Category Archives: Build a Kingdom Business

Christian Faith Plus Chinese Productivity

At first glance, it looks as though it could be any other factory driving the rapid development of the Chinese economy. But this is no ordinary enterprise because here religious faith is as important as profit.

In fact, the owner of the Boteli Valve Group in Wenzhou would like to see all his staff convert to Christianity.

And such a factory is not a one-off: it is part of a growing number of businesses run by Christian entrepreneurs in one of China’s key enterprise zones, whose success is now being studied by the Chinese government.

As he shows me the production facilities, the factory’s general manager, Weng-Jen Wau, tells me that every month, $5m (£3m) worth of industrial valves are manufactured.

About 40% of the factory’s output is exported to businesses worldwide.

But he seems to have limited interest in the sales figures – he is far more concerned to tell me about the place his family’s Christian faith has in the life of the factory.

‘Better workers’

Every Monday morning, the senior managers gather together and pray about the business.

Once a week, members of staff are encouraged to attend an on-site Christian fellowship meeting, where they read the Bible and pray for each other.

Weng-Jen Wau believes that by encouraging increasing numbers of his staff to convert to Christianity, his business will prosper.

And he tells me that when staff do convert to Christianity, their attitude towards their work is transformed.

“If you’re a Christian you’re more honest, with a better heart,” he says. “The people who aren’t Christians aren’t responsible. I think it’s very different.

“I’m not saying those people who aren’t Christians are all bad, but from the percentage of the workers who are Christians, they seem to be more responsible.

“Also when they do things wrong, they feel guilty – that’s the difference,” he explains.

One of the workers I met who had recently converted to Christianity explained that he had known nothing about the religion before he started work at the factory.

BBC map

But he said that his new-found faith was now a source of daily inspiration.

He told me that he was now trying to convert his friends and colleagues to Christianity.

“If everybody became a Christian, it would have a very big impact, and would really help the development of our factory,” he said.

Work ethic

So I asked Mr Wau how much religion was a factor when he was recruiting new staff.

“Of course I would choose the Christians first, definitely,” he said.

Such comments could prompt accusations of discriminatory practice in some countries, but he had no doubt about the sort of impact Christianity could have on Chinese business.

“I think if all enterprises absorb this Christian culture, we will have a much more harmonious society,” he said.

There are obvious questions about whether the staff really have discovered Christianity, or whether they are simply responding pragmatically to a clearly defined vision for their company.

Those I met were keen to stress the significance of their new faith, and the lack of pressure to convert – though there was no disguising their bosses’ clear desire to boost Christian numbers in the workforce.

But the wider role of Christian entrepreneurs in the economic success of the Wenzhou private enterprise zone has not gone unnoticed by the Chinese government.

Far from being regarded as a religious oddity, the impact of Christian-run businesses is now being studied by Chinese government officials.

At the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, I met Professor Zhuo Xinping, Director of the Institute of World Religions.

He specialises in the study of Christianity’s growing influence in China – and has plenty to say about Wenzhou’s Christian entrepreneurs.

He tells me that the city was visited by substantial numbers of Western Christian missionaries during the 19th Century and thus has – by Chinese standards – a long history of Christian faith.

Today it has an unusually high number of Christians for a Chinese city – with some estimates suggesting Christians now make up 20% of the population.

But what really interests him is the way in which the growth of Christianity and economic prosperity have happened side by side.

The Boteli Valve Group in Wenzhou, China
Image captionThe factory has a monthly output worth $5m

He tells me that Chinese researchers are considering whether in Western history there is a link between economic prosperity and Protestant Christianity – and they are questioning what that might mean for today’s China.

“It’s very important to find the secret of social development, the so-called potential forces for a nation,” he says.

“When it comes to Western countries, the majority Chinese understanding is that this potential force is Protestant Christianity.”

Christian faith may sound like an unlikely component in China’s future economic success.

