Season 2 | Episode 2

Business, Ministry, Art: Who Will Win?

Get clear about the results you want to see. Set a goal that you’re excited about. And know why you’re doing it.

There are three ways to look at your work, revolving loosely around results, goals, and meaning. Let’s talk about the work we do, and how to make it better.

This episode talks about:

  • Why you should treat your ministry like a business.
  • Why you should treat your business like a rock band.
  • And why you should treat your rock band like a ministry.


Back in the early two thousand s, I had a little record label and distribution. I was trying to get some music out there, get music in the stores with CDs, a little bit of vinyl records, some cool stuff. I also had a band and it was an earlier version of the music that I’m making today and I talk about on this podcast and so it’s my band, my music and I was also putting on events with my band and other bands and around that time it was kind of a daring concept for me to go out on my own and do these things. A young father trying to make a living in an area that doesn’t have a lot of income, not a lot of ready income. You have to really prepare the ground to find success in something like that. It’s a great way to go into debt if you’re interested. And I remember seeking counsel with an older wiser guy and I’m just telling him all the things that I’m doing and he just listened. And then he said, you’re going to burn yourself out. You’re not going to have energy to do all the things you’re doing, the record label distribution, the events, you’re not going to have any energy left to make music and I wouldn’t have it.

No one’s going to tell me that I’m not going to do my dream and all things I want to do. But sure enough, within about a year, definitely less than two years of me stepping out like that, I had to shut the door on pretty much everything I was doing, maybe a large portion of it because I was burnt out. And I learned something that I had a lot of good intentions and good ideas, but I was working in three areas and the more I thought about it, I thought about these three areas that I was working on. I just drilled down deeper and deeper year after year, really still thinking about how that stuff went because I shut the door on my I had little office, I shut the door in the office and I went to work at a nine to five job. Right after that, I clocked in with somebody else’s office right after that, the next day. But in that time, since we’re talking about we’re going on 20 years, 15 years ago in that time since I’ve been ruminating and thinking of these three directions that I was going in and the first direction was business, little record label distribution business and it was characterized by a sense of trade between two parties.

You the business and then the customer. Trade second direction is something I’m very familiar with because I come from a faith based background, but I remain in a faith based background. The word ministry is very familiar to me. Ministry, which could also be called nonprofit organization and that is kind of motivated, whereas business is motivated by trade. Ministry is motivated by what I would call partnership. Two parties joining together to create a certain result. Partnership. And the third place I found myself directed towards, or maybe the third direction I was torn in was a direction not necessarily. It wasn’t exactly trade, it wasn’t exactly partnership, it wasn’t exactly nonprofit work, it wasn’t exactly business work. In fact, it was a journey of discovery to find out what it was. And that is art, which I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it by trade or by partnership, but more of a gift giving experience where I simply give what I have. It’s more of a one sided relationship. You’re the artist, you’re creating it. If somebody else consumes it, great. If somebody doesn’t, you’re still doing the art. It feels very onesided and it can turn into trade.

You making art for customers and it morphs into a business, or it can turn into a partnership. You making art in partnership with others to create a better world and more to some sort of ministry or nonprofit organization. So I’m bringing this up because the anchor, the common denominator with what? All I’m saying is work. What are we going to work on? What are you going to work on when you wake up in the morning? How are you going to use your time and your energy? And one of my pursuits in life, even through my music, the message of my music, is to see that stuff redeemed. The redemption of time and effort, the redemption of work, so that myself and others, we don’t go out and live our lives and do our work and not see fruit per se, not see return on our efforts. An ROI, a return on investment. You want to see our time and efforts used wisely. You are listening to Beauty Truth season Two from Adam Lee Rosenfeld and my music project, Harold and I. I’m Adam, and this is a work in progress. I’m doing this podcast. I’m loving it.

Just be with me or bear with me or enjoy it with me. It’s a podcast about my journey. You can learn from my journey as an artist who wants to change the world. I want to see the world transformed and it’s not just about me. But if you get clear on a transformation that you want to see in the world, then you kind of have a moral obligation to pursue it. Visit H-A-R-A-D-O-N-A-I net/partner to be a part of that change that I am working towards fitting in the world. Check out that site, go to the website, subscribe to the email list, and join me in getting a deeper conversation with what’s going on. Because I love to have that conversation with people. I love to go deeper and talk about the principles and ideas behind my art and my journey. So the question is, how are you spending your time when you work I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that pretty much anybody listening here, that their work time can be categorized by one of those three things that I brought up. Maybe it’s a business, maybe you’re spending time working on business, and what you’re pursuing, what you’re experiencing is transactional relationships.

