by Dave Kahle
There is a certain power and attractiveness that accrues to those folks who take a stand and publicly express it. That’s called leadership, and the world is full of people looking for a leader. There is something compelling about a person who is committed to a cause that is bigger than just himself, who has the courage to declare that commitment not only for himself but on behalf of those in his sphere of influence, and to do so publicly for anyone who wants to hear it. The impact can be incalculable — spreading across geographies and dripping down into several generations.
Of course, we’ve all seen this principle in our lives — significant people influencing multitudes with the strength of the commitment to a cause. My mind leaps to Billy Graham on the positive side, and Hitler on the negative. These are grand-scale examples, but there are scores of others in our families and communities who don’t get the same level of notoriety, but for whom the principle is just as operative.
If we want to make this actionable, we just reverse engineer the process. If we want to impact generations of people, we need to make a commitment to a cause larger than ourselves (serving the Lord) and publicly declare that commitment, not only for ourselves but for our entire business. Like a stone thrown into a pool of water, the ripples of impact can spread beyond our ability to discern. It may even be the tipping point to transform a community.
There is so much power in this process that it rises to the level of a fundamental Biblical principle, a promise to us:
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32, 33
For a Christian business person, the question then becomes, not “if” but “how.” How exactly can you do that? What is the mechanism that would give you a platform for expressing a commitment to acknowledge and serve God?
Is There a Practical Solution?
Our foundational documents – the Vision, Mission and Values statements we create for our businesses provide an ideal venue for expressing such a commitment. They not only express the deep desires and values of the business owners, but they also bind the employees to that same set of values. While you can’t, in our society, commit someone else – particularly your employees – to following Christ, you certainly can declare your commitment to do so.
In your Vision statement, which articulates the highest aspirations of your business, you can acknowledge the role that God plays in your business.
In your Mission statement, which describes the work that you do and the markets that you serve, you can acknowledge the role of God in that providing that opportunity to you.
In your Values statement, which paints the picture of the ethical boundaries of your business and portrays the higher values to which you aspire, you can develop those out of a deep understanding of Biblical business and Christian ethics.
I’ve attached the foundational documents which I created in 1994 to guide my business. Were I to revise them today, they would look somewhat different. But they expressed my desire to make a commitment to acknowledge and serve God and to do so in writing, publicly, for all the stakeholders in my business to see, understand and accept. All prospective employees were given a copy, they were posted in prominent places around the office, and were regularly reviewed in company meetings. (Using discernment if your company is located in an anti-Christian environment.)
If you want to make an impact in your business, if you want to create ripples of impact that could skip across geographies and drip down through generations, then acknowledging God in your foundational statements is a necessary step.
Dave Kahle has been a Bible teacher, elder, house church leader, short-term missionary and Christian executive roundtable leader. For 30 years, he has been an authority on sales and sales systems, having spoken in 47 states and eleven countries. He has authored 13 books, including The Good Book on Business. Sign up for his weekly messages here. More from Dave at: www.davekahle.com.