“Business People are not Christians.”
“Business People are not Christians.”

“Business People are not Christians.”

Greetings from Ghana, where I am ready to travel to the fourth city to present the message of “Work as Worship.”  I started presentations last week in Kumasi (west), then to Tamale (north), then to Navrongo (far north, almost to Burkina Faso border), and now to Ho (east).  Lots of driving this past week!  Thankful to God for safety! On Thursday, I will leave for Benin.

The quote in the title, “Business people are not Christians,” was spoken to me by a young pastor in Kumasi.  He continued by saying, “They are not Christians because Christians have given their whole selves to Jesus and business people clearly have not done that.”

Thankfully, by the end of the workshop, he had changed his perspective.  

But how sad that it was even spoken.  And I know that if it was spoken by one pastor, it was likely in the minds of others. 

There is such a tension between business people and pastors in many churches.  Recently I attended a service that included three offerings and six announcements of fees that were due.  If my pocket was empty, I would be inclined to stay home from church.  The same service announced about eight different programs that were going on during the week, encouraging all members to come.  While these programs are designed to be helpful with discipleship, they put a lot of pressure on those who are doing business six days a week, often for 10 hours a day (especially in cities where traffic is terrible), not to mention other obligations.

We had important discussions about the challenge of church attendance becoming the “end” or the goal, rather than transformed lives through whole-life discipleship.  Members who do not attend Sundays and Wednesdays and many of the other meetings can be viewed as “back-sliders” by the pastors.  Those who attend regularly are assumed to be “right with God.”

In the north, we had debates about whether pastors could be co-vocational – doing both business and pastoring a church.  Knowing the challenges of poverty faced by members in predominantly rural/agricultural settings, my tongue-in-cheek initial response was, “If your church isn’t paying you enough to take care of yourself and your family, then you should do business.  Otherwise, you may be tempted to become creative with trying to get more from members, charging fees-for-service for prayers and blessings.”  That got a good laugh (mostly because everyone knows that to be true) and then ensued a good discussion.I spent an afternoon with the youth (ages 20-40!) to talk about entrepreneurship and had excellent discussions about the need for each person to release their potential in order that others may also release their potential.  For example, a farmer produces crops, which when are consumed releases potential in the person eating the food.  Those people then do their work, maybe as a mechanic, which releases the potential of someone to drive from point A to point B to do their work.  And on and on.  We emphasized that you can’t do just one thing – everything is connected!

Sadly, starting a business is often viewed as a sign of failure for those who get a college education. So we talked about the value of being job makers and not just job seekers.  What a privilege to be able to provide a job for someone, where they can flourish and their family can flourish!

Lots of good and important discussion.  Discipling Marketplace Leaders stands on such a solid Biblical foundation that the debates that ensue can almost always be resolved by going to Scripture.  

But soooooo much work to do to help churches get a healthy theology of work and begin to understand the importance of teaching wealth creation and wealth management from God’s perspective.  

It looks like another denomination might formally join with DML and set up a workplace department, which will bring our partners in Ghana to four.  We thank God for what He is continuing to do and that we get to join Him!  Please continue to pray for the seeds planted!

Leaders for Assemblies of God in Northern Ghana