How to lead like a Silicon Valley billionaire
I love living in Silicon Valley. Over the past nine years since the launch of Echo Church, we’ve been able to rub shoulders with some of the smartest and best leaders around. Sometimes I still am in awe that I get to sit in rooms and learn from some of the amazing people in our region.
Last year I had the privilege of having a conversation with a billionaire who happens to be a venture capitalist. This guy has been around for a while, and he’s a very godly man. He has helped start some significant tech companies and he sits on multiple boards, rubbing shoulders with many wealthy and influential individuals.
So I asked him the question, “What’s the primary difference between the way a millionaire thinks and the way a billionaire thinks?” Now before you judge my question, I don’t have an ambition to be a billionaire, although I would not refuse a gift of this size to our ministry! I was really trying the mindset that produces mega success, understanding that this would translate to ministry.
His answer unlocked something significant for me as a leader. He essentially said, “Most millionaires I know set out to be millionaires. They thought that eventually they would hit that magical mark and be fulfilled with their lives. Most of them never found that satisfaction, and consequently they are still searching. The billionaires on the other hand are very different. Very few of them ever started with the intention of becoming a billionaire. In fact, they started with a vision or a product that they gave their life to and looked up one day and realized they had more wealth than they ever anticipated.”
What in the world does this question have to do with church planting or church leadership?
This: Your motivation matters to God! Your heart at the start will affect everything you touch. So many leaders get into ministry for the wrong reasons. Sometimes it can be about building a name for ourselves, getting recognized, or rebelling against everything else that existed.
Church planting is one of God’s greatest tools to reach the next generation, but we must pay attention to motivation. We must ask ourselves some tough questions: “Why am I getting into this?” or “Why did I get into this in the first place?”
Every year, magazines and research come out with who has the biggest church and who has the fastest-growing church. This process is helpful for learning, but can be very dangerous for our hearts. We can feel great about our progress until we see what God is doing somewhere else. We can get discouraged or we can get prideful, and eventually we can hide behind the numbers, trying to cover up a heart that has strayed.
Let’s not forget what Luke wrote: “Jesus came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Jesus woke up every day He was here, trying to figure out how to fulfill His Father’s agenda and reach the lost! f that’s not the driving force of all our efforts, eventually we will start building a bunch of Towers of Babel and miss the mark of what matters most to God.
If we make this our focus, and we look up one day and it’s bigger than expected, we can celebrate and thank God for His grace to use our lives. But this success must not derail us. We must keep a crystal-clear vision of the fact that our world is lost and eternity is real.
We all are human. We will fight the battle with our flesh as long as we are on this side of eternity. For me, this battle has never fully gone away, but I’m learning to be more aware of what’s happening in my heart.
If we as leaders get this, we will lead churches and movements that are passionate about people who are far from God, and we will help plant churches that do the same thing. May the Lord help you search your heart today and ask yourself some motivation questions. May you find His grace to keep your heart and ambition pointed in the right direction.