Executive Summary

EVERY SUNDAY, preachers assure listeners in the pews that they can experience abundance and enjoy great blessings if they are faithful. Congregants may leave the church services with much hope but many burdens. The business leader wanting to practice what is preached may feel defeated as he or she goes into the secular marketplace and tries to live out the Christian faith. Too often, the encouraging message proclaimed from the pulpit does not extend beyond Sunday morning and outside the church campus. Why?

This book will explain how the biblical values proclaimed from the pulpit are relevant to leaders seeking to create value in the marketplace. It will show how the blessings promised throughout Scripture are often given more to covenant communities than to individuals. The following chapters illustrate how reflecting Christ's covenantal character helps business leaders unite teams in productive efforts to improve results for shareholders, staff, clients, and the community.

Values proclaimed from the pulpit can inspire leaders to shine light into darkness by following biblical principles and reflecting the character of Christ. God's light illuminates festering sins such as greed, pride, anger, envy, lust, gluttony, and laziness. Each chapter gives examples of common sins in business organizations, shows how sinful behaviors are rooted in the seven deadly sins, and inspires believers to reflect God's character by rising above that sin. The authors focus on showing how leaders can triumph over the temptations and darkness that surround them every day by relying on the Bible as a victory manual.

To overcome darkness with light, Christians are called to imitate Christ's character through relationships that reflect the character of Christ to people around us. See, e.g., 1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 11:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:9, Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 13:7, and 3 John 11.

Reflecting Christ's character1 starts with understanding2 and following Him.3 The character of Jesus in the New Covenant reflects God as seen throughout covenants in the Old Testament. These covenants show a consistent pattern of six elements in the same sequence, as explained in endnote 4 at the end of this executive summary.4 This book will explain the six covenantal elements with biblical references and provide practical examples of successful business enterprises defined by covenantal relationships

The six elements of the divine covenants will be explained with 16 chapters, as shown on the chart below. The chapters are organized into six sections that begin with a brief summary of how each section helps the reader reflect a different dimension of divine character.

The sixteen chapters are focused on translating common themes from Sunday morning sermons into practical advice to equip business leaders to make a difference each day. This book can better empower people to have a daily impact than can most traditional Christian business books. Throughout each of the sixteen chapters, the reader should see clearly how values proclaimed from the pulpit can translate into clear value evident on bar charts tracking bottom-line results. The values are made practical through a simple focus on shared mission, vision, and values, roles, goals, controls, work flows, and cash flows.

God lights the pathway for business success when leaders follow this covenantal model on individual, team and corporate levels. On an individual level, knowing the six main dimensions of divine character helps the individual draw closer to Christ.

Seeing How Divine Character Is Revealed through Covenants
Seeing Abundant Resources and Developing a Vision for Stewarding Them
Knowing and Living Your "Why": Vision and Mission
Driving True Success through Commitment to Divine Core Values
Governing the Board to Speak with One Voice
Unifying the Management Team with Clear Roles, Goals, Workflows, Cashflows, and Controls
Developing Respect for Spiritual Authority through Training, Mentoring, and Discipleship
Stewarding Time, Talent, Treasure, and Trust with Biblical Principles
Managing Staff with Biblical Principles
Managing Risk with Biblical Principles
Encouraging Peacemaking Based on Biblical Principles
Improving Shareholder Benefits
Optimizing Staff Benefits
Prospering Your Customers
Investing in the Community
Investing in the Future through Succession Planning

Knowledge of His revelation (element 1) and purposes (element 2) lead a believer to confess human weakness (element 3), ask for strength in following divine precepts (element 4), experience the blessings of obedience (element 5), and use blessings to extend the Kingdom through Christ-centered churches, families, and governments (element 6).

On a team and corporate level, believers can more effectively unite in building Christ-centered organizations when they are committed to identifying God-given strengths and opportunities (element 1); articulating divinely-guided purpose and mission statements (element 2); following spiritually mature authorities (element 3); honoring godly management principles and priorities (element 4); consistently committing to advance the well-being of key stakeholders, staff, customers, and the community (element 5); and building succession plans to perpetuate values that make the enterprise successful (element 6). The call to action is for leaders to make a shared commitment to uphold these six elements of divine character.

Every chapter shows how following this covenantal model helps business owners and managers reflect God's character by overcoming darkness with light.5 The 16 chapters each start with a case study that contrasts leading in light with succumbing to darkness. The case studies identify key issues, describe relevant biblical principles, and apply the principles to the issues in the case. The application involves "How-to Steps" for reflecting the light and suggests techniques and conflict management principles to confront darkness. Each chapter ends with questions that help the leader assess the extent to which their corporate culture bears the marks of God's covenantal character. Business owners and managers are encouraged to take the assessment tests and together commit to improving how they reflect the six elements of divine character.

