Matt Overton: How social enterprise has changed my congregation and me

www.faithandleadership.com | 11/14/2017 | Staff
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A couple of years ago, I was driving down the road having an emotional crisis. I was terrified that I had taken too big a risk in launching a social enterprise and mentoring program at my church. “Why did you do this to yourself?” I wondered.

I wasn’t sure that my organization would ever be sustainable. I wasn’t sure I was making the impact on teenagers or my local community I had hoped for. I wasn’t sure I would recover even a portion of my fairly substantial personal investment.

Father - Bit - Entrepreneur - Number - Risks

I thought about my father, who had been a bit of an entrepreneur himself and had taken a number of risks that failed. When I was a teenager, we lost our home and became isolated from family friends who had invested in his ventures. This really sunk my dad for a number of years.

I asked myself, “Why are you trying to do this? Isn’t this kind of risk what you were trying to stay away from? God, is this where you wanted me to go, or did I run out ahead of you?”

Risk - Enterprises - Church - Risk - Half

It was a big risk to start social enterprises at my church, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by that risk. But I think what has kept me going over these past three and a half years has been the fruit that I have seen from this ministry -- both personally and in my community of faith.

One of the important questions I have been asked is, “How has this experiment with social enterprise changed you as a minister and changed your congregation?”

Reality - Couple - Hours - Changes

The reality is that it would take a couple of hours to discuss all the changes I’ve noticed, but a few can be laid out here.

My preaching. Because social enterprise involves so many difficult ethical decisions (How much to charge?...
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