The Lone Wolf Myth

The Value of Community in Missional Enterprise

We at Navigators Missional Enterprise are committed to several core values that guide our efforts. In previous editions of M3 Weekly, we have shared about the values of “Life-to-Life Discipling” and “the Triple Bottom Line – in holistic, healthy tension.” This week, we focus on the value of Community.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges to pursuing Community for current and aspiring leaders of Missional Enterprises is what you could call the “Myth of the Lone Wolf Entrepreneur” – the idea that business leaders have succeeded by possessing unique characteristics enabling them to “go it alone,” and that we should try to do the same.

Neither assumption is accurate.

Even entrepreneurs commonly thought of as successful “Lone Rangers,” like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, had dynamic and complementary teammates from early on, and testify to the power of groups of people in starting a business.

Richard Branson, British entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, said it this way:

Many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate. Few entrepreneurs — scratch that: almost no one — ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Amsterdam found that, if anything, entrepreneurs are more inclined toward teamwork than average. They concluded:

Our findings . . . provide no support for the ‘lone wolf’ hypothesis that entrepreneurs have a particular taste for individual work.

Of course, as members of the body of Christ, none of this should surprise us, and we should pursue opportunities to connect and collaborate. Business-As-Mission (BAM) author Neal Johnsonshared the following thoughts about the importance of peers in the missional enterprise journey:

I think that BAMers need to come together and start meeting on a regular basis among their peers to share experiences and best practices, offer encouragement, provide mentoring, talk about real business problems and collectively seek Christ-centered, Bible-based alternatives for dealing with those problems.

One of the ways we at Navigators Missional Enterprise work to build community is through M3 Cohorts, groups of current and aspiring leaders of missional enterprises, who meet monthly for encouragement, inspiration, and advice.

If you know of people who might be interested in an opportunity to develop in a community like these, use the email link below to get them connected to us.

Verse(s) of the Week:

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:15-18

Let’s take some time this week to meditate on the scriptural metaphor of the church as the body of Christ. Do you more often feel like a foot or an eye? What are the implications of this metaphor as we relate to other brothers and sisters in Christ in missional enterprise?

Share your thoughts