As Christian entrepreneurs, we do not want to do everything just for the money. Yes, it’s a business, and yes, businesses have a purpose to make money. But that is not our only focus.
When the Israelites were exiled to Babylon in the 7th century B.C., God gave them instructions to “seek the welfare of the city” in which they were placed.1 And in the New Testament, we have multiple places where we as the church are instructed2 to do good works and meet urgent needs in our communities.
As business leaders, we are in a unique position to be able to do these good works for our communities. We are bringing in revenue and we interact with the public on a regular basis.As #business leaders, we are in a unique position to be able to do good works for our #community. Click To Tweet
Take a look at these 3 possible avenues. There are infinitely many more, but maybe this list can get your mind rolling as you begin to creatively change your business culture to be community-focused.
Employee Altruism Incentive Programs
Many companies nowadays set up employee incentive programs to help encourage behaviors consistent with the business’ values.
One way we can help the community is by offering an employee altruism incentive program. For example. the employee will be paid 1/2 pay for every hour spent doing community service up to 20 hours per month. Maybe it’s more specific, like the employee can save 20% annually off his health insurance if he teaches a fitness class at the Parks and Rec department. The possibilities are endless.
Programs like these are relatively simple ways to change the way your employees view community service.
At first, they might just do it for the money only. But the experiences they’ll gain in caring for the city has to cause them to personally take hold of the values you present for your business culture.
Create Your Own Community Garden
Look at this previous article about how the church can participate in environmental sustainability.
But at our businesses, we can do similar things.
Maybe your office has a little bit of land (all you need is a little). Create a community garden.
Have one person (someone in management or with some kind of higher accountability) take the produce to your local farmer’s market. Tell your employees that if they work on the community garden during their breaks or off-time, then they are eligible for a piece of the profits.
This does 3 things:
- Most obviously, it gives your employees the opportunity to make a little extra money, and most likely, it will be very little. But money is money.
- It puts into your employees’ subconscious that participating as a community to work on the garden is valuable.
- It also simply puts the business in the community in a way that everybody loves – the Farmer’s Market.
Giving to Local Non-Profits
This one is more of a lead-by-example kind of thing.
As your business learns of how you are generous with your profits, it shows them that you put your money where your mouth is. It shows that you are willing to do the same things that you ask your employees to do – help the community.
It will also put a source of pride in your employees to know that the organization they work for is out for more than just money. They invest in the city and change it for the better. They will also be better employees for you if they believe in the mission.
And just so you readers know, The Borough is doing this very thing. A portion of all profits is going to City Church Lawrence in Lawrence, KS, where we are based. Part of the reason this magazine was started was so that we could support the spiritual development of our city by helping fund our church. But not only the spiritual aspect, also the material side. Our church is in the business of doing good in the city.
Culture Is Everything
Mark Fields of Ford Motor Company, quoting Peter Drucker in what must have been a private discussion, said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”Be creative. Click To Tweet
We’ve got to make sure our business cultures do not get wrapped up in big business trends which focus on the bottom dollar and do not care about the little guy.
As Christian business leaders, it’s our responsibility to care for our communities. Be creative in how you do it. But do it nonetheless.
- Jeremiah 29:4-7 instructed the people to settle and live their lives in their new homes. They were to marry, have children, participate in the community, and generally take care of their cities.
- Ephesians 2:10, Titus 3:14, 1 Timothy 5:9-10, 6:18 are a few of the passages.