You don’t need to compromise your morals or act ruthless to be successful in business. There are many Christians who are succeeding in business without compromising their values.

Thanks to SmartandRelentless for sharing this wisdom.

You don't need to compromise your Christian values to grow a successful business. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

A Question of Biblical Values

biblical values in businessWhen we talk about business, we talk about mission statements and value statements. Yet, we forget the foundational values of the Christian business owner based on God’s word.

We talked about the action of integrity and the decision of character.  Today, I want to get into the values found in God’s word.

Biblical values are the core beliefs that guide everything we do in life and business as a Christian. . . or at least they should be.

Instead of listing all the values we can find in God’s word let’s look at a good and bad example of using values from God’s word.

Let’s start with the bad.  There was a time, horrible as it was, when people used God’s word to force others into slavery.  They took the Bible out of context to fit what they wanted in this life.  They distorted God’s word to suit their needs.  Honestly, there are some churches that exist today that distort God’s word to make life comfortable for them or miserable for others.  That is not and has never been what God’s word is about!

Now the good.  I could recount hundreds of personal stories and all kinds of business stories I have read about God’s word impacting lives.  I could talk a bunch about Zig Ziglar who built an ’empire’ based on Christian values.  He is famous for saying, ‘You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  I heard him say he got that right out of God’s word.   He ran his business and his life on the Golden Rule. (Here’s a great interview with Zig about his faith.)

Christian values simply means we are basing our lives on the Bible.  We have a foundation to God’s word that undergirds. . . upholds or braces…our entire life.  We use God’s word as the ‘glasses’ by which we see the world.  They tell us how we worship God, treat people, and interact with the world we live in.

The only way we can live by God’s word is to know what is says.  2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us that we must “correctly handle the word of truth.”

As Christian entrepreneurs, we must understand God’s word foundationally.  We must dig down deep into the solid foundational truth of what God says.  If God does not directly state a fact, we must be cautious to tread where only angels dare walk.

The Bible is not a convenient book.  It is however a book that will shape your life and your business in ways that will stand the test of time.  I think back to Zig Ziglar.  He left this world and what he built still stands and still grows because he based his entire concept of life on God’s word.

How good is your biblical understanding of God’s word?  How much do you really know about what the Bible says about business?  How much time do you spend digging into God’s word to find how He wants you to run your business and live your life?

If you need some help getting started, we have a free membership to help you get a strong foundation to what God says about the Bible.  If you would rather, I have a 10 minute webinar that helps you understand how to understand the Bible better.

Whatever you do, take action.

I urge you, plead you!  Until we dig into God’s word and apply His principles to our business and personal lives, Christians will never be respected as the Children of God we are called to be.  Do something TODAY, Christian!

 

Biblical values are the core beliefs that guide everything we do in life and business as a Christian. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

 

Here’s some additional reading:

A Question of Character

business characterWhile integrity is something people see through actions, character is what arises beyond those actions and causes the decision to act with integrity.  It is something that comes from the core of who we are.

In our last article we defined integrity as treating others as anything less than valuable children of God.  Let’s try to nail down character in the same way.

Character is the internal driving decision to act with integrity.

Character is internal and never changes.  Having a high character does not mean you always do the right thing, we all mess up.  It means that you always strive to do the right thing no matter how you feel, how someone treats you or how the circumstances look.

One of the questions we had in the article on integrity was: Do you pay what you should pay even if you are charged a different price from a supplier?

Character is what it takes to notice the difference.  Most people would write it off as getting a good deal, but a person of character would make the call and verify the price.

Another question was: Do you show up when you say you will show up even if an emergency pops up?  This one is a tough one, but let’s identify character.

Character takes the moment the emergency arises and communicates to all outstanding responsibilities.  In other words, you would still be a person of integrity if you did not make the meeting if you called and explained the situation to the person you were meeting before the meeting actually takes place.

Integrity would make the meeting.  Character takes care of the emergency and communicates value to responsibilities outside of the emergency.  Character prioritizes while still handling responsibilities and the emergencies.

I guess you could say that integrity is the action and character is the decision that initiates the right action.  We have to become aware of what the right thing is to do and then our integrity comes out to make it happen.

