Most churches are missing an incredible opportunity to disciple the most influential leaders in their church. I’m not talking about the church staff or the team leaders. I’m talking about your community’s business leaders.
Business leaders, more specifically business owners and top executives at larger companies, should be discipled in a unique way. Here’s why.
Why You Should Disciple Business Leaders
Business leaders are not like your other church members. They face unique challenges and experiences that others will never know. They are often isolated from peers in their work life and the pressures of their job are misunderstood at home.
Business leaders are similar to pastors in many ways. They carry immense responsibility on their shoulders every day. They have few peers whom they can trust. They have few mentoring opportunities to help them grow as leaders. And when a business leader is struggling, everyone in the organization is impacted.
What’s more, business leaders are often too busy to participate in typical church discipleship programs like weeknight or lunchtime Bible studies because of their demanding schedule. That means discipleship is a difficult growth area for business leaders to experience.
Further, actively targeting business leaders for focused discipleship has many benefits for them and for your church.
Benefits of Discipling Business Leaders
- Business leaders have greater influence. When you disciple someone with influence, the way they use that influence changes for the Gospel. That means everyone they lead is getting a more gospel-oriented leader.
- It connects you to practical wisdom of leaders in your community. As a pastor, you are a leader. The business leaders in your church have wisdom that you’ll benefit from. Remember, discipleship isn’t a one-way transaction. When you spend time discipling others, you also glean wisdom from them, are challenged in your own thinking, and encouraged in many ways.
- It connects business leaders in a Christ-centered community of people with similar life experiences. When you connect people with others whom they can relate to, you’re going to help them grow. Just like moms are encouraged by other moms, business leaders will benefit from being connected to other Christian business leaders.
Now that you’re completely convinced that you should be discipling business leaders in your church, it’s time to start planning. While there are many ways to target business leaders with focused discipleship, we’re going to take the route of planning a Bible study as a simple first step.
Planning a Bible Study for Business Leaders
In planning your Bible study for business leaders, you’ll find you have to consider some unique needs that business leaders have. As you plan, keep in mind that business leaders are busy with a full calendar, often work long hours, sometimes travel during the week, finish the day mentally and emotionally exhausted, and need to plan far into the future.
- Consider who will participate and invite each person individually. Business leaders need to know that you are designing this Bible study just for them. An “all call” from the pulpit is fine, but you’ll have a better signup rate if you go to the leaders in your church directly to describe the Bible study and invite them personally.
- Choose your curriculum carefully. Just because they’re mostly mature adults doesn’t mean that all business leaders are at the same level spiritually. When choosing the content for your Bible study, plan to have a spiritually diverse group of people to lead.
- Make it a short term commitment. Long term Bible studies are difficult to commit to, especially for busy people. Make your Bible study a short term commitment to start so your leaders are more likely to take the step to get involved. Limiting your Bible study to 8-10 weeks is a great starting point.
- Map out every week for the duration. Give your leaders an agenda for what will be covered and discussed for every week of the Bible study. They’ll know you’re prepared and ready and they’ll appreciate your attention to detail.
- Choose a day and time that will work for business leaders. Since they’re busy and often end each day exhausted, consider choosing an early morning time toward the end of the week. You’re unlikely to have conflicts in their calendar with a 6:30am meeting every Thursday or Friday.
- Send a calendar invite to each person for every meeting. Business leaders live in their calendars. If it’s not on their calendar, then it doesn’t exist. Send an individual calendar invite or a recurring event that makes sure your Bible study is on their schedule every week. Don’t forget to give them a 12- or 24-hour alert/notification so they remember to set their alarm early for the next morning.
Once you’ve planned your Bible study, it’s time to show up and lead it well. Remember, again, that business leaders are unique. They tend to be high-capacity leaders and thinkers. They will know if you show up unprepared and will not give you much grace for poor planning.
Always start and end your meetings on time. These men and women likely sit in and lead many meetings every day. They know what a good meeting looks like. To them, your Bible study is a meeting that should be run precisely. What happens during the discussion can be fluid, but your start and end times should be on target.
Teach with focus and purpose, but let your group talk freely. You’ve given these men and women a chance to sit with other Christian leaders and they are bound to move from studying the Bible to discussing some personal challenges that they alone experience. This time together is valuable as an “iron sharpening iron” experience, so let them discuss.
I said a prayer over for every reader of this post. I prayed that you’d find the hidden blessings found in discipling business leaders in your church. I prayed that you’d be encouraged, your leaders would grow closer to Jesus, their influence would grow in Christ-centeredness, and your church would be edified by the experience.
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