What Is A Christian Business?

Christian businessRecently, I have had multiple opportunities to answer the question, “What is a Christian business?” In fact, in a couple of days I will have my very first opportunity to teach an conference of business owners and professionals about taking their faith to their workplace.

Do you want to know the cool thing about this opportunity? The audience will be in India and we will be communicating via Skype!

Christian Business Defined?

In preparation for this conference, I have been working on my definition of a Christian business. While I am not an expert, I have spent the past eight years trying to answer the question and live it out. I have read what the Bible has to say about it, as well as many books that reference the Bible. I have learned from others that are living their faith through their businesses. I have also learned from my own mistakes and disappointments.

Rather than try to relay everything I have learned about defining Christian business (and taking the next several hours of your time!), I will try to give you the basics. I do not pretend that this is an exhaustive definition. Nor do I claim that I am the authority and cannot be questioned. I am simply a disciple that is learning as I go. This is what I have so far:

6 Characteristics of a Christian Business

1. God owns the earth and everything in it.

    This includes all animals, all plants, and even all businesses. In my opinion, the first step of a Christian business is to acknowledge this fact and submit the leadership of the business to God’s direction.

2. God’s economy operates from an eternal perspective.

    God’s economy does not operate from a 30 day picture (or quarterly or annual either). Therefore, a Christian business operates from an eternal perspective – choosing eternal impact over financial results. Obviously, no business can exist by ignoring financial results, but by operating on God’s principles first, both can be achieved.

3. Christian business does not guarantee prosperity.

    Despite TV preachers telling you otherwise, dedicating your business to God will not guarantee you financial success. Though God promises to honor our efforts if we dedicate them to Him (Psalm 37:5-6), He does not say when this will happen. His time frame is not ours. We may expect our reward while we are honoring Him, but He may not bring it to life for 100 years. We honor Him for who He is, not for what it will bring us.

4. The mission of the Christian business lines up with Scripture.

    The Greatest Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) are commands, not suggestions. Therefore, I believe the Christian business should have a mission that reflects these commands.

5. A Christian business exists and operates in the “world.”

    It employs believers and non-believers alike. It ministers to both, as well as customers and the community, in the normal course of doing business. This ministry takes on a variety of looks!

6. A Christian business will fulfill us.

    Quite simply, we are designed to be fulfilled through our relationship with God. Period. If we try to separate our work from that relationship in the hopes that we will get a different, material fulfillment, then we are sadly mistaken. Read Ecclesiastes for more on this. On the other hand, even the most menial work, if done unto God, will bring fulfillment we cannot imagine.

To me, these are basic characteristics of a “Christian” business. I believe this can be done in a tasteful and practical way, without using a bullhorn (consider Chick-Fil-A). Of course, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. But in the end, I believe the fruit that is produced by this kind of business will survive the fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15).

What are your thoughts about these characteristics?

What would you add? What would you eliminate? Why?

How close is your business to exhibiting these characteristics?


Similar Posts:

Print Friendly

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Send Gmail Post to StumbleUpon

, , , , , , , , , , ,

  • RAJEEV

    We Are Looking Forward to Hear From You Here in INDIA on 5th MAY , This Meeting WillTransform Work and the Marketplace , Praying For You .GOD BLESS YOU GOD BLESS YOU

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Rajeev,

      I am looking forward to it as well!

      Chris

  • http://www.shalom-candles.co.uk Florence Ukpabi

    This is a great post, very clear and concise – simple truths that we should all strive to adopt.  I particularly related to point 6, I think anything we do for God should be based on His reason for creating us, this is the only way it can truly fulfil us.

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Thanks Florence! I appreciate that!

  • Dwayne Castle

    Great topic. I am a Christian comedian and I belong to a group of other Christian comedians who can’t come to a complete agreement on what a Christian comedian is. Do we only perform in churches? Do we only use comedy to preach the gospel from the stage? Do we take Jesus into bars and clubs and if so, how do we show Him to others? The view points are endless. I used to be a police officer who “happened” to be a Christian. Now, I am a Christian, who uses comedy, among other methods, to evangelize. Sometimes overtly and sometimes, by “being” a reflection of His light. Thanks for the post, its a good self evaluator.

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Dwayne. I am glad it helped!

  • http://dbartosik.com/ David Bartosik

    1. God owns the earth and everything in it….pretty much sums it up right?  Found you on twitter and glad I did.  Great post Chris!

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      That’s really all we need to know, right? Well, I would probably add that He loves us! NOW, that’s all we need to know!

      Glad we have connected! I spent a couple of minutes on your blog and marked it for more future reading. I am looking forward to doing so.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you return and give me your feedback!

      • http://dbartosik.com/ David Bartosik

        thanks Chris- great addition! And you know I will be back. I was in sales (ministry) for 3 years and think of that as a great value to life in church (ministry). I went to Biola in SoCal where there was a huge emphasis on business as ministry and rightly so. Keep doing it for the glory of God Chris and I look forward to checking great content on your site as well.

        • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

          Thanks David.

  • Pingback: 11 Killer Resources For Free Christian Leadership Material - Christian Faith At WorkChristian Faith At Work

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Thanks Demario! I appreciate your comments. I look forward to spending some time on your blog as well.
    Chris Patton

  • Pingback: A God-Honoring Decision Making Process, Pt 2 - Christian Faith At Work

  • Pingback: Christian Business: Three Ways to Integrate Your Faith into Your Business

  • Pingback: Are You Living The Truth You Know? | Christian Faith At Work

  • Pingback: My First International Christian Business Conference! - Christian Faith At Work