Tag Archives: Prayer

What it means to be a Christian Business Owner

Recently, I had lunch with a business owner who is on his second business. He grew and sold the first business he owned and how he’s on his second business. As we talked about business, he made the comment that he’s far from perfect when it comes to integrating his faith as a business owner. “I don’t hold Bible studies for my employees”, he said. “Sometimes, I’ll tell an employee that I’ll pray for them, but beyond that, I don’t talk much about God.” You could see he felt he was missing the mark when it comes to properly integrating his faith with his ownership role.

I think he felt that in order to live out his Christian faith as a business owner, he needed to be evangelizing his employees, holding Bible studies during work hours or doing other, direct activities to bake in His faith into the business culture. He described one business here in the Minneapolis area that displays John 3.16 in big letters at the entrance of their business. I was surprised he thought this was more the standard for being a Christian Business Owner.

As I understand it, there are four purposes that God has for business:

  1. Products
  2. Passions
  3. Profits
  4. Philanthropy

In my estimation, achieving success in fulfilling these four purposes is tantamount to running a business God’s way and being successful at the Christian part of being a Christian Business Owner. These four purposes should become the core measurements of your business: if we at the Bible and Business are right in our interpretation of Scripture, then measuring how well you’re doing in these four areas would seem to make sense on a number of levels.

By contrast, what it does not mean is that you’re some type of super-business evangelist. You might fly from Minneapolis to San Diego and not win over the entire cabin to Christ at 40,000 feet. Some owners are more comfortable directly witnessing to their employees. Most are not. Sharing the four spiritual laws or running Bible studies is not the core reason most business owners are in business, yet some feel shame for not being more personally bold and direct about their faith with their employees. That feeling of shame is unwarranted. Instead of comparing yourself to other business owners who imprint John 3.16 in big letters on the side of their building, realize that God has wired you the way you are and has given us direction in the Scripture that all of us can follow and achieve, regardless of our personalities or temperaments.

It doesn’t mean that you’re holding daily Bible studies or taking your employees to church. It also doesn’t mean that your focus and attention is equally spent in each of the four areas. In fact, I would submit that you’ll not spend that much time on Philanthropy and will spend a majority of your time on Products and Profits. So even though all four purposes are equally important, this won’t translate into allotment of time for the Christian Business Owner. Finally, it doesn’t mean that you won’t face tough tradeoff choices to keep these purposes in balance – the reality is that you will face those choices. But you’ll face them with the Lord in your corner, giving you support and guidance as you listen to His voice and follow Him wholeheartedly.

Finally, it doesn’t mean that you’ll always be understood by those who look into your business from the outside. For example, you might find that your employees will grumble just a bit because their bonus checks were smaller due to your philanthropic activities. You can’t let the misunderstanding of your tradeoff choices become the basis on which you make decisions. Ask God – hear His voice – and follow His direction. Moses, Aaron, Joshua and even Jesus Christ were not always understood by those who looked in from the outside, but they followed God and fulfilled His purposes for their lives. You can do the same.

Be encouraged. Being a Christian Business Owner is about fulfilling God’s purpose for your business and doing it with holiness, humility and submission to God. It’s not about saving everyone who works for you or holding Bible studies at work.

Bill English

Pray for Our Leaders

In our toxic political environment, it might be difficult for us to pray for the very leaders who are damaging our businesses through public policy. Furthermore, we might resent how our hard-earned money is spent after it is taken from us through the force of law. We might also find ourselves disillusioned with the campaign and governance process – learning that time and again, those who seem to be one way during the campaign often turn out to be entirely different once in office.

Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2.1-4 during a time when Christians had zero access to their leaders and they couldn’t voice any opinion about the leaders’ persona or decisions. All they could do is pray. (At least in our system of government, we can become the leaders if we want to – so we have much less to whine about.) And so Paul instructs them to pray. And by extension, he instructions us as well to pray for our king and “all those in authority”:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Why do we enter into prayer for them? Why do we intercede for them? And why do we thank God for them? Because this pleases God – first, but also because through our praying, some will come to know Christ personally and after that, begin to understand the truth of God and by extension, the truth of how to govern properly.

In the long run, the type of government we have is less important than the salvation of men’s souls. It is true that as godlessness increases, so does a society’s move toward socialism and tyranny. This is because people naturally want a savior and when the real savior is jettisoned from the public square, he is also jettisoned from private lives and that vacuum must be filled. Nearly always, it is filled with government that is big, powerful and yet oppressive. Anytime you find a godless government, you’ll find an onerous tax system, an elite who profit immensely from their position, a corrupted judiciary that renders decisions to support the powerful to the detriment of the common man and often, a strong bigotry against one group or another. As a society moves in this direction, it is imperative that Christians pray for their leaders and essentially do a form of spiritual warfare on their behalf. This helps to slow the decay and sometimes can reverse it as those in power come to know Jesus Christ personally.

Most Christians ignore this passage in 1 Timothy. We figure all politicians in both parties are corrupt and beyond being salvaged. I would assert that what we need is a revival of gigantic proportions in this country. But this revival will touch all of life – but it will necessarily touch business and politics – not just the common masses.

I encourage you all to practice 1 Timothy. We pray because it pleases God. We pray so that we can lead quiet and peaceful lives. But we also pray because we want our leaders to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and thus come to a “knowledge of the truth”.

Bill English
CEO, Mindsharp
Associate, The Platinum Group

Pray without Ceasing – Hmmmm……….

I’m a firm believer in prayer – or am I? In 1 Thessalonians, Paul instructs us to “Pray without ceasing”. How often do I stop and do a formal prayer to God about my decisions or circumstances? Frankly, not often. Some days, I make numerous decisions. Other days, I make very few. In most of those decisions, I rely on the Holy Spirit to simply put a “check” (for lack of a better word) in my Spirit. Listening to that check is more important than what I say to God, IMHO. If I am to be a Christ-follower, then I’m the one who stops talking to God and I listen to what His direction is – then I follow it.

For example, I’ve been interviewing for an important position in my company. I have met with several individuals about coming on board to fill this position. After talking with one highly-qualified candidate who I’d really like to hire, I found myself getting that “check” in my spirit. That’s God telling me – don’t hire this individual. When I go to more formal prayer in the AM or at night, those checks are usually confirmed with more focused attention on listening to God.

Listening to God – it’s not hallucinations. It’s not delusional. But it is spiritual. Paul tells us that the man who isn’t regenerated in his spirit by God will find things like this foolish. OK. But if you’ve been regenerated through the Holy Spirit, this post will make sense, because you and I are now participating in the Divine nature – literally – our nature has been super-naturally transformed. In this context, prayer is more about my relationship with God than it is about what I say to make Him happy. Prayer is listening to God (Isaiah – “…and you will hear a voice behind you saying ‘ walk in this way’…”.

Can I listen without ceasing? You bet. Can I talk to God all day long – nope. I’ve got things to do. But I can listen. I can depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me as I go through my day and make decisions.

For those who read this blog and claim to be followers of Jesus Christ – I’ll implore you – listen to God throughout your day. You’ll be glad you did.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Advisors and Intercessors for Your Business

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

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.

 

Advisory Board

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:

  1. Be available to meet two times per year for a full day each time
  2. Hold everything you learn about our business in confidence
  3. 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.

 

Bill English
The Platinum Group
Bible and Business

image_pdf