Defining a Christian business
Obviously, there is no such thing as a Christian business. A business is a legal entity, such as a corporation, partnership, or proprietorship and, as such, has no spirit or soul. It may, however, reflect the values of the principal owners or managers. It is the reflection of these values that determines whether a business is labeled Christian or non-Christian.
The Functions of a Business
One of the prime considerations in determining whether a business is being used to serve God is the policies governing the day-to-day actions. If a Christian is truly committed to Jesus Christ and to serving His purposes, the business will be run according to His principles and precepts. There are five basic business functions that comprise the activities of a Christian business.
Function 1: Evangelism
Evangelism is sharing Christ’s message of salvation with the lost. There is no tool more effective for evangelism than a business dedicated to the Lord. Not only can employees be won by a dedicated owner or manager but, similarly, so can suppliers, creditors, and customers.
Function 2: Discipleship
Discipleship is training Christians to grow stronger in their faith. In business, this effort should be directed by the owners or managers to employees who are immediately under their authority. Then those employees will be able to disciple others.
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). If your managers are not saved, you simply back up to Function 1.
Function 3: To fund God’s work
A business is the best tool ever created for funding God’s work. A properly run business can generate excess capital and still continue its day-to-day operations. There are many creative ways to use these funds.
Obviously, giving to your church and to ministries is good and necessary to do God’s work, but there are many ministries available within the business itself. For instance, several Christian businesses have hired counselors who work with employees who have personal problems.
Many businesses have funds available for needy employees. Others provide audio tape or CD lending libraries and books as internal ministries to employees.
Function 4: To provide for needs
A business must provide for the needs of the employees, creditors, customers, and owners. This is done by paying salaries, paying for supplies and equipment in a timely fashion, and providing a quality product at a fair price.
Function 5: To generate profits
Any business must be able to make a profit if it is to continue operations. Sometimes Christians seem to believe that God will bless them supernaturally, even if they ignore every pretense of good management. If you believe that, you haven’t studied God’s Word very thoroughly.
God’s Word directs us to think and plan. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Many Christians in business claim to operate by faith when, instead, they are being slothful. “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat” (Proverbs 13:4). We are to be active.
The purpose of a Christian’s business is to glorify God. The day-to-day functions are the things we do to accomplish that purpose. No single function is more or less important, and each must be done with excellence. When Christians are truly committed to Jesus Christ and to serving God’s purposes, their businesses will be blessed.
Originally posted 6/5/2011.