At the risk of infuriating several people, I’ll share with you what I used to tell clients back in my other life, when I was an investment broker. “If anyone approaches you saying they’re a ‘Christian’ business person, don’t walk… RUN the other direction from them.” Why would I say something like that? In my work experience, some of the most crooked business people I encountered were those touting themselves as “Christians”. Frankly, it made me sick. High moral ethics were at the core of how I did business. As a Christian, it was just a natural part of who I was. I didn’t need Jesus to be my marketing hook. I apologize if that sounds crass, but it was truly the nature of the business environment I was in at the time. All too often, I found myself encountering good people who had fallen victim to those who claimed Christianity in order to seduce people into doing business with them.
Fast forward to this season of my life, where God has called me to minister to parents of children with special needs. I find myself as both the consumer and the vendor. While our ministry is striving to compassionately serve people with excellence, we have purchasing needs as part of our programs and services. This leaves our organization seeking goods and services from reliable vendors, some of whom use that same “Christian” label.
Here’s the million-dollar question we are left with– Who should we or shouldn’t we do business with? One ministry leader we are acquainted with will not use materials from another ministry because that resource has a connection several times removed who condones gay marriage. As a result, this leaves that organization lacking a terrific tool for bringing those with cognitive delays closer to Christ. Another ministry we know will not purchase anything through Amazon because it is the world’s biggest purveyor of pornography. This means that the organization may end up paying more money for goods because of foregoing the deep discount offered by Amazon.
All of this leaves me asking many questions of our business habits. We need to be a wise steward of our limited funds. Do I only do business with those who give the lowest price? Do benefactors automatically dictate that we must do our related business through them? What if a place we are doing business with isn’t willing to give back to our ministry in a significant way? Our accountant is Jewish. Is that okay? And what if a place we do business with does not handle our work in a timely way because we are not a big profit center for them?
These are just a few of the many questions requiring leaders like us to exercise discernment. So, how do you resolve these issues in your organization? We would love to hear, because how we take care of business on the consumer side is every bit as important as how we serve those in a watching world.