What are the best business resources for pastors?
I'm going to give you three areas where you can get knowledge that are outside all the things that we as church leaders have to devour for teaching and preaching. Let's get outside of our comfort zone and into the secular world for a moment. I know that could be scary, but let's go there.
There are three mediums that I want you to think through that you can use to build your knowledge. The first one is podcasts, the second the books, and the third is online YouTube or other similar streaming services. Those three areas, mostly free or extremely inexpensive, but you can get a lot of knowledge.
1. Best business podcasts for pastors
I'm going to give you some business podcasts that I think are really helpful. There's tons out there. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I would start out with the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast. It's a phenomenal resource for leaders to be able to hear about cutting edge business ideas. They do a ton of surveys about leadership and organizational leadership.
The next business podcast pastors should listen to is called Business Wars. It's mostly around business success and failure so you can see what's really going on in the business world when it comes to success and failure.
Another one is Outside In. It's focused on the tactical way of leadership in a business sense.
The last one is This Week in Startups by Jason Calacanis. It's a phenomenal podcast. It's my favorite one that I listen to outside of different preachers I like to listen to keep myself fed. Listen to this podcast. He interviews business leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors, and you'll learn a ton.
Search your own. There's a ton of free stuff out there. Another little quick one I'd add on is iTunes University (here is the Stanford School of Business). You can now virtually take business courses for free using iTunes University. You can get the whole business class MBA on iTunes University for free. Download it, go for a run, go for a walk, and digest the information. It’s very relevant for pastors. Every bit of information you need to keep learning about business ideas is available just about for free.
2. Best business books for pastors
Leaders are readers, readers are leaders, pastors are readers. We've got to be readers. I'm going to give you some key books.
The first one is it's a classic Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad. There's probably no better book to understand how money works than Rich Dad Poor Dad. I used to ask every single person that worked for me—I used to ask all the young people—all of that Bible college students to read Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Another great book by Tom Rath StrengthsFinder 2.0, about focusing on your strengths, not your weakness.
Another classic, there's a guy called Ken Blanchard’s book The New One Minute Manager.
I'll throw in an old favorite by Jim Collins, Good to Great.
There's a ton of great books out there—some old classics, always great new stuff. Go on the New York Times bestseller list in the business section (NYT Business Section). See what's trending. See what's good. Consume. One book a month is a great goal.
3. Business-focused YouTube channels for pastors
TED Talks are great because they're 15 to 20 minutes. They're very concise. They're done by experts. They're done on every different field.
Here's the thing that you're also trying to do—you're trying to provoke your own learning by hearing people in other fields that are experts in things that you're not an expert in. Listening to a TED Talk on migration and refugees might not interest you, you might not know anything about it, but it's fantastic information to have. Always be curious.
Skillshare is another great channel to be able to get all kinds of best practices on business.
Y Combinator is also phenomenal. It's got all kinds of great information on entrepreneurship.
The one I'd throw in that costs a little bit of money, but well worth it is called MasterClass. MasterClass is a phenomenal startup. The the guy who started it was on This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis and listening to him explain how he started this business, it’s fascinating. The first person he got was Dustin Hoffman, the actor. He used to sing locally in Brentwood in LA and he pitched this idea: "Would you do this class on acting?" Hoffman said: "Sure, I will." That's how he started the business. He ended up raising millions of dollars. I think they've raised over $100 million to date for this idea of the MasterClass. It offers high-level business classes that pastors would greatly benefit from.
The Importance of Business Self-Education for Pastors
Podcasts, books and streaming on YouTube and streaming services are a way to get extra learning outside the regular places in which you're going to learn. Challenge yourself to do new things and you'll find it'll grow you as a leader.
The reason why you want to educate yourself in these sources is you're going to learn some very key things that are going to help you as a church leader, especially as a church planner, like understanding the mind of an entrepreneur, how to raise capital, how to forecast growth, and how to hire. All of those skills are the same skills that you're going to be needing as a church planner or as someone who wants to grow their church. Basic business skills such as understanding how to read balance sheets, how to read profit and loss statements, how to report forecasting of cashflow—all of those are skills that you can learn very easily now for free are very critical.
Gone are the days where the pastor says: "Oh, I'm going to hire the business guy." Pastors have to think like startup owners who have to have a pretty good understanding of every area of their business. You must understand the basics of just about everything. You're going to have an aptitude in more things than others, but challenge yourself to understand some of these things that are going to be really critical. Learn everything you can about startups, finance, and of course leadership. Leadership is everything.
There's a myriad of great things that go on in the business world. Seeing what great business leaders do can be totally adapted for us to use inside the church. Be a learner. Use these resources. It'll make you a better minister for Jesus.