by Mike Sharrow
I have an allergic reaction to the common dilemma of the “success to significance” paradigm, as if a follower of Jesus could be “successful” for 20 years and then “make up lost time” being “significant” for a latter period. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Jesus in Mark 8:37 says “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
Beyond our careers, in the businesses we lead, the same tension must be worked out as well. Is it a business that funds ministry? Is it a ministry that does some business to pay the bills? Is that perhaps a false dichotomy? Is there a “tertium quid” resolution of tension in doing business AS ministry for the entrepreneur who is primarily a citizen of the Kingdom of God? I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t call any part-time disciples and the Great Commission seemed to have an “all y’all, right now” implication for every one of us.
I often find entrepreneurs bouncing off the ditches on both sides of that question. For the excited “faith driven” leaders, it’s easy to let unbridled zeal birth what we call “sloppy agape” where trying to BE and DO everything themselves. They try to be the pastor to every staff member, leading every charity project, assuming the role of Bible Answer Guru, and save the world. It can be perilous, prideful, and flat out ineffective! Just like an entrepreneur must learn to scale by developing, deploying, and delegating to leaders, the faith-driven entrepreneur must devise systems and strategies to scale and reflect the Kingdom of God throughout the business beyond themselves.
We have found there are a few things that can create “hyper growth” of Gospel impact through a business that a leader holds the keys to. These include some simple (yet uncommon) things like:
having a personal discipline of being with God (the true owner)
crafting a culture that sets the stage for ongoing ministry (case study)
utilizing chaplaincy and having a strategic plan for ministry integration.
Having professional, third party people available and present with your people, accessible 24/7. Is it realistic to think your customer service agent is going to seek you out to get counsel on navigating an addiction, an aspiring exec team member divulge a gambling debt, a remote employee call their boss’s boss to express anger at God rooted at the loss of a loved one? Chaplains can be game changers!
Not only is it good ministry, it’s good business! Many companies have “EAP” benefit which are rarely utilized and lack an eternal perspective. Engagement with chaplains is exponentially higher and drives eternal outcomes. So much so, we worked with some friends to put together the attached ebook on the ROI of Workplace Chaplaincy!
Strategic care strategies (case study) drive turnover down, increase engagement, foster healthy teams and drives real results. We see 2-2.5X the ministry fruitfulness in companies where chaplaincy is engaged versus all of the right programs/elements without chaplains.
At our 2019 global conference (“Current ’19”) we’ll be recognizing a CEO of a publicly-traded company who through decades of workplace chaplains will have seen 10,000 people come to saving faith in Jesus at work. 10,000, in 1 company, in 1 country, in 1 lifetime. It’s often about what happens when you have a crisis (powerful example), but often about the daily care you may never know about.
Good ministry is often good business. For a faith-driven entrepreneur, can it be a “good business” if it is not a God-honoring, Kingdom-proclaiming, Gospel-expressing, eternally significant goodness?
A friend running a small company of 16 employees hired chaplains at my encouragement. He was cynical as it was a small shop and he knew everyone – even their spiritual condition. At the 6 month mark he received his first chaplaincy engagement report, which reflected 3 Salvations. He knew it – “this is a sham!” There were not 3 lost people on the team and he had heard NO reports of an employee coming to Christ. He demanded an explanation of the data from the area chaplain director. “Certainly, you see, an employee called our chaplain for a family distress situation and the chaplain went to their home. The chaplain ended up leading the spouse and 2 teenage children to Christ through the process. It wasn’t what happened here where you see it, sir, but what happened where you don’t and when you couldn’t.”
additional blog by Mike Sharrow - “Beyond God Bless You and Merry Christmas” (an FDE Top 10 read)