But the notion that newfound faith can inspire a workforce to increased levels of productivity is being taken seriously not only by Christian businessmen, but by China’s Communist – and officially atheist – leaders

What Would the World Be Like if We All Loved Our Jobs?

When you wake up in the morning, are you filled with excitement about the prospect of a new day at work, or do you dread the thought of having to make it through yet another day of drudgery? A great question which we will often answer in the negative! But what would it be like in the positive? Asked and answered by one of Inc’s finest, author and futurist Jacob Morgan @JacobM.

What Would the World Be Like if We All Loved Our Jobs?

If you’re like much of the population, you fall into the latter category and disdain going to work. Surveys have found that only 13% of people around the world actually like going to work–an astoundingly low number.

Low employee engagement can lead to a number of problems, including low office morale, physical ailments, and emotional disorders. Employees who don’t like their jobs, especially when they work together, tend to feed off each other, which can cause distress in many other areas of an employee’s life and lead to more sickness and familial problems.

What would the world be like if we all loved our jobs? Think of the power of that question. To start, the emotional and physical problems from having to spend hours a day in an unsupportive environment would go away or be mitigated. People would likely be much happier and spread that happiness to their personal lives. Think of the potential of what problems society could work together to overcome. With a world of engaged employees who are excited about what they are doing, we could solve some of the world’s biggest problems and bring people together in new ways.

There are a number of reasons people dread going to work: it could be that the work itself isn’t challenging or engaging, the management is difficult to work with, the pay and benefits are lower than the employee would want, co-workers are difficult, the culture isn’t a good match, and many other reasons. And while we may not be able to create a world where every single person loves his or her job, each company can work towards creating that environment in their own office. Imagine what could happen with a full team of engaged and passionate employees–goals and success would likely be higher than ever. Every person deserves to work for an organization that they feel deserves their time and attention to be there.

In order to create this ideal environment, management needs to be on the same page with employees. The right to love your job doesn’t arrive once you hit a certain level or get a promotion–employees at all levels should be excited to come to work. Start a dialogue with honest conversations about what employees like and dislike about their work environment. For some organizations, this happens through town hall meetings or performance reviews, while others use anonymous surveys. Those results can point leadership in the starting direction. If a majority of employees feel unengaged because of the physical office space, management knows that one of its first steps should be reevaluating the office and perhaps creating something that better meets the needs of employees.

Creating an engaged environment isn’t a one-time thing, however. The best companies keep the conversation going and involve employees in the entire process. Constantly asking employees about their ideas for the future and their thoughts on the progress of the company gives leaders at all levels a metric of how their efforts are playing out. Being flexible and listening to employee feedback creates a cohesive environment where people are happy, engaged, and productive.

Everyone around the world deserves to wake up excited to go to work, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. While we can’t control what is happening other places, we can focus on what we can control: our own attitudes and the environment in our organization. By putting a bigger emphasis on employee happiness and engagement, organisations can reach new levels of productivity and success.

The Mega-Goal of Five-Fold Leadership

Three Goals of Five-Fold Leadership

“And He [Jesus] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16

Whenever God repeats something in the Word, it is important. Clearly within these six verses are three distinct goals mentioned (in different ways) at least two times each. The highlighted words wrap themselves around these three obvious goals:

Goal #1: Edify/edifying/fullness = building up unto completion

Goal #2: Unity/knitted together = agreement, oneness

Goal #3: Growth = progressive development, increase

Notice that the Lord does not stop with these three measurements, but continues toward the one mega-goal.

The Mega-Goal of Five-Fold Leadership

The mega-goal five-fold leadership is not about your leadership anointing or even the edification, unity, and growth of your teams. It is ultimately about love (good will, benevolence, affection).

The only way to achieve the mega-goal of love is to take your focus off measuring the depth of your unique leadership gifts, and instead, focus your attention on measuring the edification, unity and growth of your teams in love.

Jesus’ final exam is based upon on how well you release His leadership gifts toward love. Unless you move beyond the gifts themselves into a focus on His outcome of the gifts, you totally miss His purpose for the gifts.

