For many Christians, there exists a natural tension between worldly imperatives and spiritual directives. Many interpret Scripture to forbid, or at least frown upon, activities that seem unavoidable in everyday life—including operating a profitable, prosperous business.
On the other hand, some Christian Americans adhere to the Prosperity Gospel, a belief system that asks no apologies for prosperity. Indeed, adherents to the Prosperity Gospel believe that God ordains their success—that their material wealth is a direct corollary of their purity of faith.
The Prosperity Gospel is seductive and controversial. It reconciles the tension between worldly wants and godliness and frees believers to pursue material goals without fear of retribution in the hereafter. However, many believe that it encourages decidedly non-Christian tendencies like avarice and dishonesty.
It’s beyond the scope of this piece to assess whether the Prosperity Gospel and its offshoots are valid or helpful. That said, devout Christian entrepreneurs can reconcile their worldly activities with their spiritual beliefs—and do so in a way that conforms to Christ’s teachings.
Christ-Centered Principles for Individuals and Business Owners
The core principles of a Christ-centered business enterprise are familiar to anyone who reads Scripture and attends church. They’re not all that different from the principles of a Christ-centered household, though their application obviously varies.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. But it’s a good start for entrepreneurs who’d like to merge their spiritual and worldly selves. Entire business empires have been founded on simple, Christ-centered foundations—just ask William Michael Keever, whose Castle Venture Group operates a diverse portfolio of Christ-centered business ventures, including GodCloud, an online community for Christ-centered businesses and nonprofits.
So how can you bring universal Christian values into the workplace? Live by these guidelines—and do your best to inspire your fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders to do the same.
Don’t Create a Litmus Test for New Hires
Christ teaches us to love all, even those we don’t see ourselves in. While it can be tempting to close your doors to employees from different faiths and backgrounds, this approach can lead down a dark, legally fraught path. Rather than create a religious litmus test for new hires, look for employees who share your values, regardless of their professed faith.
Christ was obviously a skilled proselytizer, but it’s not your duty or responsibility to follow in His footsteps—at least, not in the workplace. Instead, have confidence that, in leading by example, you’ll affirm the truth and goodness of His message.
Respect All Those You Serve
Your vendors and clients are sure to come from all walks of life. By all means, wear your devotion to Christ on your sleeve, but don’t turn a blind eye to those who look, act or believe differently than you. We are all cut from the same cloth.
Don’t Feel Bad About Turning a Profit
Again, you don’t have to believe in a controversial theology to believe that your business is blessed. You were given your talents for a reason. It’s up to you to use them to the fullest—and to share the rewards with others. Many Christ-centered businesses give a substantial fraction of their profits to community organizations and faith groups that do good work in the world. If you’re worried that your prosperity is unseemly or that you’re not doing your part to make the world a better place, this is your opportunity.
Be Consistent and Above Reproach
With great power comes great responsibility. It’s your obligation to lead by example—to be consistent and above reproach in your dealings with employees, vendors, customers and everyone else you interact with as a representative of your business. Before you act, ask: What would Christ do?
Expect The Same from Your Employees and Suppliers
You’re not the only accountable actor in your organization, of course. Just as you strive to be consistent and above reproach, so too must your employees. And, while you can’t directly control your suppliers’ behavior, you can use the power of the purse as you see fit.
Follow in the Footsteps of Fellow Christians
You’re not the only Christ-centered business leader out there. Seek out others who’ve come before you, be they public figures like Dave Ramsey or prosperous, devout entrepreneurs in your hometown. These godly advisers can serve as mentors and friends as you guide your business through treacherous waters.
What are you doing to center your enterprise around Christian principles?