What churches and startups have in common

At first glance, they may seem like polar opposites, but upon closer examination, it becomes clear that they share more in common than one might expect.

Both churches and startups are driven by a grand vision to make a positive impact on the world, yet they often face limitations in terms of resources. In our fast-paced, ever-evolving society, remaining true to that vision while being good stewards of available resources can be a significant challenge.

Facing Mission Drift:

One of the most prominent hurdles for both churches and startups is mission drift. This phenomenon occurs when an organization gradually moves away from its original purpose and objectives. Mission drift can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including changes in leadership, shifts in culture or funding sources, or simply losing sight of the core mission. The consequences of mission drift are evident in the confusion, lack of direction, and diminished effectiveness that ensue.

Challenged by a VUCA world:

In addition, both churches and startups operate in a VUCA world — that is, one characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This means that organizations must be able to quickly adapt and respond to changing circumstances in order to remain relevant and achieve success. However, this requires an agile mindset, clear communication, and even a bit of trial and error.

Confronting these obstacles requires a sustained commitment to setting priorities, staying focused, and continuously evaluating progress. While this can be difficult, it’s also necessary to ensure that churches and startups maintain their unique visions and thrive in their respective contexts.

For startups these challenges are a lot more existential than for the church:

Stakes are usually much higher for startups than for churches. For starters, failure for a startup often leads to financial ruin for its investors, employees, and founders. On the other hand, churches typically have much more breathing room when it comes to mistakes and challenges. This is because churches tend to have more access to resources such as members, volunteers, and donations, in addition to a shared vision and purpose.

Still, churches and startups must remain mindful of the potential challenges they face and work together to develop creative and innovative solutions. By engaging in dialogue, utilizing data-driven insights, and collectively working towards a shared goal, churches and startups can make a lasting difference in the world.

Embracing Startup Methodologies for Churches:

Because of this, startups had to develop tools and methods to become effective in a VUCA world. These same tools and methods could also be adapted to churches, allowing them to more effectively tackle the challenges of mission drift and an ever-changing world.

The Importance of Adaptability for Church Leaders:

As a leader in a church, it is crucial to remain open-minded and receptive to new tools and methodologies. By embracing these innovative approaches, your church can continue to grow, make a positive impact, and thrive in today's rapidly changing world. The key lies in staying true to your mission, remaining adaptable, and consistently moving forward - just like startups.


By recognizing and embracing the commonalities between churches and startups, church leaders can tap into a wealth of knowledge and resources to help their minisrries flourish. By adopting the strategies and methodologies proven successful in the startup world, churches can strengthen their commitment to their mission, adapt to change, and ensure they continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those they serve.

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