Some people will say that character and integrity are the same.  That is fine.  But if you dig into the word origins you can see a difference. “Integrity” comes from the word ‘in tact” or “complete.” “Character” comes from a word that describes a stamping tool and means “a distinctive mark.”

As Christians, we are set apart and called to a higher purpose.  We act with a high moral character no matter what this fallen world throws at us. Character is the root of integrity, and ultimately, the internal drive that makes integrity possible.

 

 

Character is the internal driving decision to act with integrity. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

 

Other reading on character

A Question of Integrity

business integrityWe are going to talk about attitude.  One of the first things we talk about as Christian entrepreneurs is integrity.

Integrity is one of those things that you know it when you see it, but it is hard to really nail down.

I want to make it as simple as possible and define integrity with a question and break that down into a statement:

Do you do what you say you will do? But, it does not stop there.  Anything less than valuing others as children of God is a loss of integrity.

With that simple definition in mind, let’s branch out on the various edges of the question and really ask yourself how your level of integrity is doing:

  • Do you give the highest quality to your customers as promised, even if it cost you a bit extra?
  • Do you do your best to get your products to your customers as expected and quickly fix any problems by going above and beyond to make up any errors?
  • Do you pay the extra hours when an employee forgets to put them on their time card even though you know he/she worked additional hours?
  • Do you pay what you should pay even if you are charged a different price from a supplier?*
  • Do you show up when you say you will show up even if an emergency pops up?*

*We will talk about character in our next article.

Integrity is something that Christian business owners should be known for.  A customer should never feel ripped off or slighted.  They should never feel that advertising and marketing leads them astray.  They should never feel like the business treats them anything less than a valuable child of God.

Anything less than valuing others as children of God is a loss of integrity. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur #Integrity Click To Tweet

 

Here are a Couple of Interesting Reads on Integrity:

Grow Wealth Biblically

grow-wealth-biblicallyHow to grow wealth biblically from Proverbs

I get asked if God wants us to grow our money.  My answer is always “yes.” If God placed you in a business, He has done so with a purpose.  Your purpose is to help others and add value to the world.

The caveat is that God wants us to grow in a way that we are able to handle the money that He gives us.  In other words, we must grow in our knowledge of money in order to make our money grow and be able to properly manage it.

You have probably heard of the stories about people who win the lottery or get big sums of money only to lose it all and be right back to square one?  Many have none of that money left and are actually in a worse place after having lots of money. Most of them return to where they were financially within a year or two.

In high school, I had a teacher who I found out had won the lottery a few years earlier.  You would think he would quit and live off the money, but he did not manage it right.  Sure, he drove a Jaguar, but he was forced to work each and every day of his life just to maintain a basic standard of living.  He even started a side business to try to gain money again.  Last time I checked, he was still a teacher.

(Note: Teaching is an honorable profession.  Personally, I think good teachers should be paid more.  This teacher did not teach because he loved students.  He taught because he had to after losing his fast gained wealth.)

Here’s our proverb for today:

Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

We talked yesterday about how we lose our money, it dwindles away especially quick if it is earned dishonestly.  We are always having to watch our backs and cover our trails when we act deceptively.  However, that is not what God wants for us.

As believers, God wants us to be blessed.  Blessing does not just mean money.  It means family, friends, community and an ever growing relationship with Him.  We get involved in church and we give as needed.  Living a life of blessing is about being able to help when we want and letting God get all the glory.

Proverbs 28:8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor  amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

God does not want us to give all of our money away.  He wants us to be kind to the poor and not take advantage, but our money is meant to do good. We are meant to care for our family.  As business owners, we are meant to pay fair (above average) wages.  We are meant to care for our community and get involved.

Proverbs 13:11 talks about gathering money little by little.  We will never get wealthy by how much money we spend.  We won’t get wealthy by gambling, begging or stealing.  We get wealthy by how much money we earn, keep and use properly.

Wealth is an ever growing balance of earning diligently, spending wisely, and giving cheerfully.

Look at your budget.  Break down how much you spend on entertainment (movies, cable, etc.), going out to eat versus eating at home, giving to church, saving, etc.  Where does your checkbook say your priorities are?

Let me just say, if you spend more money on entertaining than you do for God, something is not working in your budget. Checkbooks are the truest test of where you place your priorities. Doing a quick evaluation of your budget will show where your priorities lie.

