Restorying Priests as Entrepreneurs: A Reflective Essay on Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Scottish Episcopal Church

Mary Brown


This paper explores and reflects upon how far clergy may act as entrepreneurial leaders in a faith-based organisation which values tradition and continuity, yet wishes to open its membership to a wider constituency. In spite of increased secularisation in Britain, religion and its role in people’s lives refuses to disappear. Churches and other religious movements now frequently seek to adapt change management techniques to promote cultural diversity and thus appeal to a wider potential membership. At congregational level, clergy become responsible for implementing cultural change initiatives. Consequently, the clergy role may involve responsibility not just for spiritual and ministry issues, in the context of caring for church members’ emotional needs, but also for management. If, as managers, clergy are responsible for promoting cultural change through management initiatives, it is but a short step to restory them as entrepreneurs, or at least entrepreneurial leaders. Indeed, strategic enterprise thinking is needed to achieve successful cultural change. The pressures on clergy to act as both spiritual ‘therapists’ and to manage sophisticated corporate operations place a strain on their ability to be also ministers, and obvious anomalies exist. For example, congregations might value leadership behaviours in their clergy, but not when leadership involves acting as a catalyst for cultural change. The more enterprising clergy can experience frustration in bringing about even small innovations and change, and may experience role strain when required to balance the need for providing individual support to existing congregation members with an expectation of appealing to new sources of membership.


Faith-based organizations; Clergy; Cultural change; Entrepreneurial leadership

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