Over the past several years, there has been a trend amongst Christian business writers towards ensuring that Christian values be woven into the business world. Due to this trend there has been an awareness, or perhaps an awakening, of the need for Christians to stop compartmentalizing their lives and leaving their beliefs at home or church to only be used on Sundays. I believe it has become apparent that Christian values have a specific purpose and can have a significant impact on the secular organization and on people.
Recently there have been many studies and books published on the topic of instructing Christians on how to go about integrating their faith into the workplace. Leaders such as Jeff Van Duzer, C. Gene Wilkes, and John Maxwell are just a few of these individuals that help Christians become more aware of what they could be doing for Christ in the marketplace. In addition to this, these authors also help Christians in business look beyond mere profit and to see that business can be an honorable vocation, just like their pastoral counterparts.
Christian Vision for Business
In fact, Christians in modern societies have a specific purpose and role to play in influencing people and ultimately organizations. In an article written by Nathan Mclellan (n.d.) in Business and Economy, titled “What is a Christian Vision for Business?” he states the following:
In modern societies a range of institutions, including the family, churches, other civil organizations, and the state, is required for humans to live in obedience to the cultural mandate and to find their fulfillment in relationships with God, other humans, and the rest of creation. In modern societies, however, businesses have a particular role to play in cultivating the gift of creation in order to make material provision for humanity. This task must not be separated from a Christian understanding of the human person and society.(n.d.)
I, along with other seminal writers, challenge Christian Business people to ask themselves, Is business just a way to make money? Or can the marketplace be a venue for service to others? Ask yourself, what implications does the Christian story have for the vision, mission or sense of purpose that shapes business engagement? Kenman Wong (2011) asks what parts of business can be affirmed and practiced “as is” and what parts need to be rejected or transformed? And what challenges exist as attempts are made to live out Christian ideals in a broken world characterized by tight margins, fierce competition and short-term investor pressures? Finally, ask, how are our Christian values used to inform and change areas of business?
Finally, ask, how are our Christian values used to inform and change areas of business?
Compartmentalizing in the Workplace
Many Christian businesspeople know of no other pattern but to split their vocation into two separate worlds: “Christian” and “businessperson.” The writings of Wong and Rae, Duzer, Wilkes and others provides a vast array of practical insight and theologically informed application to bridge these two worlds in the workplace.
If one lives a life that separates their Christian faith from other areas of their lives, integrating beliefs or faith into work can be difficult. But if we see no difference with what we do at church on Sunday or Wednesday and all the other days of the week, it becomes easy and takes no effort at all. If anything, it will take restraint.
One action at a time with all focus on promoting our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
A Christian vision of the marketplace is all about discovering how each of us can be used in the marketplace to serve God through serving others, through providing opportunities for growth for others and through preaching the gospel through our actions in the office, the division and the boardroom. The same as the preacher who stands behind the pulpit or on the church steps, we stand in the halls of government, in boardrooms, town hall meetings and any forum that we are afforded to make a difference for Christ and that’s how we begin changing the market place, one action at a time with all focus on promoting our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
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