I wrote this description a few years ago during grad school, when my practice was a theoretical exercise. It’s got good bones, though, so here are opening thoughts:
So, what is “entrepreneurial ministry”?
In juxtaposition to a traditional ministry (a settled minister or chaplain), entrepreneurial ministry is free-form, and limited only by imagination. Which makes it hard to define! However, these key elements distinguish it from both traditional entrepreneurial enterprises and traditional ministry. That it:
-seeks alternative ways to connect with “clients” (not “church on Sunday” , or hospital chaplaincy)
-has spiritual goals and purpose
-centers on service
-operates as a business (often a personal/private one)
-likely includes a spiritual professional (seminary or other compatible training experience)
Forms it might take:
-spiritual direction practice
-shop for ritual items and/or books (often serving as community gathering space)
-minister-for-hire (performing life cycle rituals, etc.)
-a community organization (education or goal-oriented)
-participation in or formation of an interfaith organization
-podcast/youtube channel/online presence
Since writing this definition, my world has expanded. There is a vibrant movement of brujas and black witches living into priestessing as an entrepreneurial ministry in ways I’ve never seen (it’s happening online. On social media. And it takes many forms!) I’m so inspired by these witches and their lives and work in the world! Here are just a few of my favorite folx to follow:
One interesting thing about bruja culture, as the Hoodwitch discusses, is that these amazing womyn are living into a modern tradition that existed already: the neighborhood botanica or religious/healing shop with its attending spiritual professional. White culture has nothing like that. White culture has psychiatrists and pills. *Here’s the thing: I know Finnish culture has/had something like that; so did Italian, and German. But “White culture”, the one that calls itself a melting pot but really is a capitalism assimilation machine, does not.
So when I started looking at models for my practice, I felt like I had to start from scratch. Now I feel like I’ll never keep up
So, what is entrepreneurial ministry, and why are we talking about it? It’s basically a fancy way to say I’m a spiritual professional who has to earn my own living. I don’t get a paycheck from being a minister in a church, or a chaplain in a hospital.
And we’re talking about it because it’s problematic for many people. There is a general unease sometimes about paying directly for spiritual care, like that is tainted somehow; that spirituality should be kept separate from money.
Well, what system does that support?! The one that looks like a church: where the spiritual service and the monetary transactions are divorced (but certainly present), and the illusion of “free” spiritual care is maintained. And it demonizes, or at least mistrusts, individual spiritual health care providers charging clients for their work.
But let’s do the thealogy here: what is magic? It is the capacity to shift reality, accomplished in various ways. I make potions with my magic, to support my clients’ healing and growth. That takes both time and skill (and stuff, i.e. herbs, which also require time and skill). I offer services— like tarot readings and spiritual direction— which I can provide with time, and because I have cultivated these skills. OK, so what is money? It is the universal standard we use to compensate each other for our time and skills. So in magical service exchanges, it is really quite simple: you could do the magic yourself, and invest the time and skill required. But if you don’t want to, or feel you can’t, then you use money (which you earned with your skills and time) to compensate me for my skills and time. It’s a very straightforward energy transfer. Money in exchange for skills and time, representing the skills and time of the one offering it.
And that’s why Village Witchery is an expression of entrepreneurial ministry, how we think about money and spiritual professionalism, and why paying for magic matters! Thanks y’all!