If you want to be wealthy learn to manage money.  Increase your financial education and learn to use money properly.  Grow it little by little by adding value to the world. Then, when you begin earning, learn to give and help others.  This helps us keep money in perspective and think more eternally about our wealth.

 

Wealth is a balance of earning diligently, spending wisely, and giving cheerfully. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

lose-wealth-biblicallyHow to lose your wealth biblically from Proverbs

We are often afraid of losing our money.  We are afraid of taking risks and sometimes that keeps us from making good decisions.

It’s all about perspective.  If we know God is in charge of things, why don’t we listen to Him when it comes to our money?

Let’s look at the biblical way you can lose your money.

Proverbs 28:8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor  amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

There is nothing wrong with earning an interest from our money, the issue is taking advantage of the poor.  God cares for His people and He will help those who are helping His people.  He wants us to earn money in a way that helps others.  If we are charging crazy interest rates, then we are taking advantage.

Imagine if there was a credit card company or a bank that was run on Christian values?  They would charge a fair interest and it would be spread among other Christians leaders who are able and willing to take a little bit of mitigated risk to help other Christians with their financing.

Here are a couple of other Proverbs that warn us about how we can lose our money:

Proverbs 1:19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;    it takes away the life of those who get it.

Proverbs 11:18 A wicked person earns deceptive wages,  but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

Proverbs 21:6 A fortune made by a lying tongue   is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare

The quickest way to lose your money is to live outside of biblical integrity.  When we step outside of God’s will for our lives, we step into a world that is looking to devour us.  God wants us to live above reproach.

We must not be lie, cheat or swindle.  We must not steal, kill or destroy for money.  We must live our life and run our business on our values.  We must do the right thing no matter how much it hurts.

In the long run, living by our values will always bring us closer to God and His blessings.  If you want to grow your money, do it the honest, hard-working, smart way.  Follow God and His principles and He will never lead you astray.

The quickest way to lose your money is to live outside of biblical integrity. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Christians grow business3 Reasons Christians should grow a business

I think Christians miss out on many blessings because they are not willing to step out and take chances.  Whether it is witnessing to a friend, or growing a business, Christians should be bold about their faith in a God who gave them wisdom, courage and strength.

Today, let’s talk about three reasons Christians should grow their business.  I am sure there are those that say, “We’ll just wait for God to grow our business.”  I want to make sure you understand that waiting on God is a good thing.  Waiting without taking action is not wise.  God does not steer a parked car.

 

Growing a business means helping more people.

First and foremost, your business is helping people.  You want to help people with your product or service.  Beyond that you are helping your employees, your community and your family by providing for them.  When you grow your business wisely, you are helping an ever increasing number of people.

 

Growing a business means you are becoming more influential.

As your business grows, you become more influential and more people will listen to you.  They will see you as a success and you will have a larger platform to tell them of the blessings that you have received from God.  Don’t discount success as a means to introduce people to Christ.

 

Growing a business is the most spiritual thing you can do as a business owner.

This may sound counterintuitive, but I want to put this in perspective.  Growing your business gives you a larger platform from which to share about God.  People listen to people who are successful and it allows you to impact their lives.

When you succeed, people look at your habits and want to copy what you do.  The reason growing your business is such a spiritual endeavor is because you are reading your Bible, actively getting involved in church, leading others, serving, and giving.  People will see that you are living a life of integrity because ultimately God is your CEO.

 

Conclusion

I am not going to pretend growing a business in and of itself is spiritual.  What makes is spiritual is the enlivened power of God working in and through your business.

Remember the prayer of Jabez?  “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” I Chronicles 9:10

God did not bless Jabez just because he asked.  God blessed him because He knew Jabez would be an influential person who would speak for the King of Kings.  The Bible says his influence came from his honor and that honor was directly rooted in the power of God.

Christian, I want to encourage you to grow your business.  If you need some help, get involved with our growth membership and get on the right path or at least find a mentor or accountability partner that can help you grow. We grow best when we grow together strengthening and encouraging one another.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Growing a business is the most spiritual thing you can do as a business owner. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

This video is a great conversation about how to view money and business.  It is simple when you put your life in perspective.

