It seems that most Christian businesses struggle to succeed and often appear to have no better results than their non-believer counterparts. In some instances, they appear to fare less favorably than their non-believer counterparts in almost any metric you could use to measure success. This is an embarrassment both to the Lord and to the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. As members of the Body of Christ assigned to the business mountain1, it’s time that we address this antinomy to the Word of God and the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Is it possible that the reason Christian-owned businesses seem to obtain the same results as their non-believing counterparts caused partly by Christian businesses being organized, governed, and operated the same way as their non-believing counterparts? Perhaps it’s our businesses that need to become born-again and it’s time to take off the old corporate man which was formed in corruption and put on the new business formed in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If that premise is true, then it behooves us to understand how a kingdom business is organized, governed, and operated according to the Word of God and then make the necessary changes to our “born-again business” in order to bring our business in proper alignment with the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. The result of this “new birth” of our business should result in the type of abundant zōé life that Jesus promised us.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
It would take an entire book to describe the differences in how a kingdom business is operated differently compared to a traditional business operated by non-believers (the author is currently working on that book). The purpose of this article is to look at how a kingdom business might be organized and governed differently than the traditional business model using a biblically-based apostolic and prophetic leadership model which to date, has only been used on the church mountain.
The underlying premise of this proposed Kingdom Business Governance Model is that the apostolic and prophetic leadership model described in the Word of God applies to the Body of Christ, which both you and your business became part of when you became born-again, and is not just applicable to the local church. When your business becomes organized and governed as part of the Body of Christ with Christ as the head, then every decision you make will now be based upon His vision and mission for your company as part of His kingdom. It will no longer be based upon an internally focused Babylonian model, which is the model that the non-believer business world is using to govern and operate their businesses.
If this premise is true, then once our business becomes part of and starts operating as a kingdom business, we should then start seeing the types of success that will distinguish our business from our competitors, glorify the Lord, and make our business a sign and a wonder to the non-believer owned businesses.
In the pre-7Mountain paradigm, the gospel of salvation was preached without mentioning the larger gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. Preachers were mainly concerned with the message of salvation of souls and getting people born-again and ready to go to Heaven. The concept that it is our responsibility to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth was largely unknown and not taught2 Very little preaching was spent on teaching the Body of Christ what we are supposed to do now, while waiting to go to Heaven. One noted exception was the preaching of the Great Commission and the necessity for everyone to become involved in it somehow, without discussing how that would actually work for people who are not serving on the church mountain.
Unless you were called to the “five-fold ministry” (Eph 4:11), your business, talent, gifts, and experience were considered insignificant to the Body of Christ, except to the extent that you could use these gifts in the local church (e.g., musician, singer, administration, leadership, helps). Your business and life outside of the church were of little significance to the Body of Christ since the local church was in a “circle the wagons” mode and was largely concerned with getting people saved and ready to go to Heaven.
The local church’s involvement with other mountains or spheres of influence was limited to extraction operations to get the unsaved to come over to the local church mountain. The Body of Christ was in a defensive mode and not an offensive one. Rather than attempting to invade and take dominion over the other mountains, the local church was content to concede the other mountains to the unsaved, as long as the unsaved conceded to leave the church mountain alone.
Your business, or what your calling was on the business mountain before you became born-again, was seen as a method to generate finances for the local church and kingdom-related affairs, as well as putting bread on your family’s table. Your business was considered secular and almost defiled, and certainly not considered holy. Your mammon-focused business was unwelcome in the local church – except for the profits from your business, which were always well received and greatly appreciated.
Under the 7Mountain paradigm, the business mountain becomes one of the mountains or spheres of influence that are being brought into the Kingdom of Heaven so that the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Rev 11:15). Your business is now viewed as much a sacred calling to the business mountain as the preacher’s calling is to the local church mountain. Your business is now considered worship to the Lord and serves as much a purpose to fulfill the calling of the Body of Christ and serving a kingdom purpose, as the local church provides in worshiping and serving the Lord’s kingdom.
However, even under the 7Mountain paradigm, most Christian-owned businesses are being organized and governed the same way that they were organized and governed under the pre-7Mountain paradigm. They look no different in organization, and how they govern their business resembles the same way that unsaved people run their businesses. Even worse, is that they tend to be just as inwardly focused and motivated by the same spirits and purposes as their non-believing counterparts. They also tend to use the same metrics to define success which seems contrary, since our definition of success should be based upon a Kingdom of Heaven mission and viewpoint and not the principle of mammon-worship, which is based upon the spirits of fear, greed, and pride.
Is it possible that the reason Christian-owned businesses seem to obtain the same results that non-believer owned businesses obtain caused in part to conducting our business the same way that the world conducts their business? The operations of a business would include many facets but in this article we will focus on the governance of our kingdom business.
Governance comes from the Greek word kubernaō, which means to steer3 Governance is the act of governing an organization and the actions and processes that a ruling body employs to arise and sustain itself. This would include the organization of the company, corporate policies, rules and procedures for decision making in corporate affairs, the pursuit of corporate objectives, and how the organization interacts with stakeholders both inside and outside the company.
On a more practical level, the governance of a company determines why the company exists, the corporate identity, the purpose and mission of the company, what services or products the company shall provide, the target customers they intend to serve, and the processes, procedures, and ethics that the company will employ to meet their objectives while establishing their identity.
