At ECCU, we’re not just a bank, but your ministry partner. Wait—ministry? Yes, business is ministry! While our primary aim is to guide you in your organization’s financial decisions, we also want to resource you with valuable content that will help you pursue the mission of your business AND the ministry God has called you to. This includes providing relevant information on today’s changing ministry landscape that will prepare you to lead well into the future. As Christian business leaders, we have the opportunity to pave the way for what it looks like to lead and run a business with God at the center.
In today’s world, there is a growing acceptance among business leaders everywhere of the need to expand “shareholder value” beyond profit, embracing sustainability, employee care, and purpose. Building a more “responsible corporate capitalism” has become a global topic as a growing number of consumers put increasing pressure on brands to give back and make the world a better place. Business leaders are being forced to develop new playbooks that elevate ethical business practices and integrate “doing good” into their plans.
As followers of Jesus who build and lead businesses, we should understand the broader concept of shareholder value and responsible capitalism. We should be on the leading edge of “servant leadership” and “brand citizenship” because they reflect the values we hold most dear. As the larger world migrates toward biblical values and ethics, Christian business leaders have a significant opportunity to not only affirm these new trends but be leaders of them, demonstrating to the world how to live in the tension of:
- Purpose and profit
- Stakeholder needs and shareholder obligations
- Humility and hubris
- Charity and wealth
- Family and work
- Love and competition
Great Christian business leaders glorify God through the decisions they make. They develop guiding principles that shape behavior, give them a true north, and ultimately shape the culture of their organizations. They:
- Acknowledge God in the process and the product. The Christian business leader does not merely earn profits to later give as an offering; they understand that their work is as much an offering to God as the end result.
- Pray for the competition not just for customers. In a competitive landscape, leaders can easily demonize, undermine, and even sabotage their market opponents. Jesus told us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). We should pray for the very people who would seek to put us out of business.
- Serve their people, not just their bottom line. Jack Welsh is one of the most celebrated business leaders of our time. He famously drew his organization chart with the customer at the top, then front-line employees…and finally the CEO at the bottom. While Jack didn’t profess Jesus, even non-Christian leaders understand that great leaders serve and care for their teams.
- Integrate Christian faith with daily business practices. From finance to product development to people management, business practices should reflect the Gospel.
It’s ironic that as the business world moves closer and closer to Biblical values, Christianity no longer exercises a position of social majority and culture is quickly secularizing. As we head faster and faster into post-Christendom, there has never been a better time for Christian business leaders to tell their story, intentionally shape their brands through the culture of their leaders, and grow their influence through the powerful digital platforms of today. If Christians want to be part of Jesus’ revolution, they need to implement that revolution where people spend their waking hours—at work. As we get that right, Christian business leaders will have more influence than most pastors.