Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1 KJV
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (I Kings 3:5)
Dream Again – Most of us have or have had hopes and dreams. Many have seen them postponed or crushed so they invent or subscribe to a theology that says it’s bad to dream of your own goals. In reality God invites us to dream. He’s not looking for an army of servants filled with resignation and obedience. God wants friends that share His enthusiasm to build the Kingdom and feel some ownership in the plan… a plan they call their own. That’s the spiritual genius of becoming entrepreneurial. It releases a theologically correct aspect of our relationship with God – Initiative! Give yourself permission to dream again; be childlike… so we can talk about putting that dream into practice.
Here’s why you should dream – God is building his Kingdom with a volunteer army. To date, a few superstars in the 5-fold ministry have been our heroes and our role has been to fund their endeavors. Nothing particularly wrong with that plan except it leaves you on the sideline. The Holy Spirit is inviting you to be the hero and occupy your land. The right of passage into that Kingly realm is your willingness to dream and then having the courage and tenacity to implement your own calling. God is inviting you into the ministry through your dream… business, politics, education, the arts, communication, etc.
Substance – the second step is to give your dream substance. That activity is a big part of what faith is all about. Many expect God or others to make their dream come true by a sovereign (magic) set of circumstances that simply don’t occur. Others charge off into a dream of ministry or business, run out of cash flow, and crash. They assume the idea was wrong or they were rebellious or presumptuous and draw back. Often all that’s missing from making a dream come true is a little wisdom.
The second way to add substance to your dream is to put it into writing. There is something very spiritual about writing down your goals and the means of implementing them. Your destiny ends up taking its first step toward substance. In the marketplace this process is called a business plan.
Money – One if the facts of life is that there is no ministry without money. The historic approach to money for ministry is offerings. That’s OK (and Biblical) for priests, but God is calling Kings to create their own finances. Your dream needs a financial ingredient. At the moment, this is a new concept. Equipping the saints hasn’t been thought of as teaching them how to break poverty and make money. We pastors only taught them how to give money (to priests).
Cash Flow – That’s where Philip Campbell comes in. We met at a book marketing conference right after writing Releasing Kings. Business plans contains a monthly assessment of cash flow projections for at least the first year after starting your dream / business. Here’s a great example you can download. Philip introduced me to the simple concept of using that tool to help manage the finances that go with your dream on a monthly basis. It’s the tool that will keep your dream from running out of cash; and being run out of your ministry. Philip has another free example of a cash flow analysis you can download and a free video to explain how to use it. If it’s too much to handle have a team member with the right accounting skills do it for you.
Writing your dream – The following outline is somewhat standard for a simple business plan. You can find a more detailed example at this link. Prayerfully write your own “dream” and work your way through the details until it becomes real enough that you start to believe. Others can review and help . . . when it’s ripe, they will resonate and confirm the reality of what you embrace by faith. Why the exercise? An exciting dynamic happens when you write out the details of the dream. It’s a big step toward moving something that only exists by faith in the spirit realm and getting it to materialize in the real world.
Business Plan Outline
1. Summary Business/ministry concept, current situation, key success factors, financial situation/needs. Write this last. Assume some people will only read one page. So, on one page summarize the following sections.
2. Vision What’s the purpose and product of your endeavor. Why is it unique, compelling, valuable, and needed? Who will be attracted to it?
3. Marketing Plan—Who will be interested in your product or service? How will you let them know what you have? What is the value or price you will ask? What’s the total demand? Who are your competitors? Why will you prevail in an open market? How is the industry changing? Will your competitive advantages remain in the future? What are the threats to and risks of this venture? How will you respond to them?
4. Products/services Describe your product or service. Is there test-market experience? How will you make it available and distribute it? What is the potential to expand or provide additional products or services? How can your business or influence multiply?
5. Marketing and sales How will you promote or market your product. What is your sales strategy or advertising scheme?
6. Operations Who will manage the work and make the decisions? What are their qualifications? Who are the key personnel? What work will they do? How will you motivate them to share your dream and work with you? How will you train and compensate them? What facilities, services, and infrastructure will be required?
7. Financial Plan What is your current financial condition? How will your family and business be supported? Will you need a loan? How will you transition from your current job or circumstance through the start-up phase?
Include two items:
*Personal financial statement—simply a one-page summary of all your assets and liabilities, summarizing your financial net worth at the bottom. You can get a free template for a financial statement at http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html.
*Cash flow statement—estimate all the monthly income and expenses related to your business or personal expenses for at least 12 months (or through your start-up phase, if longer). You can get an example format for a cash flow statement at: http://www.score.org/downloads/C_12_month_cash_flow_statement.xls
Note: Consider making a financial plan from your personal budget and spending a few hundred dollars to get the accountant who does your taxes to formalize them for you. Treat your life and finances as a business—it really is the talent that God gave you and expects you to multiply.
Missions – I believe God is opening a door to take the gospel into the third world through the marketplace. Starting micro-businesses is a great way to help change nations. We have the opportunity to partner with Christians in other nations and help them become self-sufficient and then prosperous. Here’s the key. Find “their” dream and help them get it in writing with a business plan and show them how the cash flow works.
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.