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Pray More and Pray More Intentionally

by Dave Kahle

 

How do I Integrate my Christian faith with day-to-day business practices?

This is a question almost every Christian professional and businessperson considers regularly. The answer isn’t simple, and it varies from time to time and place to place.

The Christian life is a journey and we focus one step at a time. It’s like walking through a forest at night, with just a small flashlight to light your way. You can’t see more than a few feet ahead, and the light illuminates only the next few steps.

That analogy provides us a perspective on the question. The answer to the question today may be different than it will be just a bit down the road. Because our circumstances vary, the opportunities and relationships that we have today will be different than what we encounter further down the path. What’s important is that you keep asking the question. Today’s answer is just today’s answer, and not necessarily a lifetime prescription.

Having said that, there is a body of knowledge about some principles and practices that extend beyond the specific details of our current situation. These are principles and practices that apply regardless of the circumstances.

In this post, we’re going to drill deeper into one such principle: Pray more and pray more intentionally. In other words, intentionally add depth and breadth to your prayer practices.

First, let’s establish some Biblical principles upon which this practice is based:

1. We are commanded to pray for everything

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6  

Does “everything” include our careers and businesses and the multitude of decisions we must make, the relationships which occupy us, and the never-ending list of tasks to be accomplished? Of course. “Everything” means just that.

There is a horribly debilitating idea that is, unfortunately, quite commonly held; that God doesn’t want us to pray for our careers and businesses. This mistaken mindset reserves our prayers for our families and sanctioned “church work.” It is okay to pray for a missionary your church supports, for example, but a bit gauche to pray for that big sale on which you are working. You can pray that you find a new youth pastor, but not that you find a new administrative assistant.

Those ideas must be some of Satan’s greatest lies. By getting Christian businesspeople to believe them, he has successfully removed a major sphere of activity from being God-influenced. He must congratulate himself every time he sees someone who could be praying about a business issue and doesn’t. Read more

The Real Finish Line: Maximising Missional Potential

How do you know your BAM project is achieving all it can for the Kingdom of God?

This is a challenging questions to answer for many leaders of BAM projects.  Often at a loss as how to measure anything spiritual, it leads to those nebulous statements such as: ‘Jesus is the centre of everything we do’ when questioned.

But it doesn’t have to be nebulous.

It IS possible to measure the progress towards your spiritual goals, but in order to do that you need to know what the target is.

Key Concept – Missional Potential

Not all BAM projects are able to impact for the Kingdom at the same level.  When we opened a data entry company that had Christian employees working for Christian customers, we realised that this was a very limited ‘fishing pool’ from which we were able to impact the Kingdom through evangelism.  The enterprise just didn’t ‘touch’ many people who were not already Christian.

As a response, we opened a bakery in a much busier part of town.  The bakery, by way of the nature of its business model, had many more interactions with people ‘far from God’ and so had much more potential for reaching people for Christ.

Is it fair to expect the data entry business to achieve the same level of spiritual fruit as the bakery?  We think not.  So what is the standard we are measuring the projects by?

The answer?  Each project needs to maximise its missional potential.

The Real Finish Line

By evaluating what the full missional potential is for your project, you now have a target to shoot for.  A finish line to work towards.

Read more

Three Practical Steps to Experiencing the Spiritual Potential of Your Business

by Dave Kahle

Almost every Christian businessperson has a sense that there is potential in their businesses or professions to make a greater impact for the Kingdom. Unfortunately, the idea is often too vague and unformed in our minds, and therefore seems overwhelming. With no direction from the local congregation, and all the noise surrounding us from the purveyors of worldly wisdom, it’s no wonder we’re confused.

Here are three specific steps that every Christian businessperson and professional can implement to tip the edge of their basket a bit and allow more of their light to shine in the marketplaces that they inhabit.

1.  Embed prayer more deeply into your routines

When God told us to bring everything to him in prayer, he meant exactly that.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6

For many of us, the notion of praying, in depth and detail, for every aspect of our business or professional lives is a novel idea. But it is exactly what we are commanded to do. A business is rich with the fodder through which God loves to engage with us. Think of the thousands of decisions that could be informed by a nudge from the Lord:

  • Employee issues – who to hire, who to promote, to whom to give raises, how much and when, who to train, who to discipline, who to encourage, who to terminate.  Just this category alone can keep us on our knees for hours.
  • Customer issues – who to pursue, who to withdraw from, for whom to make concessions, how aggressively to pursue late payments, how close to get to whom, etc.
  • Financial issues – what to charge, should you borrow, how much and from whom, should you sign a lease, etc.
  • Vendor issues – who to buy from, who to pay, who to nurture, who to hold at arm’s length, how much of what to buy.
  • Personal time and priority management – there are a thousand things to do, but not all of them should be done.  How do we effectively allocate and focus our time and energy?

I could go on and on, but you understand the point. Being a responsible person in a business puts you in the middle of thousands of decisions. It’s like playing racquet ball against three people at once – balls are flying at you from every direction, and you must successfully manage them.

Read more

6 Reasons Why Your Vision May be Failing (And What to Do About It)

by Chris Cloud

Since there are many excellent articles on Vision Casting out there, I have decided to come at this from a different angle. My question is: Where is a vision likely to fall off the rails? I’d argue that most individuals, and most organizations, are not guided by a clear vision.

I have been a part of a few organizations that nailed it, and a few that could have achieved so much more if they had a clear vision and steered towards it. I’ve also consulted with dozens of companies regarding their brand and strategy, and inevitably vision comes up as one of the most powerful elements of growth and impact.

Without a vision, the people perish. – Proverbs 29:18

Here are some simple observations on where a vision commonly goes off the rails, and what to do about it. Note: I believe a clear vision is just as transformative, and sadly, just as rare for an individual as it is for a group or organization. So even if you aren’t leading a company, this is for you.

Where do Visions Fail?

Lack of Clarity: “What exactly is our vision?” It’s either too complicated, or it’s too ambiguous. Keep it simple enough for a 4th grader to understand. Poor vision: “we’re going to be big and successful one day”. What does that even mean? Strong vision, “We’re going to put all of the world’s information online.” (Google’s vision). It’s clear. It’s stupid simple, though it’s not easy by any stretch. It’s ambitious, almost pretentious, but it’s compelling. It conjures up visceral imagery. The old explorers were great at this. For example, Ernest Shackleton’s vision was, “To accomplish the first crossing of the Antarctic continent.”  Read more