The trend for starting a business is becoming quite popular among the Christian community. Of course, as a “Christian business” it is to be structured according to the ethical standards of Scripture. But what is the motivation and characteristic of a Christian business? How does a Christian business distinguish itself from any other business? Is what is considered a Christian business simply a business that prides itself on the Scriptural principles of honesty, integrity and fair pricing? If that is what determines the identity of a Christian business, then we might agree that those businesses are in fact Christian. But these traits alone what makes a business Christian?
When a Christian Business is Not a Christian Business
Most business entrepreneurs never go into business with the intention on ripping people off. They go into business to provide a skill or service that is unique, and which serves the local or global community in a way that can be profitable. All businesses exist to make a profit. Christian businesses are no exception nor should they be. But that should never be the end goal.
For any business to survive it must have an honest reputation for good and prompt service, a unique skill or talent which addresses a market need, competitive pricing, friendly customer relationships, and an overall ethical approach to business relations. But that, in and of itself, does not make the business Christian. Many businesses that do not claim the title “Christian” follow these principles. So what’s the difference?
A Family Business
Some Christian businesses are family owned and operated. This structure keeps the family together in a unified effort to support itself. It is then passed down to the next generation. While a worthy endeavor this, in and of itself, does not make the family business a Christian business. There are thousands of family owned and operated businesses that are distinctly not Christian. They are established in an effort to support the family and to hopefully pass it on to the next generation.
Another popular reason why some Christians start a business is so they can maintain their piety within the secular marketplace. They want to close on Sunday, maintain a customer base which conforms to their standard of ethics, or seek to shun any employment which mandates working for a non-Christian employer. But this does not make the business a Christian business. Many non-Christian individuals start businesses to be free from tyrannical employers. Some start a business to be more flexible with their work schedule or to pick and choose their customer base. But this does not make the company Christian. Starting a business and calling it “Christian” simply because the owners and employees are professing Christians does not make the business distinctly Christian.
The Distinguishing Marks of a Christian Business
There is a dramatic difference between a Christian owned business and a Christ Centered business. While the structure and the methodologies might be somewhat the same, the reason and motivation behind starting a Christ-o-centric business is vastly distinct.
A Christ-o-centric is Covenant based God ward. It is not motivated by personal goals or to maintain familial stability within the marketplace, but rather it is motivated by the Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1:28 and Deuteronomy 8:18.
Ge 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
De 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get
wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
The Christ-o-centric motivation is a result of the New Birth and the desire to “spend and be spent” for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, on earth in time and history. It is not about the self in anyway whatsoever. The reason, motivation, purpose and goal of a Christ-o-centric business focuses upon what the business can do for the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom and how it can fulfill the Covenant obligations which is Divinely imposed upon every believer.
How Does the Christ-o-centric Business Differ?
- A Christ-o-centric business seeks to maximize profits so they can support Christ-o-centric ministries in their efforts to build the Kingdom of God. The money generated by a Christ-o-centric business, after expenses and employee/owner support, is always being funneled to building God’s kingdom. Profits are not to be used for fancy cars, expansive vacations, bonuses or other frivolous expenditures.
- A Christ-o-centric business faithfully tithes to its church and then makes quarterly donations to a faithful para-church ministry of its choice from the business profits. The key distinction here is that monies earned by the business are targeted for the work of the Kingdom according to Deuteronomy 8.
- A Christ-o-centric business budgets a percentage of its profits for carefully chosen projects above and beyond the commanded tithe or quarterly donation. Support for the publishing of faithful theological books, Christian colleges, Christian political candidates, even the support of a local Christian newspaper can be part of a special project.
- A Christ-o-centric business also may see its way clear to expand into other areas in order to maximize profits for the express purpose of funding Christ’s Kingdom.There are many ways in which Christian businesses can transform themselves into Christ-o-centric businesses provided they have the right Christ Center motivation intact. Otherwise, they will simply be another business with a Christian name as an outward show without any depth of root.