Too often we listen to media to tell us if we are in a recession or if things are good or bad. Make your own decision. I heard Zig Ziglar say, “We heard there was a recession and we chose not to participate.”

As a Christian business owner, you have the ability to help people in any economy. Seek God for His wisdom in your buisness and take action when He says.

Look at Joseph in the seven years of famine. He prepared a way to protect everyone under his care including his brothers who sold him into slavery. God was with Him and He is with you too!

 

It's not about the money, it's about the relationships. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

reasons Christians fail in businessAfter studying a lot of businesses over the years, I have pinned down three main reasons Christians are not growing in their business.

Let me warn you.  I am not writing to offend anyone.  I am writing based on seeing what is working in business in the lives of Christian entrepreneurs.

Take time to read each of these. Don’t just read the title and skim the rest.  Read the meat of the story.  Only when Christian business owners dig into their faith can they dig into the blessings of God for their lives and their busiensses.

 

 

Christian Business Failure #1: Prayer is not integral to the business

We touched base on this in our previous article, but I want to take it a step further.  Let me start by telling you a story.

I was working as a minister at a church.  While leaving one day there was a lady in the parking lot, chain smoking.  She looked up at me and with a straight face said, “I’m praying that God will deliver me from smoking.”  I replied, “It might help if you stop buying cigarettes.”

I have no doubt God can deliver people from all kinds of habits, but we must take action.  We can’t just sit in our office and wait for God to bless us, we have to get out there and see the opportunities that God provides.  We can only do that when we have a constant, consistent prayer conversation with the God of the universe.

I know people who get up at three in the morning to pray for an hour.  That is awesome!  But don’t let it stop there.  Let prayer become integrated into your entire day.  When the phone rings, ask God for wisdom and the ability to help whoever is on the other end of the line before you answer it.

Praying for business is more than just expecting God to grow your business.  Praying for your business means you are seeking God with your whole heart, mind, body and soul.  You are looking to God as your CEO and asking Him before making any decisions.

Here’s a quick exercise: For one day, write down all the things that you can pray for.  Start with employees, customers and vendors.  Then, write down products, divisions and locations.  Write down your website and all your marketing endeavors.

The list will be a long list and that is perfectly OK.  Now you have a road map of things you can pray for.  By doing this, you have set your mind to be aware of how God is working in and through you all day as you work His business.

 

Christian Business Failure #2: Attitude is not focused on true success

Attitude can be a double edged sword.  On one side, we have such a great attitude that we leave God aside because of our ego.  On the other side, we have such a lowly view of life because we are a sinner.  There is balance between the two.

First and foremost, you are child of God.  You are child of the King.  You are child of the King of Kings.  That alone should give you confidence. Yet, that should not give us license to do whatever we want.

We are stewards of the King’s people.  We are to take care of them as if they were our own.  God has entrusted us with the responsibility of the lives He has put in our business.

So what does all of this have to do with attitude? We can read books about positive thinking.  We can watch lots of motivational videos.  Yet none of those really make a lasting impression until we realize our value and our place in this universe.

God gave you the ability to run a business.  He gave you skills and opportunities.  He gave you a brain to learn what you need to learn to grow your faith and your business.  He gave you the wisdom to turn to Him, rely on Him and trust Him.

Our attitude should line up with Jesus who humbled Himself as a Servant.  We are to serve others out of our gratitude to God for all He has done for us.  Our attitude must come from our identity in God, not our success in this world.

Here’s an exercise: (You may want to do this on paper and out of the view of others.)  Write down everyone in your business that you are better than.  Seriously, check your heart.  Who do you feel like you are better than?  Write their name or initials and why you are better than them.  Then, go back through the list.  How is that same person better than you?

This is a tough exercise, but partnered with praying for these people, this could become a powerful exercise for you in your business.  You will see the value in yourself and the value others add.  If you want to take it a step further, take a day to be grateful for each person and send them a hand written note of thanks.  Encourage their character and edify them.

 

Christian Business Failure #3: You is the center of the business

I know this is a tough article for some of us.  God wants to chisel away at the things that are holding us back from doing all that He has called us to do.  As long as we hold on to the comfortable chains that bind us, we will never grow in the blessings that God wants to bring us.

When we have ‘you’ as the center of our business our business will never grow.  Yes, there are large personalities that grew large businesses, only to quickly fail with one attack to their character.