Perhaps what is needed is to establish the governance of your business similarly to the way the Body of Christ is organized according to the Bible. This new business governance model, although new to the business mountain, has already been used by some local New Testament churches. This new paradigm for business organization and governance would then put the governance of our businesses upon the Lord’s shoulders with Him as the head of our company (Isa 9:6-7, Col 1:18). Jesus would then be the head of our ekklesia (or business) and we could expect to see results commensurate with the kingdom promises of zōé life found in the Word of God.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33)
The Birth of a Kingdom Business
In order to understand the concept of your business becoming “born-again” and becoming part of the Body of Christ, we need to look closely at two Greek words: oikos and ekklesia which are often translated as “house or household” and “the church” or “The Church” respectively.
“They said, believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
In this scripture the word that is translated “household” is the Greek word oikos. In New Testament Greek it is used to refer to a house, a household, a family, a family’s lineage, and even a nation.4 In ancient Greece, wives, children, slaves, and even agricultural farms and livestock pens were considered part of a man’s oikos.
In the New Testament Greek, Acts 16:31 literally says “…and you will be saved, you and the house of you.” If only the jailer was being saved by his decision to become born-again, there would be no need to reference his house or household.
Another scripture that provides insight to how oikos represented more than one’s place of domicile is seen in Matt 23:28 where Jesus told the Jews that their house (oikos) would be left to them desolate because they did not recognize the time of their visitation. In His reference to oikos, He was referring to the city of Jerusalem and their people, their land and their government. The “house” of Jerusalem represented everything about Jerusalem including the land and the people living there. The word oikos in reference to Jerusalem did not simply refer to one person’s domicile in that city.
Although property and inanimate objects cannot become “born-again” since they lack a spirit and a soul, the Lord will take whatever you give Him and use it for His kingdom purposes. When given with the right heart, He will not only use it for His glory but bless those that give Him resources to use in His kingdom. This can be seen in His use of Peter’s boat to preach to the crowd on the shore and the accompanying catch of fish (Luke 5:1-4), and in the story of the boy giving Him his 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the 5,000 with 12 baskets left over (John 6:1-13).
The Lord will use whatever we give Him that is part of our oikos including our businesses, wealth, talents, gifts, and experiences – both good and bad. The Lord never wastes anything. But He will not use something that has not been given and dedicated to Him. Have you dedicated your business to Him yet? Has your business died in Christ so that it can be resurrected as a new creature, one that is dedicated for His use in any way He chooses? Perhaps it’s time that you baptize your business to Him.
The second Greek word that we want to look at before addressing this new Kingdom Business Governance Model is the word ekklesia.
“And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Eph 1:22-23)
In this scripture the word that is translated “the church” or “The Church” is the New Testament Greek word ekklesia, which is used to define an assembly, congregation, church, The Church, the whole body of believers. 5 It is used to define a group of believers who are called out of the world and to God. It is used in some scriptures when referring to the local church but in other scriptures when referencing The Church or the Body of Christ.
In the Pre-7Mountain paradigm, whether ekklesia was referring to the local church or The Church, had little significance since The Church was considered to be the summation of all of the local churches. The Kingdom of Heaven was believed to only apply to the church mountain and it was believed that the only interest that the Lord had with the other mountains was to get everyone off of those mountains and onto the church mountain. There was no such thing as a kingdom business under this paradigm.
Under the 7Mountain paradigm, the Lord wants to invade all of the mountains with His ekklesia. Which mountain were you on when you became born-again? That’s the mountain that the Lord wants to use you, as part of His ekklesia, to take dominion over that mountain and become the one who influences and shapes the culture of that mountain.
What did you have with you as part of your oikos on that mountain when you became born-again? Did you own a business? Were you in Hollywood making films? Were you a musician or artist? Were you a congressman running for re-election? Whatever talent, gifts, experiences, and resources that belonged to you when and where you became born-again, that’s what the Lord wants to use to advance His kingdom, the mountain on which you live and serve. But He will only use them as part of His ekklesia if they are given to Him as part of your oikos and dedicated for His use.
Can the Lord move people to different mountains and careers after they become born-again? Of course He can, and often will. However, under the 7Mountain paradigm, you no longer need to abandon your previous mountain and leave everything that you had on that mountain and come over to the church mountain. In fact, He might use you on multiple mountains including the church mountain, all at the same time!
But if the Lord wants to use you and your business (your oikos) as part of His ekklesia on the business mountain, what would your “born-again” kingdom business look like? How would it be organized and governed using biblically-defined kingdom principles? How would it differ in organization, governance, mission, and purpose from the non-believer’s business?
Before looking at a proposed Kingdom Business Governance Model, let’s take a look at the traditional corporate business organization and governance model. This will help us to understand the differences between the two models and the motivational spirit behind the two models that drive their decision making processes. When proposing a paradigm shift, it helps to present and understand the current paradigm to better understand the new paradigm.
This will be presented in the next newsletter edition in the coming weeks.
1It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the concept of the seven mountains or spheres of influence that was received as prophetic revelation by Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham in 1975. See Lance Wallnau’s The 7M Strategy DVD for more background on this concept.
2When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson, Destiny Image, 2003.
3Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 276.
4Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 42.
5Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 313.
Jeff Ahern is an author, public speaker, and former Naval Officer who has provided management consulting and business process improvement services to Fortune 500 and Government clients for over twenty years. He is co-founder of Sozo Services, Inc., a spiritual advisory firm helping business leaders succeed and achieve their personal and corporate goals by using Biblical, Spirit-led solutions.