August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
…why even concern oneself about these things? Why not keep your company totally secular (86)?
…”love”. If we love Jesus and know He loves every man, woman and child in the world, we are motivated by that love to tell others about it (86).
Therefore, we want to avail ourselves of every vehicle possible to make known God’s love (86). Business offers a strategic vehicle for doing just that (86).
The Bible talks about ‘ministry’ as the role of a servant for Christ’s sake (86).
In our day, we have come to associate the term ‘ministry’ with paid professional clergy, thus creating an artificial distinction between clergy and laity (87).
One of the hallmarks of the Protestant Reformation was emergence of a principle known as “The Priesthood of All Believers” whereby reformers asserted all believers stand as equals before God, all with gifts of serving in some capacity and all with equal responsibility to do so (87).
This was in contract to “clericalism” a view held by the Holy Roman Catholic Church and one, which claimed clergy, had a special, more important relationship with God than the masses (87).
Eph. 4:11-13 He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
We know in the heavenly realm there are powers and principalities watching what is happening on earth as God works out His plan through his Church (88).
One group is in submission to the Father and is committed to glorifying Him in all they do. The other group is in rebellion against the Father and is seeking to undermine His will (88).
Each individual in the Body of Christ has been given at least one gift and with it comes an expectation to serve (88).
Unfortunately, most pastors would admit too often they end up doing the ministry for the saints instead of preparing the saints for ministry (88).
Has the Church ever really succeeded in making the switch from clericalism to “The Priesthood of All Believers?” (88).
…if you expect different results, you have to change your methods (89).
In a year’s time, they have hundreds, if not thousands of conversations with other people. Here they encounter many unbelievers, many who have never had a significant conversation about who Jesus is (90).
Could not these relationships become a bridge of trust across which the good news about Jesus Christ could be communicated (90)?
Could not these believers begin to pray regularly for their co-workers, customers, clients, vendors and suppliers that those who don’t know Jesus could come to know Him (90)?
Could they not in some cases begin a Bible study and invite some associates to join them (90)?
What forces cause Christians among both the 3% full-time workers and 97% paying parishioners to accept as normative these barriers that divide so-called secular from sacred and clergy from laity (90)?
What would happen if we could discover examples of men and women who, in the context of their professions and occupations, saw themselves as full-time Christian workers and ministers of the Gospel (90)?
William Danker, Profit for The Lord…Early in the history of Protestant missions we find important missionary efforts taking so much more sympathetic view of economic activities (91).
But the most important contribution of the Moravians was their emphasis that every Christian is a missionary and should witness through his daily vocation…the businessman might have retained his honored place within the expanding Christian world mission beside the preacher, teacher and physician (91).
Ken and Margie have never regretted their call to minister through their business (93).
Every Christian has been given the purpose of being a disciple-maker (93).
Our professional career is actually means of going and teaching to obey (93).
Integrating our disciple-making purpose into our professional career can add a whole new sense of purpose and meaning (93).
Very few Christians ever think about a business as a structure through which to make disciples and to thereby further the Kingdom of God. They may consider business, ministry and missions as separate realities but they don’t relate them (94).
…millions live in countries where traditional missionaries can not get visas, but Christian business professionals can enter with freedom (94).
Business Owners, please consider using your business as a vehicle for reaching others with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (95).
August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
…when a structure, be it a business, church or organization, doubles in size, all of the major systems by which it is managed must grow in tandem for that entity to survive (77).
…as the business grows, its communication methods must become more formal and systematic to remain effective (77).
As a business grows and develops, complexity increases (78).
…the businesses’ effectiveness is directly proportional to the degree of cooperation management is able to achieve (78).
…communication as one of the six characteristics of an effective team (78).
…a primary function of leadership is to provide a structure for cooperation, a structure in which all of the players on the team are able to communicate effectively (78).
…six Characteristics of an Effective Team are: 1. Alignment toward a Common Purpose, 2. Appropriate Division of Labor, 3. Accepted Leadership, 4. Agreement on the Plan, 5. Solid Relationships, 6. Good Communication (78)
The selection of effective management and the delegation to it of leadership and authority, while maintaining ultimate responsibility for what goes on, is one of the most challenging and critical tasks the entrepreneur faces in business (79).
