Throughout my time as a Christian Business Owner, I have come to realize how important it is for businesses to have a group of intercessors and an advisory board. Each group serves a different purpose, yet each is essential to the operation of any business or organization that wishes to honor the Lord.
Intercessors are people who love to pray and intercede with the Lord on behalf of others. No matter what type of organization it is, if the organization intends to move forward for the Lord (especially in the marketplace), then Satan will oppose that organization’s efforts. According to Ephesians 6, one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to combat the schemes of the enemy is prayer.
After having had a group of intercessors for my business, I have come to count on them to run spiritual interference for myself and the business as a whole through their faithful prayers. At our company, we have built a group of people (12 at the time of this writing) who we ping intermittently with prayer requests. Sometimes there are 2-3 months between emails, and other times, just 2-3 weeks. But as we inform them, and as they pray, God moves in our business.
The Scriptures make it clear that advisors are needed in many important efforts, from waging war to running a business. Counsel is also praised in the Bible, showing its necessity to Christian leadership. We have come to believe that privately owned Christian businesses should seek to establish an advisory counsel that meets 2-3 times each year. This Board would be compensated, and it would be available between meetings for particular questions. Further, the board should give sole proprietors or business owners a place to bounce ideas around, a group to pray with them and a set of trusted friends whose advice might hurt, but that they can rely on. In this section you’ll find a couple of Scriptures that are representative of literally dozens of Scriptures on planning that have led us to conclude that taking counsel is a directive from the Lord, and those who wish to obey what the Bible has to say about running a business will follow them closely.
- Proverbs 27.6: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Even though the counsel may hurt, if it comes from trusted friends, you’ll know their counsel is coming from a heart of love for you.
- Proverbs 27.17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We need interaction with others to “sharpen” us, to build us up and to help us learn.
Some have asked us what our job description is for our board members. It is as follows:
- Be available to meet two times per year for a full day each time
- Hold everything you learn about our business in confidence
- Participate and offer suggestions and ideas on how we can improve our business as it relates to:
What we really look for in our advisory board are Christian Business leaders who know how to run a business. We try to find a mix of at least fifty percent who own their own business and are successful in their own right, defining “success” as consistently turning a profit year after year. But we also look for business leaders who are not business owners to fill the other half of the board. Within these two broad categories, we look for people who bring different foci to the board. For example, in our board we have the following:
|Name||Current Position||Unique Contribution|
|Board Member #1||Business Owner||Strong marketing and branding experience|
|Board Member #2||Business Owner||Strong technology background and teaches in local MBA program|
|Board Member #3||Chief Operating Officer||Has held both CEO and COO positions in the Long-Term Health Care field|
|Board Member #4||Chief Operating Officer for distribution company||Has held CEO position in the building and construction field|
|Board Member #5||Business Owner||Strong international business background|
|Board Member #6||Federal Reserve Economist||Strong understanding of how business works|
|Board Member #7||General Manager of a Marketing Firm||Strong experience in running a business similar in size to mine|
Be sure that not all of your board members are your good friends, otherwise you might not always get the truth, and your time together may devolve into a social engagement. You need to come to the meeting with an agenda, and then you need to stick to it. We do compensate our board members—usually $800 per day. While this doesn’t begin to cover their true value, it does give them a stipend for helping out.
Now, be ready—if you get a group of talented, smart and honest people in the same room and ask for constructive ways to improve your business, you will get what you ask for. Be prepared that their insights and challenges may be more about your person and work as opposed to your business model or financial condition. If you can’t handle the personal criticism, then go to the Lord and ask for the healing you need to take on this type of direct yet necessary criticism that will surely come from an advisory board.
The Platinum Group
Bible and Business