Therefore, to avoid falling into the tantalising trap of five-fold leadership, measure all your leadership efforts in love.

JESUS IS LORD – AND THEREFORE CHAIRMAN OF YOUR BOARD

Have you really given up everything for Christ?  Is He really LORD?Are you operating your business based on biblical principles out of a sense of religious duty or a recognition that your business is God’s business?  What are you holding back from the Lord?

 How do we glorify God

“So when they brought their boat to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”  —  Luke 5:11  

There is a difference between doing things for God and letting God do things through you, seeing Him as Saviour and seeing Him as Lord.

In chapter five of the book of Luke, Jesus gets into the boat of Peter the fisherman to preach the Gospel.  Once he completes His message, Jesus, recognising that Peter is a business man and that he and his partner caught nothing all night, turns to Peter and gives him some fishing tips.  Little did Peter know that the advice Jesus offered would produce probably the greatest one-time fishing harvest that Peter and his business partners have ever experienced. Moved by this experience, Peter comes to realise that the Man he is dealing with is the Lord, and he makes Him his Savior.  Upon making Him his Savior, Jesus speaks destiny into Peter’s life: “From now on I will make you a fisher of man.”  Peter and his partner, without hesitation, forsake all and follow Jesus.  They make Him their Lord.

Have you had a marketplace experience with Jesus?  Beyond His role as the Savior of your soul, have you made Him the Lord of your life and business? 

Can I suggest one simple change: your Board Room becomes the Prayer Room and the chair at the head of the table JESUS chair. Whenever you can’t agree on the way froward then STOP and go to the Chairman.

In Luke 18:18, a rich young ruler comes to Jesus with a request for what he must do to obtain eternal life.  Jesus’ response is that the man must obey the commandments, and the rich young ruler responds saying that he has done so from his youth.  Then, Jesus instructs him to forsake all and follow him, but the rich young ruler goes away sad, because he feels he has too much to lose.

What was the difference between the rich young ruler and Peter and his partner?  Why were Peter and his partner so quick to forsake all, while the rich young ruler was disheartened by the very mention of loss.

Peter and his Partner   

 Rich Young Ruler 

 Recognized Jesus as Savior & Lord

 Only saw him as Savior

 Desired the Righteousness of Christ

 Self-righteous

 Humble

 Prideful

 Were not attached to their  possessions

 Attached to his  possessions

 Saw their possessions as really the  Lord’s

 Saw possessions as his

 Focused on the salvation of men

 Focused on acquiring  things

 Received the crown of Glory

 Lost his soul

It is easy for us to think that once we put on the kingdom business “hat” and take a Biblical Entrepreneurship class, we are suddenly right with God and can receive His blessing.  Not so, God is looking for us to follow Him and surrender our all for His sake.  He wants us to let Him take the wheel of our life and business.  Like the rich young ruler, you may have done all that is required to receive eternal life according to the law, since you committed your life and business to Him. But have you truly surrendered your life and business to Him?  Evaluate yourself and your business today and ask the Lord to show you those areas of your life that you still need to forsake for Him.

My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to forsake all and follow Him through your life and business, making Him not just your Lord but your Savior as well.

Inspired by article by Patrice Tsague, Nehemiah Project International Ministries.

Is Five-Fold Leadership Relevant for Business Today?

This is a breakthrough insight which ever Christian business person needs to grasp and apply.

bible-with-light-on

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:11

Paul records that Jesus (“…He Himself…”) anoints some believers with supernatural leadership gifts. Indeed, these roles are critical to the functioning of any faith group. But are they relevant outside the four walls of the church? Could they be just as relevant in the marketplace as they are in the pews?

4 Key Words

The four key words in the next verse give us insight into answering this question.

“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

Equipping (katartismos) is defined as making fit, preparing, training, perfecting, making fully qualified for service.

Saints (hagios) means those that believe, the morally blameless & consecrated ones.

Work (ergon) means the business, labour, employment, that which anyone is occupied, effort or occupation.