Adding different cultures, languages, geographic regions, a ministry agenda and theological differences presents Goliath-sized challenges to good communication. Also, as first generation leadership begins to phase out, succession planning adds even more to the complexity (79).
…call for men and women to replicate in other countries what God had done in Israel through the Gal Group of companies (80).
…recruit a small team of several families, train them in operations, get a prototype operation up and going and then move the prototype to the target country (80).
…customers sent a clear message to Ken that if Galtronics wanted to keep their business, it would need to set up plants in Europe, the United States and Asia (80).
…wrestled with the opportunity to use this now global business as a platform for a church planting ministry, to replicate in other countries and among other people groups what they had seen God make a reality (verity) in Israel (80).
…they located the plant where it could be used for a church planting ministry among a target people group whom they knew had little opportunity to hear about Jesus (81).
…it is evident as a company passes through various phases of its life cycle, its approach to integration must change (81).
Taxonomy of Business and Ministry Interaction:
…described in six different categories: Precarious, Propagation, Presence, Purity, Pluralistic and Pagan (81).
All businesses in their early stages of life are Precarious (82).
When the business reaches the point where it breaks even and its owners are committed to pursuing both the making of money and the making of disciples, we refer to that as being a Propagation company (83).
As a company grows and begins to hire more and more non-Christians or Christians who are not committed to making disciples, it begins to move into the Presence stage (83).
Integrating Biblical principles into the warp and woof of the business makes sense to many who would be uncomfortable with what they would view as proselytizing…(83).
…a fairly small number of believers are committed enough to the making of disciples to whole heartedly support the use of the company they are working with to accomplish this goal (83).
…as a company grows and more people come into the employment ranks, conflict often begins to develop for the business owner or leader (83).
As the leader moves to create opportunities for advancement for all employees, the likelihood increases that people will be placed in leadership who are not committed to, and may often be resistant to, the goal of making-disciples (84).
A continual pressure or force moves the company toward secularism (84).
…Purity stage…”golden rule’ of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you becomes the essence of spiritual values within the company, a movement generally supported by both religious and nonreligious people except perhaps those committed to a strict and rigid belief in “separation of church and state (84).”
…Pluralistic stage…spiritual matters may be addressed only very cautiously if at all (84).
How do followers of Jesus, who want to obey Christ by seeking to make disciples, live for Him in these different types of companies (84)?
…Pagan company…Owners and/or leaders in this type of company are actively involved in activities that link them and their business with demonic forces (84).
…the approach believers take must fit the type of company where they are working (85).
As Ken brought in leaders and investors he found they did not always share the same view about how to integrate Christianity and Christ’s mandate to make disciples into the business (85).
If an owner of a business wants to align the purpose of that business with what he perceives as Christ’s purpose, but a leader to whom the owner is delegating authority does not share that sense of alignment, it can cause problems. The same is true if an outside investor is brought into the business (85).
It must be understood that even two people wanting to operate a Propagation business can differ as to strategy (85).
…told by some middle managers in the company that a “glass ceiling” existed, above which no non-Christian could advance (86).
July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
if God gives a vision or an idea or sense of direction, we must persevere and not surrender to seemingly impossible difficulties (42).
Ken had been pursuing some engineering ideas he thought would be significant (42).
As sales increased, the company was able to reduce its debt and begin to provide employees with many of the benefits that before had been impossible (45).
Expenses, net profit and return on investment are some of the other key measurable factors that must be monitored as a business grows (45).
…the company still faced great opposition from outside forces (46).
…the years between 1987 and 1993 were amazingly fruitful for Galtronics, both in making money and in making disciples (47).
…there were three major goals identified: 1) to bless Israel, 2) to provide jobs and 3) to tell Israelis about the Messiah. By 1993, all three goals had been met (47).
…we wrote down a long list of things we were asking of the Lord…requests regarding the business: good workers, good morale, good machines, good parts, good vendors, better products. God would restore out testimony…(48)
…profit sharing plan…success being due to God’s grace…tried to be open, not hiding anything…as general manager, …refused to have a company car…until the last debt was paid (49).
One of the main reasons we did not want it publicized was that we thought, if word got out, there would be people who would put political pressure on to make sure that we did not receive the award (50).
