Christian Businesses Don’t Exist

by Brad Harmon on August 14, 2010 in Leadership

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You read that correctly – Christian businesses don’t exist.  That doesn’t sound like a proclamation you’d expect to hear from a website dedicated to bringing our Christian faith into the marketplace, does it?

We were reminded of this fact in a recent tweet by Rick Warren.

There’s really no such thing as a “Christian business” only Christian business people. Jesus saves people,not organizations – Rick Warren

In our third lesson from the 20 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Creation series, we look at how your business can serve as a beacon of light in the world.

Our Number One Priority as Christians

When the Bible talks about the actions of God it’s important to understand that the Holy Spirit led the writer to depict these actions in a very precise way.  God is not a god of chaos.  Everything He does is perfectly ordered.

Knowing this about God, it’s interesting that his first priority in Creation was to bring light into the world.

2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3, KJV)

If this was His first priority, as demonstrated by His actions, then it would follow that it’s our first priority as Christians, as leaders, and as entrepreneurs.  Just imagine how all of the remaining acts of Creation would be for naught had God not first brought the light that would sustain them.

Every Christian is Called into Full-Time Ministry

While only about 3% of Christians receive a vocational calling to be in full-time ministry, this doesn’t mean that the other 97% are off the hook.  All Christians have a life calling, or a commission, to spread the Gospel.

19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20, KJV)

This Great Commission was the last instructions given by Christ to His eleven disciples before He ascended into Heaven.  It’s why evangelical Christians believe it’s their duty to proselytize in every facet of their daily lives.

Similar to God’s first actions being significant, doesn’t Christ’s last actions on earth also take on an added significance?  Wouldn’t you want your last words to be the most profound and significant ones you’d ever uttered?

This Little Light of Mine

Remember singing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” in Sunday school as children?  It’s a reminder of another instruction Jesus gave us about the importance of being a source of light.

14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, KJV)

Whether or not you decide to advertise your business as Christian-owned, we are still to operate our businesses in such a manner that they bring light into the world. Look at the phrases Christ uses.

“set on a hill” “cannot be hid” not “under a bushel” “on a candlestick” “light unto all” “shine before men” “that they may see”

There is no place where our faith is not supposed to impact our decisions and those around us.  There is no place where we are not supposed to let our light shine through in our good works.  No “separation of” exists for us.

Christian Businesses Don’t Exist

Rick Warren is correct, there is no such thing as a “Christian business” – there are just businesses operated by Christian people.  As Christian entrepreneurs, it is imperative that we impress our belief system into our business operations by setting the example for our people.

Why do you think so many Christians are quick to draw a line in the sand where their faith is supposed to stop?

Do you think Christian entrepreneurs who decide not to advertise their faith are trying to hide their light under a bushel?

How are you letting your light shine through your business?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Chad Galbreath August 15, 2010 at 5:49 am

Brad-

I enjoy your insight. In today’s culture many of us have compartmentalized our lives too much. I am a father when with my kids, a business man at work, and a Christian at church. When in reality, Christ has called us to act like leaders in our local communities and represent him consistently at all times. We do not have two different hats, one being a business man or woman and the other being a Christian, instead we have 1 hat potentially with several labels depending on the season of life we are in.
Chad Galbreath recently posted..Top 5 Daily Tasks

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Brad Harmon August 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Thanks Chad. I agree that we compartmentalize our lives way too much. Perhaps it’s just a coping mechanism to adjust for how busy we have made ourselves. It’s no wonder so many people need to find themselves – they’re lost in one of their own compartments.

Why it may help us cope, I think it limits us from becoming the whole person God wants us to be. How sad that so many Christians lock away their faith when they need it the most in the workplace.

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David@RedLetterBelievers August 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Brad

if given the choice, I always patronize a Christian owned business over another, especailly if they make it known in their advertising. i figure if they put it out there, that they’ll stand by their word.
And so far, I’ve been pleased.
David

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Brad Harmon August 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

My personal experience has not been very good when frequenting small businesses that advertise as Christian-owned. I’ve found too many only advertise as such because they believe it will bring Christians in the door. Their faith seems to have little impact on their business practices.

I’ve had much better luck with larger corporations like Chick-Fil-A, Mardell’s, and Christian Brothers Automotive. They advertise their faith and back it up with great service following Biblical financial principles. I give them all the business I can.

I’m ever the eternal optimist though so I actively seek to patronize Christian-owned small businesses too, but I’ve come to realize that many are not well equipped to follow through on their advertising. Of course, I guess that’s why God has called me to help them.

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial August 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Brad, another great post! This is so true, we have to let our light shine in every area of our life! I struggled with finding a balance because of two reasons.

First, I don’t want to seem like I’m using my faith as a gimmick to get Christians in the door (as you mentioned in the comments). Second, while the personal financial advice that I write all lines up with the word of God, it is applicable to most unbelievers as well, and my services are not exclusively for believers only.

But when I decided to have a blog name and tagline, I wanted to be sure and embrace what I stand for and believe (Hence, “Faithful With A Few”).
Khaleef @ KNS Financial recently posted..The Sufferings of Some of the Early Christians – Devotion

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Brad Harmon August 17, 2010 at 2:38 am

I struggled some with trying to attract non-Christians to look at the financial principles from the Bible because many of them work regardless of your faith. I ended up confusing my readers as to what the purpose of my blog was all about (you can read about that experience in my latest post link below). It’s one of the main reasons I decided to launch this new blog which definitely does not hide it’s light under a bushel.
Brad Harmon recently posted..Growing a Community Around Your Blog

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Tony Waldrop October 19, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Rick warren is wrong, way wrong! Believers are in the reaping and gathering business. In the parable on talents Jesus told the unprofitable servant, you knew I reap where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter. We are in the reaping and gathering business, and it is a FAMILY BUSINESS!!!
Until the church see this, understands this and accepts responsibility of this, the family business will continue to suffer! The earth is being harvested at an alarming rate and will be harvested. All the resources need to fill the world to maximum potential with the gospel is laying in the fields. We are called to reap and gather it, and put it to work – in other words, get the JOB DONE!!!

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George Fuller June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I would say some people do hide their light under a bushel. In my opionion, I think our western culture divides secular and spiritual. Church is Sunday and not for the work week. This is a mistake. Let’s define “church.” Church is a body of believers and not a building. At work, we invite people to church while at the same time they are viewing the church through us. My point is, everything we do, whether godly or ungodly, is still part of what others view as Christian. Christians are ambassadors for Christ whether we are Christlike or not. Illustration; let someone that isn’t a Christian tell you what church is and what a Christian is. Their definitions are not necessarily based on fact. Perception has become “reality” even though it isn’t true or biblical. God does everything through His holiness. His love is holy. His anger is holy. For us, everything is through Christ; everything is through being a Christian. I’m a Christian dad, a Christian husband, a Christian driving a car, and a Christian business owner.Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Usually this verse is used to show that we are always in Christ no matter what. Does being a Christian business owner separate is from the love of Christ? No. We are Christians. We speak and act on His behalf, not our own. Don’t let the separation of church and state influence you on the job sight or anywhere else. Just because the world doesn’t want to hear the truth doesn’t mean we have to be silent. Being Christlike and sharing the Gospel so others are saved from hell is loving you neighbor. Take care.

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