What curriculum would you recommend for teaching Christian business ethics to business people?


(Manaén Yosef Stürenberg Herrera) #1

Hello friends,

I am looking for good advice and literature on christian business ethics. I have personally been inspired by this video (and many others) of Michael Ramsden talking about this specific issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiNxHLZCBDQ&t=1637s.

To give you some context: I am co-leading an initiative in our church in Cologne, Germany, for business people, called Business Lifegroups, and we are applying the EO-concept (https://www.eonetwork.org/) as my co-leader has made good experiences with this concept in his entrepreneurial live. Nevertheless, although we have made good experiences with this concept during the last semester, several people, including me, are looking for more. I have talked to our pastor about this issue and we agreed that we are here, even in business, to serve and expand the kingdom.

That’s why I am cordially asking for good and profound material to build a curriculum for our next semester so we can offer people in business adequate input that empowers them right away to do what they are called to do –even in their jobs!

To my person: I am 30 years old and am studying sociology (M.Sc.) and have always been interested in entrepreneurship and changing the way we do organisations and businesses. My wives and my vision is to see how every business, no matter which size, country or branch of industry, has a positive impact on society and we consider it our mission to empower entrepreneurs to design and build businesses that, apart from offering good services or products, disciple people and facilitate good.

I am looking forward to your answers, ideas, suggestions, resources, etc.!
Thank you very much!

Kind regards,
Manaen


(Albert Schmidt) #2

Hi Manaen,

great your church is looking into equipping business people. I think it is one of the best ways to spread the word and serve people. I myself have been self-employed the past 3,5 years and asked myself the same question. Since then, I’m involved with ICCC (International Christian Chamber of Commerce) in Germany. Their ministry were a great blessing for my personal and business life and sure pushed me through some hard times. They offer teaching lessons on how to be a light in the business world, so you maybe want to contact them here: https://iccc.de/
You don’t have to be a member at ICCC to attend their teachings.
Be asure that Christians from all denominations and hirarchies gather here to learn from each other. It’s not a classical church, but more a place to get equipped, streanghtened and then go back into your local church.

May the most high bless your work with business people.

Albert


(Gregg Johnston) #3

Hi @manaen,

One of the best books I have read on business ethics is called Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box. This book covers the concept of treating people in business as people, not as objects that are used to attain goals. While not overtly Christian, the book takes the Christian ethic of human dignity and applies it to a business environment… Highly recommend.

Gregg


(Manaén Yosef Stürenberg Herrera) #4

Hey @Albert, thanks for the recommendation! I will have a look at it and try to find out, if they will have something happening near/in Cologne. My experience so far with such networks is that they encourage people to excel and watch for integrity, but they do not really offer differentiating points when compared to secular networks. I know some secular networks and secular entrepreneurs that are even better than christians in doing good. But is good really all that being a christian is about?
I’m thinking about Jesus’ claim that only the pagans work to sustain and provide for their families and that we are not supposed to do so… What are your experiences in real life? How do you know how to decide even if this means loosing your job?


(Manaén Yosef Stürenberg Herrera) #5

Hello @greggpj,

thank you for you recommendation. I will certainly have a look on it. I just google the Arbinger institute and, although it is clear to me how an “others-inclusive outward mindset” resonates to christian ethics, I do not see any reference to an overtly christian worldview. Their white paper at least dos not give any scientific reference… Am I missing something or does the book explain it more clearly?

For me, the challenge is provide people in the business realm something the surely will not find anywhere else besides the Bible or the Judaeo-Christian Worldview. Those people we are attracting to our business lifegroups already know a lot (they really do!) and are already members of several different networks/clubs/etc. So the material and input I have to provide has to be unique and different from everything else.

Looking forward to your answer!

Manaén


(Gregg Johnston) #6

Hi @manaen,

While the Arbinger Institute is not an overtly Christian organization, the book I refer to, without mentioning any kind of religious affiliation, powerfully demonstrates the Christian ethic of human dignity in business. If you are only looking at resources that are overtly Christian in nature, you will be selling yourself VERY short. There are a lot of awesome materials out there that are aimed at non religious audiences, but are steeped in Biblical truth. If you reject material because they don’t affiliate with the Christian Faith, you are rejecting a lot of Godly material.

Gregg


(Albert Schmidt) #7

You mean doing good like in charity? Well, of course, secular people are doing good deeds as well. Which is awesome, but as Christians we know there is more to it.

What passage is this, could you please give me the verse so I can look it up?

Sorry, I don’t your question 100%. Do you mean my experience when it comes to deciding whether or not to follow Jesus in a business environment?

All the best, brother


(Manaén Yosef Stürenberg Herrera) #8

Of course! Here it is:
Matthew 6:31-32 (NIV) 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
For more clarification see also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiNxHLZCBDQ&t=1637s.

Actually, I am interested in experiences where following Jesus and acting according to your believe–that is maintaining integrity–might cost you a lot, even your job…


(Albert Schmidt) #9

Thanks Manaen.
Ok, I see. So, for me it was actually quitting my job. After I gave my life to Christ, this was a constant issue between us until one day in prayer I told him I’m ready and he said: then tell your boss tomorrow. So I did and that was the end of my well-paid, save job. People thought I’m crazy at that point. I then went on to found my own sales agency and in retrospect, even if it was a rough time, it was the best desicion of my life.
This, however, was more of a question of which direction my life should go, not about integrity.
I also had a small Amazon shop where I sold all kind of media stuff. Integrity played a bigger role there because I refused to sell new-age books which often times offer good profit.

For a friend of mine who own a business too, it means rejecting clients that want to avoid taxes by “creative billing solutions” and often times these are profitable projects.
So yes, if you are self employed and follow Jesus you will very soon encounter situations where you have make your desicion and it will often times cost you. But I’ve also seen the blessing our Lord brings to those businesses and it’s just incomparable.
Should you need more information, your questions are very welcome.