…the greatest impact on the evaluation committee was we had taken in many immigrants and had made such a concerned effort to provide jobs for them (50).
…God answered our prayers at that midnight prayer meeting when we had asked Him to restore our testimony in front of the whole nation (53).
The whole discussion of what it means to be a Messianic Jew became a public debate (53).
…more than one half million Russians had come into the country…Many of these believers in Jesus (55).
…”we need three things. First, we need a product to make that we can sell. Second, we need space, facilities to work in. Third, we need leadership (55).”
God had provided everything we needed! Praise His Name (57)!
He eventually developed a pastoral relationship with his employees and his workplace became his parish (57).
Ken and Maggie’s third goal was to tell the Israelis about the Messiah. More specifically, they saw themselves as supporting the planting of a local church (57).
The “vision, valley, verity” pattern held true for both the business and the church it had spawned (58).
Believers were stoned as they worshiped and the building where they met was burned down (58).
When the little fledgling church was struggling to find a place to meet in light of this persecution, it was a small fellowship of Arab believers in a village miles away who reached out to them. This kindness demonstrated unity in the body of Christ that transcended racial barriers which have inflamed hatred and dissension for years. This spirit of unity and love in Christ set a bold and obvious example and gave evidence to the power of the Gospel to bridge chasms now centuries old (58).
I pose a question to you, the reader. Why would you follow a God who calls you to risk your assets at least, and your life at most, to follow Him in starting and growing a Kingdom-building business? Given the inherent risk of business, why add the dimensions of using the business to make disciples (59)?
Ken Crowell, “…don’t encourage people to get into this in order to make money…they may lose money…focus on listening to the Lord’s voice…walking with Jesus is all that matters…If God gives you a heart and gifts for running a business, that business can be used in a might way to bring glory to God and to further His Kingdom…(59)”
…why would anyone want to miss out on the blessings with or without the trials (59)?
It is important to note that throughout this process of walking with the Lord, trials occurred. Scriptures are replete with warnings that Christian suffering is both essential and unavoidable (59).
Often, in the course of fulfilling that mission, other ideas surface which deserve pursuit yet need to be structured so as not to undermine and confuse those working in the core business. A difficult question business people should ask repeatedly is how do we structure this effort (60)?
If a business is to be used as a platform for furthering Christ’s Kingdom, ownership must recognize the real owner is the Lord Jesus Christ (60).
As the company grows and leadership changes hands, the decision-making process continues to evolve from its initial individual control to a team concept. If not properly managed, the process of making decisions can become rife with tension. The good news is God is able to accomplish His purposes in each and every phase of a company’s life cycle (61)!
…if you are interested in business or have experience in business and have a desire to follow Jesus as a disciple-maker, Ken and Margie would cheer you on and encourage you to seek to integrate your business activities into Christ’s plan of World Evangelization (62).
July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Psalm 127:1, Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Many to whom God has given a vision or an idea or a dream about something He wanted to do through them, have testified that vision is born and grows in much the same way as a child; in total dependence upon the Lord of the Universe (13).
…ultimately the outcome was in God’s hands. That conviction brought great excitement and great peace (14).
…being in the center of God’s will did not mean they were immune to problems (14).
It often meant they were subjected to many problems unique to their mission; problems a business solely for profit would not encounter (14).
God, having headed His servants in the right direction, must train them to trust in Him rather than in themselves (15).
Ken decided to be very open about his goals (16).
I began to tell the officer I wanted to go to Israel in order to help people understand that Jesus Christ fulfilled these prophecies about the coming Messiah…wanted the company to bless the nation of Israel and we wanted to create jobs for people (16).
…it’s not about your faith in Jesus Christ that care so much. But we do need your engineering and we need your business (17).
“I’m not so concerned about your religious convictions, but I will stand behind you and your business because it is vital to the development of the nation of Israel (19).”
The following progression often takes place: fellowship, Bible study, worship, more formal preaching, communion, more elements of community involvement and finally, more formal structure for leadership and accountability (19).
On the one hand, God confirms His call and brings people to join the team but on the other hand, there’s betrayal (22).
…even in the valley, God was faithful (22).
…you will come to appreciate both the joy and struggle of watching God work in the midst of the fiery furnace (22).
I started learning my first lesson about difficulties of work places. Some people are interested only in staying in control but the fact was that the company needed some process improvement (23).