Or maybe you’re spending your work time in some sort of ministry venture or nonprofit organization venture or NGO venture, where the relationships are transformational. You’re partnering with people to see a transformation. Or maybe you’re spending your time and it might feel kind of one sided where you’re making art. You’re not sure if people are going to buy your art, if it’s going to be a business, a trade. You’re not sure if people are going to partner with you and make art together to transform the world, to make a better place. You’re not sure yet. You’re just doing it. And you have some aspirations and you have some hopes. So as I ruminated really for years on this concept, because I felt that where I went wrong with my previous work, where I went wrong is I went wrong by trying to do all three at once. I went wrong by trying to do a record label at the same time of doing a business, at the same time of doing kind of an event promotion thing, at the same time of doing, excuse me, do a business promotion thing and art as a band. So I kind of mixed up business, nonprofit, NGO work and art altogether.

And it was confusing. When you’re in the business of making brands, your brands have to be really clear what you’re about. And it was confusing what brand I had and what the brand meant and stood for. And so after really years of ruminating on this and thinking about it, I thought of a good paradigm of how to think about it. And so I’m speaking to you right now. If you’re an NGO person, if you’re a nonprofit organization person, if you’re a ministry person, and I want to say you need to run your ministry as a business. And to the business people, the startup people, whatever you’re working in a business, you need to run your business as a rock band. And the rock band people touring musicians and whatnot people trying to make it and what they do, you need to do that as a ministry, as an NGO and nonprofit organization. Now, what do I mean by that? Run your ministry as a business. Run your business as a rock band. Run your rock band as a ministry. How can we dig deeper into what I mean with that concept? It’s been a guideline for me.

And the first thing, if we focus on ministry or NGO work or nonprofit work, how do you want a ministry, so to speak, as a business? A little handy term called KPIs key Performance Indicators. And what that means is you need to have some clear results that you’re working towards. Sometimes the value of doing transformational work and partnering with people is just to do the activity together. It’s like, wow, we’re doing this. Wow, it’s happening. But it’s very difficult to keep it going if you don’t know what results you want to see. So it’s also hard for a transformational organization to nail down on results. Some results could be number of people, fed of hungry people fed, number of pieces of content released on a regular basis to encourage people of a certain amount of donations reached. And we have to be very careful when we create KPIs, because there are things that are within our control and there’s things that are not within our control. And so we have to be kind of humble and make sure that these KPIs, these results were trying to find are things that we can do. For example, if we want to raise a million dollars, could say, well, did we communicate the need?

And did we use every communication platform to advertise the need? Did we pursue the people we wanted to pursue to request help in regards to fulfilling the need? So if you got a nonprofit organization and ministry, it’s time to get a list of clear results that you want to pursue. I talk about faith based things because I am a faith based person and I operate in a faith based community, in a faith based environment. And there is a famous speaker, teacher, evangelist by the name of Benny Hen. And I had an interesting encounter with his organization once. I was working with a youth organization and that organization and many others were invited to a luncheon, to a meal at a hotel. And they brought all these local leaders from our community to this nice hotel and spread this nice meal in front of us. And this is in Israel. And a man stood in front of us, a quite large, well built, muscular man, a striking person who said that, hey, I’m here representing Benny Hen’s organization and we’ve come to tell you that we are going to be present at this stadium and have an event at this stadium here in Israel.

And we are going to fill that stadium no matter what. So if you help us and if you use your influence and your communities and encourage them to come, great. And if you don’t, that’s also okay, because we’re going to fill that stadium. So their KPI was to fill that stadium, and lo and behold, they filled the stadium largely with people that were not brought from the organizations that they were encouraging to bring. Nonetheless, that stadium was full KPIs. Now, if you’re a business and I say run your business like a rock band, that’s a little bit different because businesses, they have quite a few KPIs. A business will have all kinds of key performance indicators. They’ll say, oh, we need to get X amount of sales, we need to do X amount of marketing initiatives, so on and so forth. I hope this is not getting too boring. Talking about business, KPIs, that kind of excites me. But in the startup world, sometimes you could be pursuing a lot of results at the same time, but you’re not clear on what you call a ten X result. One result that really people can get behind and feel good about dedicating their lives.

