Thursday, July 1, 2010

Business as Mission: Not an Either Or Strategy

It’s deeply embedded into our evangelical worldview that business and mission are like oil and water…they don’t mix.

I know because even though I am a big proponent of business as mission and have spent the last 11 years running a faith venture organization, I still find myself, at times, subconsciously dividing the two and thinking that business is business and ministry is ministry.

Last week, I participated in a business leader forum and heard another Christ-follower lamenting about how his business goals seem less spiritual than the mission goals he aspires to in his business. Yet, in his view, the business goals are more important to the survival of his business than any other activity.

For followers of Christ, the reality is that the imaginary dividing wall that we sometimes try to erect between life and faith has been torn down. Business activities can reflect God’s will if they are done with great faith.

I have always been drawn to business entrepreneurialism because I like starting things. Indeed, one of the best characteristics of business is its creative nature. Businesses are about creating opportunity by meeting needs through goods and services. So at the very heart of business is the creative spark with which God has imbued humans.

I think God smiles when we create because He is the author of creation. And as image bearers of God, we are most human when we create and it becomes an act of worship toward the God that created us.

We diminish God’s purposes when we dismiss the worthiness of business as not spiritual enough. If God called us to create though business then we are bringing him the most glory when we use those gifts to our greatest abilities. And, if in the process of creating or growing a business, we strive to live day to day as an example of the gospel in action then we have mastered what it means to do business as ministry.

Today, our culture collectively has a heightened hypocrisy meter that goes off when our actions conflict with our professions of faith. Never underestimate the power of simply living out our faith in action over the long haul instead of attempting to live only by our words.

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