Are Christian Business Principles Enough?
By Dave Kahle
Are you trying to embed Christian business principles into your business or career? Of so, good for you. But, are Christian Business Principles enough?
As a consultant and author, working primarily with sales forces, I’ve concluded that there is very little difference between Christian principles for salespeople and those employed by the best salespeople — regardless of their spiritual orientation. In other words, the principles that the best salespeople embed in their processes are the same principles taught in the Bible. The best salespeople are probably unaware of the Biblical source of the principles that work for them.
While that is true for salespeople, it is also true for businesses and businesspeople in general. Identify the cream of the crop and study the principles they embed into their businesses and careers, and you’ll discover they coincide very nicely with Biblical-based principles.
Integrity, doing unto others as you would have them do to you, honesty, caring for one another, etc. are characteristics of the best business cultures and solid business character. One can have a successful business by adhering to these and other Biblical principles, whether or not you make the Biblical connection.
And that creates a dilemma for the sincere Christian in the marketplace. Adhering to Christian principles doesn’t separate you from the mass of good businesses and productive careers. If you are serious about manifesting your Christian faith in the marketplace, then Christian principles are not enough. The next step in the development of a Christian business or a Christian career is to move from principles to practices.
First, a tangent
Now, before I unpack the idea of Christian business practices, let’s examine the assumption in the previous paragraph: “If you are serious about manifesting your Christian faith in the marketplace.”
Should you be serious about manifesting your Christian faith in the marketplace? Both the Bible as well as history shout a loud YES. Jesus did say,
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32, 33)
And the apostle Paul, writing in the book of Colossians, commanded “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
While this post is not designed to present the entire Biblical case for visibility in the marketplace, you can’t help but conclude from just these two passages that God wants His people to publicly acknowledge Him.
This is in spite of the vast majority of Christian businesspeople who have been taught that being active in their local institutional church is all that is required of a Christian. Christianity is for Sundays, and not for the rest of the week, or so the idea goes. This is, of course, one of Satan’s greatest lies. By promoting it from the pulpit and in countless other ways, he ensures that most Christian businesspeople will remain on the sidelines in the great struggle between good and evil. They are sidelined by a comfortable but debilitating belief. Because of that belief, millions of people who could have been exposed to the providential care and love of God, through the practices of a Christian in the workplace, were not. The cost in human souls over time and geography is immeasurable.
So, the idea of being “serious about manifesting your Christian faith in the marketplace” is not optional.
Principles or practices
While implementing Christian business principles is necessary for a Christian in the marketplace, it is not sufficient. It is a good starting point, but if you stop there, there will be no visible difference between you and other successful business efforts. To take it to the next level, you must embed Christian practices into your routines.
A principle is a big idea, often abstract, which can be applied in a number of situations. Here’s a dictionary definition: a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. So, for example, ‘operate with integrity” is both a Christian principle and a commonsense rule that can be applied in multiple situations.
A practice is a specific behavior, usually repeated regularly. Here are two helpful dictionary definitions:
- the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
.2. the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.
So, “caring for your employees or coworkers” is a Christian principle, but “regularly asking to pray for and with your employees or coworkers” is Christian business practice.
“Planning carefully” is a Christian principle, but “Praying before every planning meeting and asking the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the process” is a Christian business practice.
Because Christian business principles coincide with those practiced by the best companies, regardless of their spiritual orientation, one can hold to Christian business principles and be invisible as a Christian. However, you can’t hide under the radar screen if you entrench Christian practices into your routines. Moving from principles practices is a natural step in the development of fully formed, mature Christian business and effective Christian careers.
So, what are some Christian practices, and how do you expose yourself to them?
Our Biblical Business Course teaches a set of fundamental business practices to build the foundation for a viable, excellent Christian business. You can find a list of common Christian business practices here. Above and beyond that, understand that the list of Christian business practices is constantly evolving. A few years ago, no one thought of having a scripture verse on his//her screensaver, for example. Now, it is a common practice.
The best way to come into contact with an evolving set of Christian business practices is to subscribe to Christian business blogs, ezine and podcasts (like ours) and to join a small group of Christian businesspeople who share best practices among themselves. These groups are all around and range from casual local groups to national organizations. Chances are you know of someone in one of these groups who could introduce you. If not, email me with the word “Groups?” in the subject line, and I’ll send you some ideas.
With all the chaos in our world, millions of people are seeking a source of safety and security. By embedding Christian business practice into your routines, you point the way to the ultimate source.