Looking around in the Boise area and there are a few churches doing business seminars in the next little while. Not only that, but Dave Ramsey is coming to town to talk about being a Christian business owner. Wow, January must be the month for Christian business education.
Now I’m all for Christians being in business, and even more so for them being educated. In fact, my father is doing a Christian business conference here in just a few weeks. He’s a power sports expert that goes around the country training motorcycle, snowmobile, atv….shops how to be successful in sales and in the service department. He raced, sold, and became a district sales manager. Like I said, he’s an expert, nationally known for his articles and now for his training.
He’s also a phenomenal father, grandfather, husband, and christian. He knows well how to be a Christian and how to be a business person. Now how do you blend the two? Can they be blended?
I guess a good starting question is what makes a Christian business Christian? Remember, you can’t serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). A business is typically there to provide a service (whatever that is – even provided good products) and to make money. Making money isn’t bad unless that’s the only reason you’re doing business. It’s wise to make a distinction between a business and a ministry. If the main focus is helping and funding is done by donations or outside sourcing, it’s a ministry. If you are doing this to make money and then help, and your funding is based on the people that you help, it’s a business. I own a business, it’s okay to be “in business.”
I focus really hard on helping individuals who can’t get high quality help from other computer companies because the best focus on businesses – that’s where the money is. Now I have a set amount that I charge for services, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t help people when they really need it. So how do I balance the business with the faith? Easy, I don’t hide it. I talk to people, that’s really 90% of what I do.
People call me with problems. They call me expecting me to fix the problem. Not only do I fix the problem they call for, I also talk with them about their life, and pray for them and with them. And no, I haven’t had anyone complain about it…quite the opposite. I use my business to fund my ministry and as a way to open the doors of communication.
Now for my soapbox. Please, please, please, if you run a Christian company, whatever it is, be good at it! Don’t have the common attitude of “God will use whatever I can give/do” and put out halfhearted work. Nothing upsets me more than seeing “Christian” work that is substantially lower quality than “secular” work. If you can’t compete, get educated and get better before getting out there. Putting crappy products, magazines, papers, websites, recordings, cards, computer work, whatever out there makes it harder for people to take Christians in bushiness seriously. Not only that, but it makes it harder for some to take God seriously. Not cool.
My advice, if you believe your business funds your ministry – act like it. If your in it to make money…don’t call it a Christian business – be a Christian in the business. Treat your employees right, treat your clients right, and do the business right. Shine your light and let people see Christ through you.