A business built on ‘you’ is centered on what you can do and what you want to do.  It does not take into consideration all that God has done or His guidance.  It focuses on making a buck so that ‘my’ life can be better.

I struggle with this just like everyone else.  This week I have turned down at least three great ideas that would have made me a lot of money.  I could jump on some fad or sell some hot product, but in the end that does not bring glory to God.

God is the center of all we do as Christians.  When we place ourselves on the throne instead of God, our values and ideas become warped.  I am sure you can think of some movie or TV series where the wrong king got on the throne and ruined the entire kingdom.

God gifted us with skills, talents and aspirations.  He does not want us to give up our personality to serve Him. He wants to complete that personality.  He wants to help make you the best you possible.  He created you and knows the best version of who you are.

Business may be started as a solo act, but as we grow we need to let others take on parts of our business.  Delegation is a valuable skill and you can see it all throughout the Bible.  God gave you a personality, to bring other personalities and help more people with His business.

Business is about helping people and bringing Glory to God.  When ‘you’ is the center of the business, all glory goes to self.  The business will slowly depreciate and the ‘you’ that is on top will soon find that it is lonely at the top.  It does not need to be that way if you line up who you are with who God is.

Here’s an exercise: Write down all of the things that make you special.  Write down your talents, skill, and training. Look on your resume or your LinkedIn profile.  Write down any rewards, certifications or awards.  I want you to write down everything that you are proud of.  It should be a long list and that is a good thing because God has made you a blessed person.

Now, take that list and one by one, check off each as you thank God for giving you that gift.  Take a few days.  Really pray and thank God for that item on your list.  Pray more than just a single sentence prayer.  Pray for everything that surrounds that item.  You will begin to see God’s interweaving your life to make you the person you are today.

 

Conclusion

Whew!  This was a tough article to write.  I have prayed and really searched for the words that I felt like God wanted you to hear.  It is not easy to line up our lives with what God wants, but it is worth it.

Take each of the above exercises seriously.  Do one a week for the next three weeks even if you think you are on course with God.  It will strengthen your resolve to be a Christian first and a business owner second.  It will line your business up with God and His plans for your business.  It will show God that you really think He is the CEO .

 

God gave you a personality to help people with His business. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

why do Christian businesses fail?I often wonder why Christian businesses fail.  It really bugs me and honestly, I think it bugs God.  God does not set us up to fail.

I have to share a little rant today. . .

I’m tired of seeing Christian in business fail!  There are too many opportunities in this world and with God on our side, why are not more Christians succeeding?  We can’t help but succeed . . . IF we put Him first.

That is the first issue I have with Christian business owners.  Sure, they pray, but prayer is not an integral part of their business life.  They say a prayer like, “God help me succeed in business today.”  What a selfish prayer.

Look at what James says in Chapter 4, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

See the slight difference?

We are to put the Lord FIRST.  When we start our business.  When we open for business each day.  When we are doing well.  When we are failing.  When we are mad and want to give up.  When we are excited and ready to take on the world.

God is with us each step of the way.  He wants us to acknowledge Him as the True Owner of our business.

 

I work with all kinds of business owners.  From multi-million dollar companies to businesses that are just starting out.  I work with Christian and non-Christian business owners.  The Christians who are succeeding have a breath of fresh air about them.  They have God integrated into their whole way of doing business.

 

Christians who are succeeding have God integrated into their whole way of doing business. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

 

It is more than just quoting some Bible verses and putting God in our value statement.  It is whole-heartedly following Jesus as a true believer . . . a disciple.  It is understanding that God is in everything we do and everything we do, we do for Him.

Listen Christian business owner, let’s not wait for something to happen, let’s make it happen.  Let’s call on God and sit down with Him in a One on one ‘board meeting.’  He is the Owner and we should not move until He says move.

And when God says move, we should take action.  We should learn all we need to do the most excellent work for a Most Excellent God.  We should implement with His plan in our business and wisely take the steps we need to prepare for the growth that He wants us to have.

Christian, take action today.  Sit down with the True CEO of your business.  Get away from the office if you have to, but take time to really seek His will for your business.  Only then, with that solid foundation, will you have a business that succeeds and honors God.