By Adam Gustine
Moving from where we are to where we need to be requires input and guidance from people who have been where we want to get to. We all need coaches to help us get from here to there. Social enterprise is no different.
Social Enterprise is, for the most part, relatively new for the church. Certainly there have been mission minded business leaders in the church from the very beginning (just read Acts!) and many Christian traditions have a history of engaging economics as part of their ministry vision. Not only that, but international Christian development work has been working to hone various economic models for their ministry for at least a generation.
In all that, the domestic face of social enterprise, connected to the local church is still a relatively minor conversation. Our hope is that CovEnterprises is both a catalyst and helpful addition to that conversation for the ECC and the church in the U.S. It is our belief that social enterprise and economic development are going to be essential tools/strategies for the church in the coming generation. (This is a thought that probably needs some unpacking…so stay tuned for future blog posts). If that is true, that means that the next generation of ministry leaders are going to need to develop the capacity to lead well in areas that, historically, pastors have had little in the way of formal training.
All that to say, COACHING is a vital activity for CovEnterprises. We see this coaching happening at a number of levels. A major emphasis of our coaching is walking with ministry leaders throughout the process of developing and implementing a social enterprise concept. Because this is foreign to so many of us, it can be intimidating to consider stepping out into a major social venture. We want to walk with folks as they discern, plan, vision, strategize and takes steps into this new world.
At the same time, the double bottom line of social enterprise (see our last post) requires us to be developing our capacity for transformative ministry AND healthy business simultaneously. To that end, we have developed, and are continuing to build, a coaching network of leaders whose expertise cover the spectrum of skills and competencies needed to be a successful social entrepreneur. This includes seasoned social enterprise practitioners, ministry and community development leaders, and business experts.
Over time, we envision the coaching network being one of the best assets of CovEnterprises. In the ECC, we see ourselves as a family, a community of mission friends who journey together into the life and ministry God has for us. It is that ethos that saturates our vision for coaching in CovEnterprises. We want every emerging social enterprise leader to know that we are in this together, and that God has given us, in the ECC, the resources we need to do our work faithfully and effectively.