Category Archives: Kingdom business

Jesus is CEO of Top-Branded Honey Company.

Nature Nate’s is the top-branded honey in America, but the company’s president, Nathan Sheets, refuses to take credit. Instead, the marketer-turned-beekeeper attributes his business’ rapid success and growth to Jesus.

“The overwhelming theme that engulfed me as I started really focusing on Nature Nate’s was ‘God is our CEO, and I’m simply the chief steward of what He’s entrusted to us,'” says Sheets of his McKinney, Texas-based company.

Sheets pursues this theme not only by cultivating a healthy work environment for his employees but also by using the company’s finances and influence to share the love of Christ and strengthen families and communities.

For instance, Nature Nate’s has launched the Honey Gives Hope corporate giving program and was the presenting sponsor of the 2017 GMA Dove Awards honoring the best in Christian music. The company partnered with the Dove Awards to promote Show Hope, an organization seeking to unite orphans and loving families as quickly and easily as possible.

Sheets believes exercising this kind of stewardship has a positive impact on the company overall.

“The success of Nature Nate’s isn’t because we’re great branders or we’re great marketers,” Sheets says. “I believe the success of Nature Nate’s is because we truly want to use this platform to make a difference for eternity.”

Falling in Love With Bees

“We went from this teeny-tiny honey company in 2012 to five years later, we’re the No. 1-branded honey in America [according to market research firm IRI],” Sheets says. “It’s just a total God story.”


Sheets realised that the regional focus of the North Dallas brand would keep the company from growing in popularity across the U.S. After much prayer, he decided to make two changes: personalise the brand name and shift the focus from the honey’s local quality to its raw, unfiltered characteristics.

Sheets’ wife came up with a significant idea: using his college nickname, “Nature Boy.” Together, they settled on renaming the company “Nature Nate’s.”

“We rebranded and did the labels so that 80 percent of the label focus is on raw and unfiltered,” he says. “And man, we were just blessed to be at the right place at the right time in the right industry.”

Selling to Advance the Kingdom

Indeed, 80 percent of the label’s focus is on the honey’s “raw, unfiltered” quality, but 100 percent of the company’s focus is on making an impact for Christ.

“I just came to realise that as a honey company, we don’t have to raise money,” he says. “We can make money, take that money, go do projects and make a difference in people’s lives.”

For Sheets, the company’s impact begins and ends with stewardship.

“I want to steward our people resources, the people who work for us, first and foremost, to make an impact on their lives,” he says. “I want to steward the financial resources and try to make as much as we can, live on as little as we can and give away as much as we can. And then I want to focus on stewardship of our influence and try to use the influence we have at Nature Nate’s to share Christ with people. Then [we can] challenge believers to look at the lens of their business as possibly the biggest opportunity to make a difference for Christ where they are 8 to 5, five days a week.”

Pointing Employees to Jesus

It’s not a requirement to be a Christian to work at Nature Nate’s, but the company’s Christ-focused atmosphere is evident.

Becca May, director of brand management, comes from a non-Christian background, but Sheets has made it easy for her to fit in with company culture.

“I grew up in a Jewish home, and so I was bat-mitzvahed when I was 13,” May says. “I went to a Hebrew school until I was 18. It’s the only faith-background and exposure I’ve ever had. … [Working at Nature Nate’s has] been life-changing and eye-opening—and beyond [our] being welcomed and understood and treated with so much love and respect, Nathan continues to share with us … the lessons and the roots that we find in [his] faith that guide everything we do.”

Several of Sheets’ employees have become believers through personal evangelistic efforts, but his overall focus is on demonstrating and encouraging biblical values. He does this in several ways, such as what he calls “Bee-attitudes”: “Bee passionate,” “Bee creative,” “Bee generous,” “Bee loving,” “Bee faithful” and “Bee honest.” The company rewards employees each month for exhibiting these characteristics. For instance, some employees chose to exercise the “Bee passionate” and “Bee generous” principles by spending their own money to buy needed supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

Nature Nate’s has also offered practical help to employees in a number of ways, including setting its minimum pay above minimum wage. Sheets’ employees have benefitted from his generosity and also have supported each other in times of need. The company also offers monthly financial management classes to any interested employee.

Innovating for Better Health

The concept of good stewardship pervades not only the work culture of Nature Nate’s but the company’s goals for the future too. Sheets lists his top three, the first of which is to give away $5 million.

