What a Youth Pastor Can Learn From an Undercover Billionaire

What a Youth Pastor Can Learn from an Undercover Billionaire

Posted on Posted in Personal Development, Strategy

I’m a fan of reality of TV shows that involve business. Maybe it’s because my undergraduate degree is in Business Management, but I remember doing everything I could to not miss an episode of The Apprentice when it came out in 2004. 

Today, I love watching The Profit on CNBC. I’m fascinated by Marcus Lemonis’ ability to quickly analyze problems, fix processes, and turn struggling businesses around.

The most recent reality-business show that caught my attention was Undercover Billionaire on Discovery Channel. I was hooked from the start.


Undercover Billionaire


A billionaire named Glenn Stearns went undercover in Erie, PA to see if he could create a business that would be worth $1 million in only 90 days. He started with only $100 in his pocket, an old pickup truck, and a cell phone with no contacts.

I don’t want to spoil what happened for anyone who might want to watch the show, but I watched all eight episodes and wanted to share a few ideas I picked up along the way that can help your ministry.

7 Lessons for Youth Pastors from the Undercover Billionaire

1. Do whatever it takes.

With only $100 in his pocket, Glenn can’t afford a place to stay. He sleeps in his truck, eats cold Ramen noodles, and takes odd jobs to make enough money to finally get an apartment and focus on creating his new business.

Question to ask yourself:
When is the last time I left my comfort zone to build my ministry?

2. Talk with experienced people.

When trying to decide on his business idea, Glenn doesn’t assume he knows what to do. He contacts other business owners and sets up meetings with them to learn about the benefits and challenges of what they’ve been doing.

Question to ask yourself:
Have I reached out to other youth pastors to see what’s working for them?

3. Find the right team members.

Glenn knows that he can’t build a successful business on his own, so he starts recruiting people from the start. He partners with a variety of people with different strengths and skills to make his dream of a business become a reality.

Question to ask yourself:
Who should I invite to join my team?

4. Get your hands dirty.

Every step along the way, Glenn works alongside his team. He champions the vision for them; he challenges them to be more focused; he cheers for their success. He doesn’t delegate and forget. He doesn’t micromanage. He’s right there with them, making things happen.

Question to ask yourself:
Do my students and leaders see me doing the things I’m asking them to do?

5. Own your mistakes.

Halfway through the season, Glenn jeopardizes everything when he sends an email to one of his team members and signs it with his real name (he took an alias for the show). He immediately goes to the guy to own his mistake and set the record straight.

Question to ask yourself:
When I make a mistake, do I tend to own it or make excuses for it?

6. Set goals that stretch you.

Glenn’s goal is to create a business that is worth $1 million in 90 days. That sounds crazy when you think about what he started with. It’s a big stretch, but he believes it can happen.

Question to ask yourself:
Are my goals stretching me to be more creative and work harder than I have before?

7. Express appreciation.

In the final episode, Glenn meets with each person individually and thanks them for their efforts. His gratitude is heartfelt and sincere, and many people are moved to tears by his gestures of kindness to them.

Question to ask yourself:
What can I do to ensure my volunteers know how much I appreciate them?

Did Glenn reach his goal?

You’ll have to watch the show to find out. In the meantime, ask yourself these questions and you’ll keep your ministry moving in the right direction:

• When is the last time I left my comfort zone to build my ministry?
• Have I reached out to other youth pastors to see what’s working for them?
• Who should I invite to join my team?
• Do my students and leaders see me doing the things I’m asking them to do?
• When I make a mistake, do I tend to own it or make excuses for it?
• Are my goals stretching me to be more creative and work harder than I have before?
• What can I do to ensure my volunteers know how much I appreciate them?

Suggested Resource

Better Youth Ministry Scorecard

The following two tabs change content below.
Trevor Hamaker helps youth pastors see their potential and reach their goals. He has over a decade of ministry experience, along with degrees in business management, organizational leadership, and religious education.

Did You Like This Post?

Sign up to get updates sent to your inbox each week!

You're in! Want more ideas and support for your ministry? Check out the BYM Community!

http://bit.ly/bymcommunity