Christian leadership

Just Be Like Him

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.                                                                                                             - Romans 8:29

How do we serve as effective ambassadors and marketing vehicles for God? The Highest form of marketing for God is to just be like Him. We serve Him best when we emulate Him. Now, you might be wondering exactly how we mere humans could even entertain the notion of being like almighty God, especially in the ruthless and cutthroat world of business. Well, this may not be as much of a quantum leap as you might think.

Be Imitators of God

First, we must remember that God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:26). He calls us “gods” and we are instructed to be imitators of God (Psalm 82:6; John 10:34; Ephesians 5:1). So we must leverage our godly brand attributes and obey His commandment to imitate or be like Him.

Be Conformed to the Image of His Son

Fortunately, God has already given us a professional coach to help us with this. God declares that we are to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29, NKJV; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Jesus Christ is our ultimate role model and coach. He is the Benchmark. The Standard. The Bible tells us that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and Christ has the mind of God, so being like Him is not impossible.

Jesus tells us:

  • Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me (John 14:10, NLT).
  • I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you (John 13:15, NLT).

Jesus is saying that He has given us an example and a pattern to follow so that we can serve as effective ambassadors and marketing vehicles for God. You don’t have to lecture or preach about God at work. The only thing you need to do is just be like Jesus.

The Bible says that “Jesus went around doing good” (Acts 10:38, NLT). Just by reading the Bible and learning more about Jesus and His leadership practices, we can learn so much about how to be ambassadors for God, particularly within the commercial arena.

In the Foreword for the book, Church on Sunday, Work on Monday, Ken Blanchard, world-renown leadership expert, states that “Jesus was a leadership model for all leaders” and that “business leaders need help and they need the kind of help that they can get from the leadership message of Jesus.”

We are to share God’s blessings and anointing in our lives with others so that we can give them a preview of Jesus and God’s redemptive power (Revelation 1:1-5).

Just be like Him in the workplace and in the marketplace and you will attract the attention of your target audience. Just being like Jesus equates to leading and ministering to others by example. We are to exemplify godly principles in our business philosophy and practice. We are to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 20: 7-8; 1 Peter 1:14-16).

When we commit to being like Him, we are committing to be role models in our conduct (1 Timothy 4:12). We are committing to show others how to be “a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7-8, NKJV) putting our opponents to shame to the point that they have nothing negative to say about us!  We are committing to set the Highest standards for others to follow by allowing our business practices to give credence to our belief in God. But does this mean that we have to be perfect?

Must we be perfect?

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:1 (NKJV) that we must mature as individuals and “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” We are to be obedient to God and live and mature by following the example of the life of Jesus Christ. But this doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect. We just need to exemplify excellence and wisdom. Remember, excellence is doing your best. Excellence is not perfection. We will never be perfect, for we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We just need to do our best to live the Christian life we espouse so that God can use our faith, testimonies, and blessings to bring others closer to Him.

Are You Modeling A Servant Spirit?

But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)

 

Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit:  In Theory

 

Awhile ago, I read an issue of In Touch, the magazine produced by Dr. Charles Stanley’s church, First Baptist Atlanta. The publication featured an article titled: “Dan Cathy: Leading the Next Generation at Chick-fil-A.”  The article mentioned that Mr. Cathy “spends most of his time traveling, helping with grand openings for new franchises, staying attuned to customers’ needs, and modeling a servant spirit for the employees.”

 

The fact that Chick-fil-A includes “modeling a servant spirit for employees” as a part of their corporate culture and one of their most critical business imperatives speaks volumes for their focus on servant leadership. In the article, Dan states:

 

God wants to use the local church to make a difference. There are so many negative forces going on in our society. This is a fallen culture that we live in…but if we’ll acknowledge God in all our ways, then not only for us as a family and as a business but even for us all as a nation, God will continue to direct our paths.

 

Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit:  In Practice

 

I had the unique opportunity to experience Dan Cathy’s humble attitude and servant leadership approach in person when I recently had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him at a Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he was the keynote speaker.