In each chapter, you will see case examples of ways that light overcomes darkness caused by the seven deadly sins. From the case studies, the reader should learn how to spot core sins and overcome the darkness with light. Here is a brief summary of how darkness is confronted with light:

  • In Chapter 2, read how Bill, who got fired from his job and was burdened by debt, tapped into six non-financial resources to develop a thriving business.
  • In Chapter 5, read how Ben, the founder and leader of a growing international ministry, watched a few selfinterested board members violate God's principles while hijacking the board and misappropriating donated property for personal benefit. Learn how a CEO can select a qualified board that upholds his or her values and affirms the strategic plan to prevent such a catastrophe.
  • In Chapter 6, read how the SEC raided William's business and uncovered breaches in compliance standards that shut down operations. See how the CEO can avoid being vulnerable to the SEC and other regulatory agencies.
  • In Chapter 7, read how Nick, a co-founder of a growing business, was sorely dejected when his partner unexpectedly abandoned the business. See how a mentor stepped into the fray and helped Nick turn a disgrace into a blessing by rebuilding the business founded on God's principles and creating a prosperous enterprise.
  • In Chapter 8, read about how Jerry built a multi-million-dollar business by championing God’s stewardship principles but then risked losing everything to creditors. In deciding to move from success to significance, he sold his business to fund charities, but self-seeking financial advisers urged him to leverage his sales proceeds in aggressive investment portfolios. See how the seller of a company must not assume that expertise with building business value equips the seller to build value in an investment portfolio. Learn how to transfer a business to successor owners and managers without selling out to the wrong financial advisers and buyers.
  • In Chapter 9, read about how Nick, founder and CEO, built a prosperous business by transforming the secular business model in the construction industry into a Spirit-led business model and culture.
  • In Chapter 11, read about how Tony, a committed Christian, received repeated negative and disparaging emails from a manger in his company. The ripple effect was to undermine respect for Tony, damage employee morale, and harm customers. See how the chaplain guided Tony on how to use biblical peacemaking principles to shed light into the darkness.
  • In Chapter 13, learn what biblical principles can create a positive environment for increasing employee engagement to overcome the staggering Gallup report that 70% of employees are disengaged at work. (Disengaged employees do the least to get by or actively undermine the mission and values of the company while engaged employees are enthusiastic and committed to the company.)
  • In Chapter 14, read about how Marian, founder and CEO of Turbocam, dealt with an irate client who demanded a discount even though he did not fulfill his part of the contract. Learn what godly principles work for gaining long-term, loyal customers.
  • In Chapter 15, read how a senior leader was driven by money at the expense of family, friends, and church activities, pulling his subordinates down with him. Learn God's principle of giving and how God entrusts money to us that should be invested in the community of a company for optimum results.
  • In Chapter 16, read about Dr. Robert Clinton's study of biblical, historical, and contemporary leaders, which revealed that only one in three leaders finished well. Learn what six character qualities distinguish those who finish well from those who don't.

God's light and character can be experienced on an individual, team, and company level. If the leader is respecting God's teachings, the leader and people around him will enjoy the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. 6 When the leader allows God's spirit to guide him, people should see the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace7 and a glimpse of the Kingdom on earth.8 As team members foster trust through committing to God's teachings, the business undergoes a realignment of principles, priorities, teamwork, productivity, and innovation. These fruits inspire people to know and reflect divine character qualities more actively.

This book will help you reinforce healthy behaviors, spot dysfunctional behaviors, identify core issues, apply scriptural truths to confront the issues, and build businesses where the leaders and team members walk in God's light. God's light can help each Christian business leader experience the fruits of the Spirit more consistently while building teams and organizations that enjoy God's abundance more fully.

When a business person leaves the church campus after hearing the pastor preach about God's light, the darkness can be overwhelming. Light has come into the world, but the people prefer darkness for their deeds are evil.9 Take heart! This book will show you how to respond to the seven deadly sins by practicing divine virtues. You will see how you can reflect covenantal character to build productive teams. Most important, you can apply the teachings on the following pages to effectively unite with Christ and fellow Christians while experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in abundance.

1 Ephesians 5:1.
2 Philippians 3:10-12, 1 John 4:7.
3 See John 10:27, 12:26, and 21:8, John 4:7.
4 For example, the six elements of the Biblical covenant are evident in the stories surrounding these business relationships in Scripture. The stories surrounding each passage below shows how the Biblical characters, 1) appreciated God's revelation and resources, 2) respected divine purposes, 3) honored authority, 4) followed Biblical principles, 5) realized blessings, and 6) extended divine influence. At www.ReflectingGod.info/Business6Elements, see a summary of how the above six elements apply to the following business structures:

Limited Partnership Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 16:1-6)
General Partnership Johoshaphat and Abah (2 Chronicles 1:8)
Buy-Sell Agreement Abraham buying land from Ephron (Genesis 23:10-20)
Employer-Employee Relationship Jacob working for Laban (Genesis 29-30)
Lender to Borrower Bond-servants (Nehemiah 5:5)
Corporation Local Church (Hebrews 13:7)
Family Business David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:11-12)

5 See, e.g., Psalm 74:20.
6 Galatians 5:22.
7 Ephesians 4:3.
8 Matthew 6:10.
9 John 3:19.