Edifying (oikodome) means the act of building up, to promote growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness.

This scripture does not say Jesus gave five-fold ministry to only serve the local church, but to equip all the saints for work. And since 98% of His saint’s work in the marketplace, it is reasonable if not mandatory that these saints be equipped and released to operate in their gifts in the marketplace – not just inside the church.

Isn’t the marketplace the primary place for saints to do the work of the ministry?Already Active

Most secular organisations already apply five-fold leadership without realising its Biblical roots and foundation. These companies leverage such leadership gifts as:

  • founders and entrepreneurs, visionaries, pioneers who push into new territories (Apostles)
  • strategists, planner and evaluators, sees opportunities and marketplace needs (Prophets)
  • sales, public relations, marketing, promoters who spread the good news & inspire the team to grow (Evangelists)
  • local managers, team builders, culture-shapers, human resource and work environment managers (Pastors)
  • trainers, teachers, explainers, and coaches who integrate truth into practical actions (Teachers)

My Leadership Gifts Revelation

Recently it dawned on me that over the past 30 years, I was walking in my leadership gift roles — and did not realise it. And much of that time, I was not actively walking with the Lord.

Yes, I was saved and with salvation, Jesus gave me two primary leadership gifts: being able to peak around the corner and see what was coming down the road in talent, leadership, and business culture (Apostle) along with the skill, desire, and ability to study and explain these truths in simple, profound ways (Teacher).

Now I realise (and have been ordained) that I have been gifted by Jesus with a special anointing in two areas where He can supernaturally lift my work far beyond my natural leadership abilities, resulting in far greater marketplace and kingdom impact than before.

Stepping into Your Supernatural Leadership Gifts

As I wrote in my previous blog, supernatural leadership is simply taking the leap into allowing the Holy Spirit and the gifts of Jesus to be fully functioning in your professional/business life.

Over the next five posts, I will introduce you to each of the five-fold leadership gifts. As we explore these leadership roles together, my prayer is that Jesus will reveal to you through the Holy Spirit’s witness (Romans 8:16) your one or two primary leadership gifts. (We’ll save discussion on all the other spiritual gifts for later).

As you discover your unique gift(s), you will then realize the key channels through which Jesus desires to release His leadership power through you (Ephesians 3:20) to manifest Himself in transforming your marketplace for His glory.

Anybody out there ready to discover and unleash your supernatural leadership gifts?

About Dr. Jim Harris

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.

Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

This prophecy is by Dr. Steve Greene. He is the publisher and executive vice president–Media Group, Charisma Media

While writing my Greenelines blog early this morning, I stopped to answer an email and was nudged to open a new writing window and began to type this fresh word for several readers today. I don’t know for whom, but I believe the specificity of the word will call you out. Your spirit will bear witness.

“As you grow closer to Me, I will draw nearer to your business. If I am Lord of your life, I will be Lord of your business. I long for your business to honour Me as I rain down upon it.

How do we glorify God

The increase that I will give you is coming. This season of growth will be like none other you have experienced. New doors will open to a new people. You will think new thoughts and do a fresh work. Others have not done this work. Behold! I give you a new path. You’ve been walking the path I intended for others. This new path is your path.

Know that I will be with you as you move with the gifts and specific knowledge I have given to you.

Do not look to the left or to the right, but along the path I will direct. Set your eyes upon Me, and I will do what I have promised.

Do not try to be like others or join others along their paths. This is a new thing that I intend for you. The path is blessed. Your gifts will be multiplied as you lead others along this way. This is a path of business that I have birthed in you. I will bless others through you as you travel this path. Fear not, for I am saying to you on this day, in this way, that I have prepared hearts and minds to receive you and this new work.

My words will not surprise you today. Lead the people I have given to you with this fresh anointing. I am in this work. I will bless many through you. This is the word of the Lord.”

There is no doubt God will bless you as you draw nearer to Him, so if you spend time in His word and in prayer you can expect improvement not only in your business but your life as a whole.