 

During his powerful presentation, he shared a number of interesting items and artifacts and explained how each symbolized specific leadership principles. One of these articles was a shoe brush. Dan explained how it was used for brushing and shining shoes, but, for him, it also represented the importance of remaining a humble servant and reminded him of how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

 

Well, after explaining this, Dan asked a gentleman from the audience to come and stand beside him. And to our utter amazement, Dan got on his knees and actually rolled up the cuffs of the man’s trousers and brushed and shined his shoes!  When he finished, he pulled the cuffs back down, stood up, and gave the man a hug! Dan explained that this is the type of servant attitude that he tries to impart to his employees. Dan’s actions transcended his words in an extraordinary way and left an affirmative, indelible impression that I will never forget.

 

We must always pray for spiritual discernment in creating a corporate culture that is not only authentic, but also honors God.  You should be so much of a positive influence on others that their lives should be enhanced as a result of being under your leadership and authority. I believe the definition of an exceptional leader is one who serves and enhances the lives of others by moving them closer to God and the achievement of their spiritual calling and purpose.  If you can create a culture to facilitate this, then you are one step closer to truly transforming the workplace and marketplace.

 

 

No Limits

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.                      - Matthew 19:26, KJV

 

I love the way Oprah Winfrey captured the secret to her success on the last day of her show’s 25-year run:

 

"People often ask me what is the secret to the success of this show. I non-jokingly say, ‘My team and Jesus,’ because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me."    -  Oprah Winfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show - Final Episode (5/25/11)

 

“I always knew I’d be a millionaire by age thirty-two,” said Oprah in 1987. “In fact, I am going to be the richest black woman in America.” Nineteen years later, with a net worth of $1.4 billion, Oprah has become not only the richest black woman in America, but also one of the richest people in the world.

This success has not come by chance. Oprah has made her fortune by setting clear and ambitious goals on both the professional and personal levels. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret,” she says. “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

According to Oprah, the biggest hurdle people need to overcome in order to be successful is their belief that there are limits to how much they can accomplish. Goals need to be set and set high; expectations need to be limitless; and ambition cannot be restrained. “If you believe you can only go so far, it is an obstacle.”

 

The Bible says that with God, all things are possible.  But, as Christian leaders we must establish goals that are first vetted with Him.   “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV).  So, make sure you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in identifying the right goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to fulfill the path that God has ordained for you (Proverbs 3:5-6) and to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

When establishing your goals, make sure that they are SMART, which is the commonly used acronym for:

  • Specific (i.e., be precise about what you intend to achieve)
  • Measurable (i.e., ensure that your objectives are quantifiable)
  • Attainable (i.e., make sure that your goals are achievable)
  • Realistic (i.e., confirm that your objective is one that you are willing and able to pursue)
  • Time-bound (i.e., identify the timeframe or deadline for achieving the stated objective)

 

Example of a SMART Objective:  To gain 25 percent of the U.S. market for smart phones by December 31, 2020.

 

As God’s ambassadors in the workplace and in the marketplace, it is perfectly acceptable to have clearly defined goals and objectives, but we must make sure they are established by God and remain flexible to His timing. For instance, don’t be tied to a specific destination with your business such as going public or capturing a certain percentage of market-share within a certain timeframe. He’ll let you know what to do and when to do it.  Wait for His perfect timing in planning and executing your initiatives.

 

When you commit your plans to the Lord and allow Him to direct you, your plans are guaranteed to come to fruition (Proverbs 16:3). The Bible says that if you obey God, He promises to make your name great, or enhance your reputation, and make you a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2).  Remember, no one has seen what God has prepared for those who love Him, and no one can change the plans of God (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 43:13).

 

The 5th "P" Of Marketing

'Come, follow me’, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.

     - Matthew 4:19 (NLT)

 

 

   You Are God’s Marketing Vehicle

 

Fundamentally, marketing is a means for influencing others to buy into lifestyle enhancement regardless of whether the benefits take the form of a product or service.  Similarly, as Christians we are also charged with reaching and encouraging others and influencing them to embrace a lifestyle enhancement—a spiritual lifestyle enhancement. We are living epistles and advertisements for God in the marketplace. Jesus didn’t demand that people come to Him in order to hear the gospel. He went to them. He went into the marketplace and through towns teaching the gospel.