When people are working for you in a business, they’re giving their lives, they’re giving their time, their effort. And if you’re not clear on one clear goal, 110 X goal, it’s very hard to get people motivated. So it’s great to have KPIs like businesses have key performance indicators, great goals, great results, want to pursue. But you have to get clear on one big thing. Instead of growing one area by 10% or whatever, instead of growing ten areas by 10%, try to grow one area by 100%. Get people involved in one thing. Why I say it makes it like a rock band, because I remember being at a festival once and there were these guys from this pop punk band. I feel bad to say their name because it was a hard moment, but they were looking at their merch table, at their CD table, seeing how many CDs and t shirts they sold and it wasn’t what they expected. And they said, well, that gets us to Oregon. They had one clear goal, was to drive their van to Oregon. That was the one goal. One goal for their van. And the money they needed went to that.

They were focused on one clear goal. They weren’t thinking about a whole bunch of ten different things, they’re thinking about that one goal. And when you’re a hungry artist, I use rock band as an example, but artists in general, when you’re hungry and you’re working, you tend to get more singular. Focus on that one goal, get me to that event, get me to that festival, get me in front of that publisher or promoter or so on and so forth. So it’s good to have one really big goal to get people rally behind. Now finally, if you’re a rock band or an artist, I encourage you to run your band or your art as a ministry, as a nonprofit organization, as a transformational organization. And what I mean by that is make sure you know what the results are for. If you’re pursuing some result, if you’re doing everything just to make it to Oregon, just to make it to the next tour date, get clear on why, what is the why behind what you’re doing. I talk about in this podcast, I’m trying to change the world. I literally want to transform indie music culture through the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

And that’s some spiritual terminology for you. You can think what you want about it, but I’m standing for it, and I’m speaking about it. I’m using my time and my effort to talk about it. And it’s not in my control what the Holy Spirit wants to do, but what is in my control, I can do. I can position myself and position my efforts to facilitate that potential change. And I want to see any music culture transformed. I want to see people healed. I want to see the hearts healed and families healed and communities healed. And I want our art and our culture to be catalysts for that healing. That’s the why. That’s the why behind what I’m doing. And when I get clear on that, it gets a lot easier for me to do the other aspects of making music, because you can lose your focus. If you’re spending all your time posting on social media, which is not a bad thing, or even your time in the studio or whatever, you can lose focus. And it’s good to get clear on the why and it’s good to communicate that. So the people with you, the people partnering with you, can get rallied behind that too.

Get clear on how you’re spending your time. Are you spending your time in more of a business? Are you spending your work time more of a business experience, trading with others, a transactional relationship with others? That’s not a bad thing, but it’s good to be clear on it. Are you spending your time in more of a ministry or nonprofit organization or NGO experience, a partnership, a transformational relationship with people? Or are you spending your work time as an artist really just giving and giving from your artistic self, not knowing yet? Will this turn into a business? Will it be something that you trade with people? Will it be some sort of ministry? Not knowing yet? And if you’re clear on what you’re doing, get clear on the results that you want to see and then get results that people will want to get behind, and then get clear on why the results matter. Run your ministry as a business. Run your business as a rock band. Run your rock band as a ministry. The world needs your work. The world needs your work. You spend time getting up, using your energy to do work. Make it a better place.

Make the world a better place. This is Adam Rosenfeld here with a Podcast beauty Truth. You’re with me here in season two, coming at you from my music project, Har Adonai. This is a podcast about my journey as an artist who wants to change the world. Visit H-A-R-A-D-O-N-A-I. Net/partner to be a part of that change that I want to see in the world and get into a deeper conversation with me. You can get on my email list. We talk about things. We have monthly events and all kinds of things. Get on there and we can go deeper. I’m going to leave you with a song that, to me speaks a lot about work and the redemption of the work. And it’s from my latest album called now is golden. The song is called Electric Squares. Thanks.

September 12, 2022

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