“I used to say we want to be there by 2020,” he says, though he wants to take care that his goal doesn’t become a personal idol that consumes his focus.

Another goal on Sheets’ heart is to hire thousands.

“That’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people,” he says. “On one hand, it really excites me, and on the other hand, it really freaks me out because I know that if you create a machine like that, you’ve got to keep going and growing, and there’s just a lot to that.”

Sheets’ final goal for Nature Nate’s is to create better-for-you products that use honey instead of less-healthy sweeteners such as processed sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

In January, the company will launch four new nut butters, three jams, a syrup for Kroger and a single-serve snack for Walmart.

“We’re really driven by innovation,” Sheets says. “We don’t just want to be the No. 1-branded honey company in America. We want to be one of the No. 1 better-for-you food companies in America.”

The only way he sees these three goals coming to pass, though, is by depending on and emulating Jesus.

“It says in Ephesians that we’re to smell like the aroma of Christ,” Sheets says. “And as we live our lives and live in authenticity and transparency, people recognize that there’s just something different. It makes people inquire, ‘What’s different?’ And that’s what draws people to the Lord. So we just try to live that out.”

adapted from article by Jenny Rose Curtis, assistant online editor for the media group at Charisma Media 


Starbucks’ President Reveals 6 Leadership Traits That Led to His Success

Howard Behar is former president of Starbucks Coffee Company International and the author of It’s Not About The Coffee and The Magic Cup. During his tenure, he helped grow the company from 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He retired in 2007. He now dedicates a large part of his time to the development and education of future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of Servant Leadership. Writing for Inc, Marcel Schwantes, Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core, takes a look at an interview; with Bill Fox, co-founder of Container13 and editor of Forward-Thinking Workplaces™, Behar talks about the virtuous behaviors and mindset that guided him throughout his successful 21-year tenure manning the ship at Starbucks.

Six key (and often rare) principles for better leadership and a better life clearly stood out for me in this compelling interview.

1. Give your people room to make mistakes.

Behar was asked by Fox how more companies are able to create workplaces where employees’ voices matter and people thrive. He says, “The person who sweeps the floor chooses the broom.”

Behar is talking about giving a person in a specific role or function full authority, responsibility, and accountability to do their work. “You’ve got to give them room to make mistakes and to grow primarily as people first, and then as employees,” says Behar.

2. Remove fear with trust.

The freedom for employees to make mistakes can only occur with a strong foundation of trust in place. That’s where “people can begin to use their creativity because they lose that fear of being judged. They lose the fear of making mistakes,” says Behar.

In trustworthy settings, you’ll naturally find that people genuinely care about and encourage one another. But it starts with leaders setting the stage — giving their people responsibility and accountability to let them “choose their broom,” says Behar.

3. Serve one another.

“You know it’s not really employees and customers. That’s a word we all use to describe with [whom] we work and do business,” says Behar.

At the end of the day, what we’re really put on earth to do is serve another human being. Behar states, “It doesn’t make any difference what your job description is or what your title is; we’re all servers of human beings.”

4. Set expectations and get agreement.

When asked about what it takes to get an employee’s best performance, Behar believes that open and honest communication–lots of it–is critical for success. But it’s not just communicating. It’s setting clear expectations and getting agreement on those expectations that gets the employee’s full attention. It’s a feeling people get when they are trusted with responsibility and accountability.

Behar uses the example of family dynamics: “What allows your kids to give you their attention? It’s when they feel trusted and not judged,” says Behar. “When that happens, they open up to communication that gets closed down when they’re not. When you’re constantly after them, when you’re always setting rules and regulations then what happens? They close down” says Behar.

Behar says the same is true with workplace dynamics. Set clear expectations, gain agreement on those expectations, and “let them go for it.”

5. Treat people more like human beings, less like mere employees.

Behar was asked what people really lack and long for at work. He says, “Being treated with respect and dignity. Being dealt with as a human being and not an employee.”

In workplaces where people model and share common values like respect and dignity, there’s acceptance of one another: “People are allowed to be themselves at work, whatever that is — within the context of achieving the goals of the organization,” says Behar.

Leaders who respect and treat people with dignity also support their development as human beings. When Fox asked Behar what is the most important question a leader should be asking an employee, Behar replied, “What can I do to support you in the attainment of your own goals in the context of obtaining our family or our organization’s goals?”

