Max De Pree writes in his book, Leadership Is An Art, the first task of a leader is to define reality; therefore the first task of a Christian businessman is to define business as mission (9). According to C. Neal Johnson, business as mission is simply defined as, “a for-profit commercial business venture that is Christian led, intentionally devoted to being used as an instrument of God’s mission to the world, and is operated in a cross-cultural environment” (28). A cross-cultural environment is not necessarily around the world, today the world is moving to larger cities (Swanson and Williams 36).
This definition implies that understanding business as mission means businessmen must minister to their employees, while also using the office setting as a place of evangelism– engaging the community in which the business works, both locally and globally (Johnson 28). Simply, business as mission is having a Kingdom minded approach that will impact and transform people’s lives, societies, and spiritual condition (Johnson 30). It is having great belief that the Lord can and will use business to impact the world for His mission. This concept is very evident in countries presently closed to the gospel (Rundle and Steffen 19).
Understanding this simple working definition is not enough to propel a businessman to see his office as mission. Some businessmen believe they are already operating their organization as mission. However there are some distinguishing features of what is not business as mission that helps clarify Johnson’s definition.
First, a Christian businessman may simply see business and mission as two isolated activities, activities that should never mix (Johnson 30). Second, a businessman might view his business for mission, which is simply using financial proceeds as a way of financing mission (Johnson 30). Third, if the businessman observes his business as a platform for mission, then he is channeling mission throughout the world through work (Johnson 30). Lastly, if the businessman hires nonbelievers or uses other comparable means with a view to just share Christ, then that is mission in business (Johnson 30).
Simply put, the organization must be willing to focus on complete and total transformation of the person and community to Christ. Business as missions is part of the mission of God in the world, a holistic view. “The holistic mission of the Kingdom is to take the whole Gospel, to the whole man, by the whole church, to the whole world. This is our mandate and our task,” writes Johnson (41).
For the Christian businessman to operate business as mission, he must strive to have an organization that embodies the characteristics of an organization operating as a great commission company.
De Pree, Max. Leadership Is An Art. New York: Dell, 1990. Print.
Johnson, C. Neal. Business As Mission. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009. Print.
Rundle, Steve, and Tom Steffen. Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions. Dowers Grove: IVP Books, 2003. Print.
Swanson, Eric, and Sam Williams. To Transform A City. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. Print.