The idea of business as ministry may sound great. In practice, it is much more complex and interesting. It has been my experience that using our business as ministry looks very different at each business where this mindset takes root. The creativity and variety of ways that this is put into practice are limitless. After all, “ministry” just means serving.
I was asked the question just last week, “How do leaders use their business for ministry?” The simple answer, to borrow from St. Francis, is for the leader to always preach the gospel and to sometimes use words. The complete answer to this question requires more explanation and examples.
First, business as ministry requires a new paradigm that fully embraces the idea of stewardship. We are all stewards of what we do not own! As a steward of God’s resources, blessings and provision, we must act to carry out his will. Second, we start with the foundational principle of acting out of love for God and love for others. In loving those that we lead, business leaders should learn and focus on the goals of the individual. We determine where their goals and the company goals are in alignment. This requires getting to know each of the people that we lead or manage and embodying the philosophy of servant leadership.
Practical Ways to Use your Business as Ministry
- Bring in chaplains to minister to or serve staff members on a regular, predictable schedule. Many business leaders in Convene have partnered with Marketplace Chaplains to provide this service. I am an ordained chaplain and have served in this capacity. Chaplains make weekly visits to the business to briefly connect with the staff in their workplace, and when necessary they are available to schedule extended meetings after work or during break times. This is an effective employee assistance plan, which serves employees while advancing His kingdom.
- Schedule service days for causes such as volunteering at a local food bank or homeless shelter or participating in community projects. The company can invite all the staff to participate and pay their normal wages for this type of event. For those employees who do not want to join in, they may stay in their normal work role.
Sometimes leaders fear the backlash from being openly “Christian” in their business workplace. I would tell that leader that his or her rights under the current law are many and are well-established. Leaders may wish to consult with the Pacific Justice Institute prior to adopting any of the above strategies. This is a free resource for protecting the rights of Christians and is staffed by lawyers who serve pro bono.
No matter how we chose to use our business as ministry, we should always remember that our position, resources and influence are on loan from God.
If you want to learn more about using your business as a ministry, or how to use your business to grow the Kingdom, consider joining a Convene Peer-Advisory Group.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew gained a broad range of experience in the hospitality industry before leaving to join a company that provided computer systems to that industry. Matthew quickly became a principal at Merchants Systems, increasing sales exponentially while developing and executing a business plan that led to multi-state operations.
Matthew is passionate about business and helping leaders live the abundant life God has planned for them. To learn more about his coaching practice and connect with Matthew, view his profile or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org