A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the God as CEO breakfast lead by Paul TenHaken. More than 300 local business leaders attended the event. Paul challenged us to stop compartmentalizing our lives and to live out our Christian faith in the workplace. He shared examples of local companies that had successfully integrated faith into the work place, such as Pizza Ranch, Juice Stop, C-Lemme and Tyson foods. He suggested some ways that Christian business leaders could integrate faith into their company’s culture.
Paul also spoke about ways that his company, ClickRain, has integrated faith into the DNA of their company in a way that is honoring to God, but remains respectful to employees with different religious viewpoints. Their company has granted employees extra paid time off for missions trips, holds an optional weekly Bible study in their office and has established some form of tithing fund for their employees among other benefits. These unique employee benefits and other aspects of ClickRain’s culture enable their team to live out their faith values (fairness, generosity, kindness, etc.) during business hours.
My Personal Conviction
As Paul exhorted us to not be afraid to blur the line between faith and work, I felt particularly challenged to reconsider the role that faith plays in my company’s culture. Most of us spend 1/3rd of our waking hours working during the week. If we’re compartmentalizing our life and checking our faith at the door when we head into the office every morning, that is at least 40 hours per week where we are living out of alignment with our core beliefs.
As a Christian, I am told that I should work wholeheartedly in everything that I do as if I were working for Christ himself. I am also called to love God with all of my heart, to love my neighbor as myself (Mark 12:30-31), to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), to care for the poor (Matthew 25:35) among other things. The Bible does not say to do these things on nights and weekends, when it’s convenient for you or when it isn’t awkward because you’re not sure if other people around you believe the things that you do. I am called to do these things all the time—regardless of circumstances. To walk into the office for eight hours per day and effectively ignore the calling that all Christians have would be hypocritical at best and denying the faith at worst.
MarketBeat’s Faith and Culture Story
MarketBeat is operated by a very small team. The company only has four employees (including myself) and a handful of contractors that work on MarketBeat’s websites. It would be easy to think a company this small doesn’t have a culture, but it does. MarketBeat’s culture has formed organically throughout the years because of my beliefs about business and what our team values. Our company’s mission statement is “to leverage our skills and passions to create passive income streams that will provide security and freedom for our families and provide the ability to give generously to further God’s kingdom.”
Our core values include flexibility, generosity, fairness, automation and family. We live out our value of flexibility by not having a company office and not having any set work hours. We live out our value of generosity by sponsoring local entrepreneurship events, individually giving to causes that we care about and through a newly-created company charitable matching program. I have tried to be very generous to my employees in the benefits they get as well (health insurance reimbursement, 5% profit sharing, 3% non-elective 401K contribution, PTO, flexible work schedule, etc.). We live out our value of fairness by acting with integrity in every business deal we do and by being generous with refunds to our customers. We value automation by automating almost everything that we can automate. We value family by prioritizing our family time and activities over our day-to-day responsibilities of working for our company.
Integrating Faith and Work at MarketBeat
While our team has some good Christian values ingrained into our company, it would never be immediately apparent to an outsider that MarketBeat is a faith-based company. We have never drawn a line in the sand and said that we are going to operate the company in alignment with Christian values. There’s no mention of faith on our website or in any of our marketing materials. I do explicitly state that I am a Christian on my personal website, which has yielded a range of comments from “If you really were a Christian, you would cater to my ridiculous request” to “It’s great to see a successful Christian entrepreneur that’s not afraid to hide his faith.”
I feel like MarketBeat has been “accidentally Christian” in many ways, because I’ve tried to treat employees, vendors and customers with honesty, fairness and respect. However, I have never sat down and asked, “What would it mean if MarketBeat truly were a Christian company?” Could we orient the company in such a way that it is honoring to God in all that we do? Could MarketBeat exude the love, fairness, generosity and integrity that God calls every Christian to live by? Could we build a company whose Christian values are so attractive that even non-Christians would want to work there just to be part of that culture? I do not yet have an answer to these questions, but they are important questions to ask.
Join the Conversation
How do you integrate faith with your work life? Leave a comment in the comments below or share your thoughts in the Sioux Falls Area Entrepreneurs Group on Facebook.