The Lord gave me this entry-level job for this purpose: He wanted me to learn the whole process from beginning to end. He also wanted me to demonstrate servanthood and to be a learner (23).
…”You are ultimately in authority here and if it is of God, He will provide the wisdom (26).”
Right after I was named general manager everything came crashing down around me (27).
…somehow we found out that if we had a personal contract with our workers, the union could not come in (30).
We wanted to treat our workers fairly. But the reality was that we had virtually no resources to work with (30).
The union was rubbing their hands in anticipation and the religious orthodox were happy (31).
There was one famous article where the reporter asked, tongue-in-cheek, when the Messiah of Galtronics was going to show up (31).
…in the entire crazy, madhouse situation, God was at work (32).
…God did not deliver them from difficulty but always brought them through it (32).
This was a totally humiliating time … we had no money for the payroll (33).
I could not understand why it was happening (34).
…why God was allowing this to happen despite our best efforts. I told Him, “I came here to serve you. I’ve done the best I could and yet I can’t pay the vendors or employees. This is a total shame. This does not bring honor to You (34).
…something came to the surface about the behavior of one of our management… After it was brought to the light, the individual confessed and there was repentance…recovery started afterwards (34).
… I cried out to the Lord! And as I did, suddenly a sense of peace came over me and I had deep assurance that God heard my cry and would be faithful (35).
… you may be wondering why anyone would invite all of these difficulties by being open about his faith in Jesus Christ. Why not just keep quiet and look for “private” opportunities to share Christ? Don’t difficulties abound in just getting a business up and going without adding to that an agenda of making disciples, starting Bible studies, and growing a church (36)?
…business as a means to further Christ’s Kingdom and not as a means to accumulate personal wealth (36).
…phenomenon of Jesus’ taking his followers through difficulties rather than delivering them from difficulties: …”discipline of disillusionment”…”hope in a time of abandonment” (36)
…longings for God’s greater glory in us and in the world (37).
…a glorious moment of re-birth for the servant of God and renewal for the calling on his life (37).
Is He the Lord of your business (37)?
If you are called to business, it is because God has led you there and has given you the skills, aptitude, and interests to serve Him in that way (37).
We are in a war whether or not we care to admit it… This war has eternal consequences whereas the marketplace competition of business is temporal and limited to consequences in this life only (37).
…as our story progresses through “valley” and into “verity”, the question becomes, “Why would anyone want to miss the joy of the presence of Christ in the midst of the ordeal, or of seeing how He works (37)?”
God has His way of working things out and He chooses to involve us in the process…God wanted them to pray. When they prayed, He moved (39).
There were many examples of God’s grace in the midst of the difficulties (39).
…love and obedience to the Lord is the motivation (40).
God allowed Galtronics to go through a period where everyone knew it was only by His grace that it survived (40).
They held on to the vision as they passed through the valley. They remembered that experiencing suffering and opposition does not mean we are not in the center of God’s will (41).
July 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
…struggled with integrating my call to follow Christ into my business and professional life… (1)
Kingdom Building Business…businesses whose owners seek to further the Kingdom of God by running their businesses on Biblical Principles…(1)
…all who know Jesus personally and call him Lord are called to live for His purposes (2).
In So Send I You, Chambers has a chapter entitled “Vision, Valley, and Verity” in which he notes, as God gives a Vision to His servant who wants to be aligned with His purposes, that servant can expect to be taken through a Valley of Humiliation before the Vision becomes a reality, or Verity (2).
…combines are businesses that could be used as vehicles and platforms for building the necessary trust relationships…(3)
“I don’t really care about your religious feelings but we sure need good engineers in Israel. Would you consider coming as an engineer (8)?”
…never even thought about using his engineering training in missions (8).
…didn’t really have many assets, but didn’t have any debt, either (9).
…their vision from the Lord was truly born; using a business to bless the nation of Israel through the Good News of Jesus Christ (10).
…working in the company gave great opportunities for witnessing in natural ways (11).
Tremendous ministry opportunities opened to those who worked alongside the Israelis in a business context… pondered how much more they could do if they owned a company themselves (11)!
…he noticed antennas for Motorola’s hand-held radios were not getting much attention in the product development and manufacturing areas (12).