“I am the light of the world,” Jesus said in John 8:12 (ESV). “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In the Bible, light is a metaphor for righteousness and goodness. To walk with Christ is to walk in the light, and Christians should do this in any and every environment, including at work.
“God designed humans to work,” Jeff Van Duzer, author of “Why Business Matters to God: (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed),” said in Christianity Today. Humans are made in His image, Duzer explains. “God is a worker. And God’s work is creative and meaningful. Business is not the only institution for work, but it is certainly one of them.”
Christian organizations can demonstrate the positive impact business can have on others. When biblical principles guide the actions of organizations, leaders and workers can make a difference in meaningful ways. Three Christian organizations in particular are worth examining: Chick-fil-A, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Habitat for Humanity.
Chick-fil-A made its debut at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report in 2015. With a score of 86 out of 100, Chick-fil-A is the highest-ranking fast food restaurant in the country for customer satisfaction.
Yet Chick-fil-A may be better known for its biblical principles. “Biblical principles just make great business principles,” said Mark Conklin, senior manager of leadership development of Chick-fil-A, in Chick-fil-A manager: “Biblical principles just make great business principles.” “We don’t see a conflict between those two. When you’re treating all of your guests with honor, with dignity and respect, which is what we seek to do, we see no conflict.”
“When you’re treating all of your guests with honor, with dignity and respect, which is what we seek to do, we see no conflict.”
Mark Conklin, Senior Manager of Leadership Development at Chick-fil-A
All Chick-fil-A locations are closed on Sundays to give workers an opportunity to attend worship services, spend time with family and rest. The restaurant is also committed to giving back to the community; Chick-fil-A reports that it has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 educational and charitable organizations, plus millions in food donations. It has also provided more than $30 million in scholarships to its employees. Locations across the country have offered free meals to first responders and military personnel, as well as to people during times of need, such as when motorists were stranded in a snowstorm.
Chick-fil-A’s corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Based in Orlando, Florida, Wycliffe Bible Translators is one of the largest Bible translation companies in the world. Wycliffe is leading the way toward the goal of having some portion of the Bible written in every language — 1,900 of the world’s 6,909 spoken languages remain.
Wycliffe hopes to meet this need by 2025 — more than 100 years sooner than would have been possible without the help of technology, campaign executive director Paul Edwards said in The Denver Post. According to Edwards, missionaries previously had to spend decades learning and transcribing a language. Now, missionaries can potentially oversee transcriptions of several languages in their lifetimes.
Along with Bible transcriptions, Wycliffe missionaries create native literature that locals learn to read. In some places, these books represent the first materials natives will have in print, helping to preserve their language and culture. The Christian Post describes how a Wycliffe team of translators taught villagers on an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to read and understand Scripture — and some are becoming translators. In a different type of project, Ministry News Network tells how Wycliffe has helped Deaf Believers’ Fellowship, a program that translates the Bible across several languages for the deaf.
Wycliffe’s mission statement is as follows: “Involving people in the advancement of Bible translation.” Those who are interested in Wycliffe can become a missionary, support a missionary, start a campaign, find nearby events, explore partnerships with their church and fulfill prayer requests that are listed on the organization’s website.
Habitat for Humanity
The largest nonprofit builder in the world, Habitat for Humanity defines itself as a Christian housing ministry. In 2013, Habitat for Humanity announced that it had helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve more than 800,000 homes — the organization expects to complete its 1 millionth house by the end of 2015.
When describing why Habitat for Humanity builds and tries to win the battle against poverty, CEO Jonathan Reckford believes that doing nothing is unacceptable. “We are to give our best response to God’s repeated instructions to care for the poor and to share our blessings,” he said. “God will take care of the rest … We should take on God-sized tasks because then it is clear who deserves the credit. Our task is great, but our God is awesome.”
“We should take on God-sized tasks because then it is clear who deserves the credit. Our task is great, but our God is awesome.”
Jonathan Reckford, CEO at Habitat for Humanity
Houses built by Habitat for Humanity are designed to be “decent, safe and affordable places to live.” No profit on the sale is made. Habitat for Humanity is involved in relief projects that respond to natural disasters. Partnerships, initiatives, youth programs and advocacy work help raise awareness about the 1.6 billion people worldwide who don’t have adequate shelter.
Habitat for Humanity’s mission statement is as follows: “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habit for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” Habitat for Humanity accepts volunteers, partners and donations to help support its mission.
Glorifying God Through Business
These three organizations are focused on making an eternal impact on others. Regardless of the industry or chief purpose, each one is dedicated to serving God and others through its mission, successes and principles.
Many consumers in America respond well to Christian businesses. A 2011 Barna Group survey reported that 43 percent of consumers would be more likely to buy from a particular brand if it was managed according to Christian principles. Thirty-seven percent said they would be more likely to buy from a particular brand if it embraces and promotes the Christian faith. Only 3 percent of respondents in each question said that they would be less likely to support the brand.
Southeastern University offers a faith-based education for students to discover a Spirit-led life, powered by learning and leadership. Graduates of the online MBA programs are prepared for leadership positions in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. They will also be prepared to serve God and others in their chosen field.