The Temptations of Pathway 3
The principal temptation of Pathway 3 involves failure to listen or to partner. Excited about one’s own “brilliant new idea,” a high capacity Christian may fail to realize that others have been working on the problem long before she came along. In this circumstance, church leaders need to gently ask the entrepreneur whether she’s adequately done her homework and has familiarized herself with what others have tried. While it is possible that the social entrepreneur’s idea is genuinely untried, that should be definitively confirmed. If others are already laboring in the same vineyard, church leaders should urge their entrepreneurs to consider how they might partner with existing programs rather than reinventing the wheel.
Relatedly, professionals who have proven themselves excellent problem solvers in the business realm may fail to see where there are limits on the transferability of those skills. In this circumstance, church leaders should remind the entrepreneur that an idea or approach that worked marvelously in the corporate or technical sector may not succeed in the social sector.
Church leaders need also to be “wise as serpents” about the sad reality that some of the social entrepreneurs in their flock may be motivated by vainglory, and disinterested in partnering with others because they “want to do their own thing.” The ego is a persistent little devil. Church leaders will need to discern whether a potential entrepreneur’s proclaimed desire to serve others through his venture is actually masking a hunger for personal recognition.