 

Marketing is Fishing

 

Jesus gives us a great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV; 1 Timothy 2:3-4).  Jesus tells us, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men,” and, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” (Mark 1:17, NKJV; Luke 5:10, NKJV).

 

As God’s ambassadors, we are charged with seeking, or fishing for, and catching individuals to bring into the kingdom of God for salvation (1 Corinthians 9:22). In this way, marketing is analogous to fishing.

 

Marketing is fishing from a kingdom perspective. For instance, both fishing and marketing involve skillfully and strategically:

  • Targeting a certain area or audience.
  • Casting a line with a hook or slogan.
  • Offering an enticing bait or benefit.
  • Reeling in or recruiting.

 

Most of us are familiar with the infamous 4Ps of marketing:  Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. But I’d like to introduce you to a new one: the 5th “P” of marketing:  your kingdom Platform.

 

The 5th “P” of Marketing:  Your Platform

 

Your kingdom platform is defined as what you and your business stand for from a kingdom, or a godly, perspective, and it should always reinforce God’s principles such as the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (1 John 4:8; Galatians 5:22-23). Your kingdom platform should serve as the overarching theme from which your marketing strategies and tactics are spawn.  Ultimately, your entire business culture and philosophy should be grounded in your kingdom platform.

 

Example:  You might be an interior designer. Because for you, interior decorating is a Higher calling than just making a room look pleasant and inviting, your kingdom platform may be centered on creating joy and peace for people within their living spaces. In this way, your platform reinforces godly principles and, consequently, serves as a strong spiritual foundation for your marketing initiatives.

 

You don’t necessarily have to advertise your kingdom platform unless you feel led to do so. You just need to identify it, commit it to God, and ensure that the remaining 4Ps of your marketing plan align with it. Having a kingdom platform is just another way to bring your business plans and marketing programs to a Higher level of success and significance.

Fulfillment

You wake up in the morning hoping your actions will have purpose. You want the work you do during the day to be affirmed, to be directed towards a meaningful end, and to have an impact on the lives of those around you.

You want to lie down at night and feel satisfied, content that the work you did was your very best and made a difference in the grand scheme of things.

You want the peace of mind, the satisfaction that comes with living out your purpose in the world.

You want fulfillment.

And you know what? You can find it. Everyone can.

Each person is created in God’s image, and like him, has the desire – and the ability – to be creative and find fulfillment using their God-given talents.

You can find fulfillment in many ways, by knowing your place and purpose in your community, your family, your church, and especially in work.

You can find fulfillment by living into who God created you to be, and doing what he created you to do.

In short, you find fulfillment when you discover and carry out your calling. This fulfillment finds expression in many ways – in serving your community, church, and family. In these places, you can make contributions that have eternal significance.

Work especially is an area where you can find fulfillment. Your daily work provides you with the challenges and opportunities to serve God and others. In fact, it’s the best way to serve others. And service is key – ultimately, work isn’t just about your personal fulfillment. It’s about serving your neighbors and even complete strangers by using your God-given gifts, talents, and resources to help meet their needs. Your service gives people a glimpse of how things will be when Christ returns and restores creation in full.

There are, of course, times when work may be difficult. Some days you feel the “thorns and thistles,” the stress, the burden of your responsibilities more than others. Through it all, work remains a formative activity for finding fulfillment by teaching us about God and ourselves.

Fulfillment can be found in whatever work God places in front of you, regardless of whether it’s your dream job or not. When we work hard everyday at the work God has given us, it’s pleasing to him and way more fulfilling for us.

Ultimately, fulfillment is not found in our circumstances, but in the actions – and attitudes we take towards our work, family, church, and community each and everyday. It’s found in working diligently to glorify God, serve the common good, and advance the kingdom of God in all that we do.

 

Originally published by the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE). ©Institute for Faith, Work & Economics 2015. Used by permission.