Who is influencing whom?

It has come up a few times in recent weeks how my work life and my church life are overlapping. In most cases, it has to do with concepts around leadership, but it causes me to stop and think about how many churches operate like a business. This is a huge topic that I don’t feel like getting into here because in many ways they have to: finances/stewardship, facilities management, organizational structure, etc. A simple stroll through the bookstore (read: scroll through Amazon.com) turns up a plethora of books about how to use core business concepts in how a church operates. The one that comes to mind is an addendum to Jim Collins’ awesome book, Good to Great called Good to Great and the Social Sectors. Shouldn’t it be the other way around though? Shouldn’t the Church be influencing the business world?

Doing Business by the Good Book

This concept isn’t new. The owner of WWT, Dave Steward, wrote a book called Doing Business by the Good Book (read: reason #1 I love my job). However, imagine if in the same way that if you seek first the Holy Spirit and the fruit come naturally, what would happen if you put Biblical concepts into practice in your business? What if you centered your core values around God’s promises? What if you served your customers in the same way churches serve the community? What does success look like then? Is it measured in dollars or influence? Is it measured in customer satisfaction or changed lives?

What does this even look like?

Marketers love the buzzword-worthy phrase “customer evangelists.” Pretty apparent where that concept came from. Although, I should mention that they don’t mean [insert product here]-thumping cram-it-down-your-throat street preachers. They mean people who are passionate about their product/company who spread the news by word-of-mouth.  (If you don’t know what a passionate community of information-sharers looks like and you are an active member of a church, maybe you need to re-examine your church’s priorities.)

Imagine a company like the church in Acts, where everyone drops everything to help those in need. Think of a time you were failing at the office. Did everyone rally around you or did they kick you while you were down? Nine times out of ten, I’d put money on the latter.

I could go on and on, but I won’t bore the two or three of you that read this (including me). Just think about it.

Quick Update

I wanted to clarify something based on feedback I’ve received. I don’t mean to be explicit in the influence. While perfectly reasonable, I wouldn’t expect you to provide scripture references in your corporate goals or be outright confrontational in your “evangelism”. The intent is to examine the underlying influence and allow your inner spirit to naturally affect your everyday life and work. It can’t be forced or manufactured, just as the fruit of the Spirit can’t be produced without the Spirit. If it is, you’re doing it wrong.

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