6. Discover the truth of who you are.

Reflecting back on his professional journey, Behar shared a story of his own compelling self-discovery. At 26, he really didn’t know whom he was, what his values were, what he stood for, or what he wanted to accomplish in life.

Working at a furniture company at the time, his boss asked, “Howard, what do you love more — people or furniture?”

That hit him like a Mike Tyson punch to the gut. Being that he wanted to be the best in the home furnishings industry, for the first time Behar was confused about his true purpose in life.

He says, “Once I asked myself that question, it began a process of self-discovery. Trying to figure out, ‘Howard, who are you?’ ‘Do you love furniture?’”

He concluded that it wasn’t furniture that he loved, but people — working with people, being with people, and learning from people.

And most importantly, he says, “learning to manage me.”

As a servant-leader, the question of “who am I?” has been a lifelong journey of self-discovery for Behar. He says that he is still figuring out his mission and how he’s going to live his life.

“It’s constantly in my head. I’m always trying to deal with, ‘Who am I?’” says Behar.

Read the full interview.



More great advice from Dr Jim Harris: A common mistake for believers in business is to lead more from their natural leadership than from their supernatural leadership. Yet taking the leap from natural into supernatural leadership is much easier than you may think. Moreover, if you are only operating in the natural, you are ignoring the Holy Spirit (third person of the Trinity) who now lives within your Spirit. “The Spirit of man is the lamp  of Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.” Proverbs 20:27

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Here are the key differences with three compelling reasons to take the leap into supernatural leadership.

Too Much Natural Leadership?

natural adj: formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation; occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature; not marvelous or supernatural; operating in the physical world as opposed to the spiritual world.

supernatural adj: unable to be explained by explained by laws of nature; of or relating to an order or existence beyond the visible, observable universe & especially of or relating to God.

It is so easy—even tempting—to lead from the natural man. We live in a natural body, work in a natural work surrounded by millions of others who only attempt to leverage and grow their natural skills. So we fall prey to succumbing to the trap of natural leadership—just like so many others.

You may be leaning too much on your natural leadership if you currently struggle with:

  • What to do next
  • How to get there—wherever “there” is
  • Slugging through the status quo of doing the same things over and over
  • Desiring different, better results but never seeming to break through
  • Which leadership guru/expert to follow
  • Solving the same problems over and over
  • Motivating yourself or your team
  • Fear of losing your business, home or lifestyle

If any of these describes you, I suggest it is time for you take the leap into supernatural leadership.

Here are three big reasons to take the leap:

1. From education to revelation. “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

Natural leadership focuses on the wisdom of man. From secular business books, magazines and endless conferences and blogs, it is easy to over-educate our natural heads with worldly “wisdom.”

Supernatural leadership focuses not upon any person’s persuasive words and spiritual-sounding insights, but on the infallible, perfect wisdom of God.

2. From misled to Spirit-led. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

As I detail in my book Our Unfair Advantage (OUA), believers in business can be easily misled. From being head-led, expert-led, opportunity-led, money-led and more, natural leaders (like I was for decades) are easily misled by the latest and greatest stuff.

Supernatural leaders purpose in their hearts to only and always be led by the Holy Spirit, who will never mislead you. He will always guide you into all truth and help you position yourself and your business for—yes—supernatural growth and impact.

3. Human-powered to God-powered. “I can do nothing of Myself” (John 5:30a).

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me.'” (John 8:28).

“My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

Even Jesus could not operate as a natural leader. Think about that for a minute. Jesus gave up his heavenly throne and power (Phil. 2:5-8) to operate as a man of flesh, supernaturally led and employed by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus walked as a human who gave God permission to supercharge His natural gifts and to release more supernatural leadership gifts. So can you. Imagine the potential impact!

Get Ready to Take the Leap

Let’s revisit the natural leadership list from above. If you were to take the leap into supernatural leadership, would God through His Spirit tell you how to:

  • Know what to do next?
  • Get “there” and exactly where “there” is?
  • Break through your status quo?
  • Achieve different, better results?
  • Follow the one perfect leadership guru/expert (Jesus)?
  • Solve every problem once and for all?
  • Motivate yourself & your team?
  • Overcome your fear of losing your business, home or lifestyle?

Of course He would—and so much more.

As we take this journey together, my focus will be to guide and equip you on how to take the leap into a God-directed, Jesus-gifted, Holy Spirit-empowered supernatural future for yourself and your business.

Who’s ready to take the leap?

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award-winning business books.