After 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.
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 .