Business As Mission

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For many years, I thought it was more holy and glorifying to God to be a full-time elder or pastor than to run a business or be a paid professional manager.

To be sure, you can do much good as a full-time elder and pastor and we support our church’s full-time staff who can devote their attention and time to the matters of the church.  But those in business and employment, if it is God’s will for them, are able to glorify God just as much.

In his book “Business as Mission”, Michael R Baer presented his thesis that business is not something which you can use for mission but it is a mission itself.

His mission statement states that his business exists to further the expansion of theKingdomofGodamong the unreached through the “seamless integration of business as mission”.

Michael traced the four phases through which a business may pass on its journey:

  1. Separation

    Christians with such a mindset attend church on Sunday and may serve on other days of the week in church-related activities.  But the thought of bringing their faith into their professional lives never crossed their minds.  These Christians are genuine believers but they simply do not see any connection between their Christianity and their business lives.  Their businesses or jobs exist to provide them a living and enable them to give to the Lord’s work but their view of the Lord’s work is centred on the church.

  2. Invasion

    These Christians view the business world as “of the world” and, therefore, basically evil.  They realise they are in it and are committed to bring Christ into the “darkness of business”.  These are the men and women who view the church as the centre of light and the business is the centre of darkness.  Their mission is to foray from the church into business as a kind of evangelical raiding party.  It is a kind of contest they must endure because they are in business and not “in the ministry”.

  3. Overlay

    The word “overlay” is used figuratively as in wood being overlaid with gold or silver.  The Christian who is an overlayer gilds the company with Christianity and considers it more attractive or beautiful.

    Overlayers use Christian words, give generously from their profits, seek to treat employees well and offer Bible studies and prayer meetings for workers.  They sincerely seek to bring Christ into their businesses.  But the business is still considered wood, not considered truly good in and of itself.

  4. Seamless Integration

    Seamless integration means that multiple substances are joined together so that no future separation is possible.

    Every aspect of the Christian’s life – home, church, leisure and business – is under the rule of God.  Everything is part of God’s Kingdom and subject to God’s reign.  These Christians walk with God from the prayer closet to the breakfast table, to the office, sales call, or factory.  Life is a whole and is holistically submitted to God.  There is no sacred and secular dichotomy.  There is no business and ministry dichotomy.  Business is a venue for service, just as family, church and community are.

Church members may presently see themselves in one of these four phases – separation, invasion, overlay and seamless integration.

As we seek to be more effective witnesses, let us do the following:

  1. Seek to work for our clients and staff wholeheartedly as for the Lord (Ephesians 6:5-7)
  2. Spend much time in prayer for our clients and staff and our Kingdom impact on them.
  3. Encourage one another to live lives that invite inquiry (1 Peter 3:15)
  4. Provide ministry to everyone with whom we work.

The best form of personal witnessing is through your life and sharing in the context of your employment.  It starts with the belief that you are God’s appointed witness in your firm and your position.

We have to obey the Great Commission which emphasises the role of each and every Christian as the sent ones.