Theology for Business (Keynote Address)
This is the keynote address I gave for the recent event “For Whose Glory: Exploring Faithful Practice in Life, Leadership and Business.” Below I’ve included a brief outline of my talk. The video also includes all slides from my presentation. Like it? Visit my speaking page by clicking the menu above.
I. Introduction: What is the purpose of business?
- The answer from business culture
- The answer from church culture
- The answer from conferences like this
Thesis: Christian theology is just as important for your business life as finance, operations or sales, customers or employees.
II. First, the doctrine of CREATION and FALL calls us to THINK THEOLOGICALLY about the purpose of business.
- The purpose of business is to provide for the needs of world by serving customers and creating meaningful work, while giving glory to God.
- It provides
- The goods and services we depend on every day
- Meaningful work
- The wealth we need to afford those goods and services
- Business is an extension of God’s own work of creation
- The Fall impacted both our work and our business, which we see most clearly in the Prophets
- Idolatry causes injustice
- The hinge between provision and oppression is the God we worship in business life.
- “For whose glory?” is a critical questions which will determine how we answer the question of the purpose of business.
III. Second, the doctrine of the TRINITY calls us to EMBRACE RELATIONSHIPS.
- The American workforce is stressed, disengaged, and unhappy (Gallup/BCG Research)
- God is relationship – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and healthy businesses are bound together through healthy relationships based on a foundation of trust.
IV. Third, the doctrine of the RESURRECTION calls us to CREATE GOOD WORK.
- We tend to not talk about business at church because we don’t think it’s a part of the gospel, or “good news”
- The resurrection calls us to think more comprehensively about redemption, creation, and, thus, our work.
- Our daily work matters because God is redeeming not just individual souls but all of creation.
V. Fourth, the doctrine of VOCATION calls us to SEEK DEEP SPIRITUAL HEALTH.
- The exhilaration and speed of business life rarely affords us the opportunity to slow down and ask “Who are we becoming?”
- The word vocation comes form the latin root vox, or voice: it’s about responding to the voice of God in the day to day lives, including our business decisions.
VI. Finally, the CROSS calls us to SERVE OTHERS SACRIFICIALLY.
- Central to the gospel is that Christ gave his life for ours.
- It’s one thing to talk about customer service in our business, or even creating a company of “love.” But it’s another to talk about sacrificial love.
- Boaz was a model “Christian business leader,” as he calls us to hire and care for the “Ruth’s” of our day.
VII. Conclusion: Christian faith calls us to think theologically about the purpose of business, to embrace relationships, to create work in a spirit of hope, to admit our flaws as we seek deep spiritual health, and to serve others sacrificially in our city.