The week is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Yet, many Christians often feel Sunday is disconnected from the realities of Monday through Saturday.
This is especially true when it comes to the integration of faith and business. Whether you are in the coffee business or clothing business, every Christian is in the kingdom business.
The challenge of integrating faith and work is especially challenging for business owners.
Businesses are usually focused on one outcome: finances. Shark Tank is a television show featuring people with business ideas seeking investment. In a typical episode, investors are focused solely on the prospect of financial outcomes.
Financial outcomes are important. You can’t run a business without profit. Yet, what if you had a business idea that was focused on important outcomes in addition to money?
Social entrepreneurship is a growing sector. It focuses on for-profit business models that make money and also have some other impact on society.
Leading Business with Christian Values
Christian-led businesses keep multiple outcomes in view. At bare minimum, the goal of a Christian-led business is to create profit AND glorify God in doing so.
A growing number of Christian-led businesses are trying to integrate their faith into the business model in more creative ways.
- On October 29, the Brock School of Business at Samford University in Birmingham is hosting The Lion’s Den, a “shark tank” event engineered by Cedarworks, Inc., where aspiring entrepreneurs present multi-impact business ideas to a panel of successful business leaders. These entrepreneurs are trying to build a business with a financial as well as a spiritual bottom line.
- Thrive Farmers is an example of a business focused on other outcomes in addition to money. Thrive looked at the traditional process by which coffee beans went from farmers to brewers. They became convinced that the most important person in the supply chain was being taken for granted: the farmer. As a result, they created a farm-to-brewer coffee supply business that shortens the supply chain between farmers and brewers. By doing so, it increases the profits of the farmers and gives them more ownership throughout the process. They recently became the exclusive coffee provider for Chick-fil-A.
Every Christian-led business will look different. For every Christian, all our business is kingdom business, whether we simply integrate the values of Christ’s kingdom into our corporate culture or try to use business as a means of advancing the presence of the kingdom in various parts of the world.
Business as Missions
Business is the next frontier of missions. What could it look like to conduct business as missions?
- Christian-led businesses can have a presence in a place around the world where Christian activity might otherwise be restricted.
- Christian-led businesses, like Thrive Farmers, can reflect the values of the kingdom in their business model, rewarding people in the supply chain who are usually overlooked.
- Christian-led businesses generate wealth to support the mission of the church, especially in under-resourced areas of the world.
- Every Christian-led business enables people to use their God-given gifts to provide for themselves and their families.
We have nurtured a dichotomy between faith and work for too long. Business is not the only frontier for missions, but it has certainly been a neglected one.
Through books, networks, and organizations, the movement is growing and gaining influence. We need to create businesses and conduct our business in such a way that acknowledges that the whole week belongs to the Lord.
Editor’s Note: On “Flashback Friday,” we take a look at some of IFWE’s former posts that are worth revisiting. This post was previously published on Sept. 29, 2015.
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