The Church and the World of Business

John ArmstrongCulture, Leadership, Lordship of Christ, Wealth

I have personally engaged in a number of attempts to connect the field of business with the redemptive mission of Christ. The typical evangelical approach to applying one’s faith to vocational activity is admittedly facile. It primarily emphasizes personal piety and evangelism within the workplace rather than a genuinely kingdom centered perspective regarding divine calling, or vocation. This approach is utterly inadequate in transforming culture or in effectively bearing witness to the in-breaking of God’s reign in Christ.

images What is needed is for men and women in the world of business to see their activity as a redemptive instrument in service of the kingdom. This is scarcely heard of in modern evangelicalism, much less encouraged. In fact, most churches and pastors have little or no idea how to actually do this in practice. Business leaders seem to threaten many pastors if the truth is known. This is why I find serious business leaders checking out on the local church again and again. They are not giving up on Christ and the kingdom, just on the way the church fails to engage with them in the context in which they are called to live as entrepreneurs and leaders. A lot of new, creative thinking and teaching is needed to help make this happen. This is why I thank God for the initiatives of many who do teach in this area.

What is required is a radically different business model that will take the kingdom seriously and then emphasize the faith element required to live humbly for Christ. This approach would very likely be seen as foolishness in the hard-hitting context of secular business. Christian business leaders—who have up to this point been largely dormant or misguided—need to become deeply involved in advancing Christ’s kingdom or one of our most important means for transformation will be lost.

My friend Michael Craven has written: “Given the influence upon our culture, if not the world, that American business wields; I could think of no greater need.” I agree, I can think of “no greater need,” at least in the everyday world of business and making money. When will the church get into the world of business and make disciples who can transform this sphere of human endeavor?