

Don’t be so spiritually minded that you aren’t any earthly good.

Don’t be so earthly minded that you aren’t any spiritual good.