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Dear BAM Mentor,
How and when do I go about my spiritual impact plan? Do I write this at the same time as my business plan? Any practical advice about writing an integrated plan?
~ Perplexed Planner
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalm 127:1-2 NIV)
I would be hesitant to create a separate plan that speaks to spiritual impact within my business, rather I would look at how every aspect of my business is structured and operated to provide the space for spiritual impact to occur. It’s my belief that corporate culture and how culture is articulated and modeled daily creates the opportunity for spiritual impact to occur within your organization. The Bible is clear in expressing that the world will know followers of Christ by our fruit – fruit is manifested through actions.
Integrating Spiritual Impact through Values
When you think of spiritual impact within your business you are really speaking to the culture of the environment and how culture is lived out daily between management, employees, customers and vendors. At the core of culture are the values which drive your organization. How those values are communicated within and without the organization establish the foundation for spiritual impact. Your values represent your philosphical views as well as well as your organizational priorities and sense of purpose. Your values will directly impact your mission, goals and objectives. What will be key is understanding and defining how these values integrate into the daily work life of your employees.
Some examples of cultural values which may be defined as core to an organization may include but are certainly not limited to:
- Deep commitment to the personal touch-points of the organization including employees, customers, vendors and the local community
- Teamwork through servanthood
- Honesty and integrity
- In everything excellence
Creating Strong Values
It is one thing to define values upon which an organization will be built, it is quite another thing to create an environment where these values can be authentically modeled. As you consider how to create a business which teaches and models strong biblical values, you want to be very intentional in creating strong values that can be easily and consistently modeled in your company. One of the most important aspects of having clearly defined values is in using these values to guide decisions. The culture exists not only to build the team but also to hold them accountable. Whenever someone is having a difficult time making a decision, they should be able to look to the company values for direction, eliminating any opportunity for arbitrary judgement.
In considering which values most accurately portray the organization you want to create, make sure enough prayerful consideration, turning to the word and seeking the counsel of others is a key part of your process. As you identify your own corporate values, think about key cultural value systems for the culture in which your business will be based. Determine how your business will be structured to counter-act those cultural values which are not biblically centric. Remember just because a practice is a cultural value, does not make it scripturally compatible, and because in Christ we have freedoms, we need to implement those same type of freedoms within our business systems. This does not mean tramping on cultural values that are neither right nor wrong, but being sensitive to where you can seek to help lift a culture out of oppressive thinking.
Integrating Values into Your Business Operations
After you have developed your cultural value set, work to build a solid foundation on how you can integrate those key principles into your business operations. When you think of spiritual influence do not limit your mindset to your employees, but rather look for every possible touch point your organization may have including with customers and business partners or vendors. Think how those touch points can be an influence for good. Let’s first look at your employees, because your employees and your relationship with your employees will set the stage for the other key touch points of your organization.
How do you set up and facilitate communication with your team in a manner that encourages honesty and openness, creating an environment that values every participant in the organization? The first aspect of building this culture in the organization begins with self introspection. As you see yourself; an individual fearfully and wonderfully made, created for relationship with Christ, so you must also see each individual in your organization through that same mindset. When you can recognize and acknowledge your own brokenness and separation from God in need of a savior, you are then in a position where you can lead from a position of humility and servanthood. As you see yourself made for a purpose, so you must also see those who work for you made in the same vein. As you are able to share those values which uphold purpose and ethic with the people in your organization, then they will begin to see themselves from a different perspective and begin to look for a greater purpose within their own existence.
Building and Battling
In Warren Wiersbe’s study of Psalm 127, Wiersbe states:
A wrecking crew or a demolition team can destroy in a few hours or days what it took engineers and builders months to plan and construct. Even a weak little child can heedlessly destroy something valuable, and some adults go through life just tearing things down. God has called us to build—our lives, our homes, our churches, and the kingdom of God around the world. Before commencing His public ministry, Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3), and He is currently building His church in this world (Matt. 16:18). The apostle Paul saw himself as a builder (Rom. 15:20, 17), and he warned that it is a dangerous thing to destroy the local church (1 Cor. 3:11–17). Whether we are building structures with bricks and mortar and steel, or building lives, families, and churches with truth and love, we cannot succeed without the help of the Lord. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV).
Many a child and many a ministry has been lost to the enemy because the watchmen did not stay awake and warn that the enemy was approaching. Building and battling go together; this is why Nehemiah’s men had their tools in one hand and their swords at their side (Neh. 4:17–18). Jesus joined the two in Luke 14:25–33. The famous British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon called his publication The Sword and the Trowel because its purpose was to build believers and the church and to fight sin and false doctrine. As he awaited execution in a Roman prison, Paul encouraged Timothy to preach the Word and to be “watchful in all things” (2 Tim. 4:1–5 NKJV). If parents, teachers, and business leaders do not courageously maintain the walls and guard against the enemy, our building will be in vain.
More Responses on this topic:
A business plan is intended to help you work through the key issues you will face in running your business and should include all of the factors that have critical importance. It should addresses the design of the product, distribution, manufacture, finance, marketing, purchasing, and capitalization. It should also address how all of these business functions fit in to the work God is doing.
The spiritual impact of the business is one of the key objectives for a BAM business and as such it ought to be integrated in planning right from the beginning. […Read more]
Talking about having a Spiritual Impact Plan (SIP) can be a controversial topic. One response that comes back loud and clear when discussing this is, “How can you plan for the work of the Holy Spirit?” There is some truth in this – how can we know what the spiritual outcomes are going to be? We certainly have more control over the inputs. Jesus himself, in Matthew 28:19, told us to do several specific ‘input activities’: go, make disciples, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach.
Before doing any of these things we are surely expected to use our heads and think about how best to do them based on our own and the company’s talents and abilities, our personal and corporate circumstances, the cultural situation we find ourselves in and the overall business goals the company has. Thinking about these things and writing them down is, in essence, a Spiritual Impact Plan. […Read more]
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