The Non-Believer’s Business Governance Model
In today’s corporate world, most corporations are organized around functional areas (e.g., Sales & Marketing, Finance & Accounting, Production, Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities). The heads of these functional units will generally be a director, vice president, or even a senior vice president. Each head of a functional unit will report to the Chief Executive Officer, who in turn reports to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors reports to corporate stockholders. What do they report on? They report on various factors that determine whether or not the company is achieving their goals; most of which are defined financially. A typical corporate organization chart is shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Standard Corporate Organizational Chart
The focus of the non-believer’s corporate governance is to create an organization that is productive, profitable, and accountable to the stockholders. The purpose of the business is to succeed and have increasing growth in sales, profits, customers, number of employees, assets, etc. The mission and purpose of the business can be summed up in three words: more, more, and more.
Success is defined from a vision that is largely inwardly focused and is based upon feeding the flesh or sin nature of man. Since God is external to the traditional business model, humanism is the god that is being worshiped and exalted (Look at what we have accomplished!)
The governance of the non-believer’s business model is based upon the worship of mammon and the underlying spirits that motivate people to worship mammon (fear, greed, and pride). To better understand the motivating spirits behind the non-believer business governance model, we need only look at the tower of Babel.
They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise, we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen 11:4)
There are at least three sin natures behind the decisions that motivated these ancient Babylonians to build the tower of Babel. These sin natures can be summarized as the lust of the flesh (a tower whose top reaches into the Heaven), the pride of life (make for ourselves a name), and the fear of man (lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the earth). The tower of Babel itself was not sinful, but the motivational spirits behind the purpose of the tower were rooted in man’s basic sin nature (1John 2:6).
The Babylonian system became an idolatrous nation and an economy since they based their source of provision and fertility upon the worship of the false god Ammon Re (from which we get the spirit of mammon)1 . Our current worldly economic system which is based upon a dependence on the trade or barter of goods or services and one’s paycheck to receive provision, descends from the Babylonian system and worship of their gods. By rejecting the Lord as their provider and not trusting His goodness and faithfulness to provide for us richly, the world is forced to earn a living by the sweat of their brow. Is it any wonder that in the book of Revelation the non-believer kings of this world will weep and lament when Babylon, this great harlot of the economic world whom they have worshipped and served, is destroyed? (Rev 18:9)
Governance is the act of governing an organization and what a governing body does, including the establishment of corporate policies, rules and procedures, and how a company will pursue their objectives. Before looking at the Kingdom Business Governance Model, let’s take a closer look at the spirits of mammon, greed, and fear that are behind the decisions that drive a non-believer governance model.
Mammon comes from the Aramaic word mamonas which means not only treasure and riches, but is used in the Bible as a personification of treasure and riches, and thus a false god or idol2 . Jesus said that we cannot serve both God and mammon (Matt 6:24). The dependence on wealth and riches and not on God alone is a sin that can be seen frequently throughout the Old and New Testaments, but has really become rampant in today’s materialistic and idolatrous society.
There is nothing wrong with a company wanting to become more successful and profitable, but if our faith is in the profitability of the company to deliver us, provide for us, and give us happiness then we have committed idolatry in our hearts. Only the Lord Himself can provide us with those desires. In the Kingdom of Heaven, wealth and riches have a purpose and a mission. We must look at them as a vehicle to achieve the assignment we’ve been given. We should never chase wealth. Wealth is supposed to chase us. We are told that we will have wealth and riches when we need them. But, they cannot be allowed to have us.
Greed or covetousness comes from the Greek pleonexia which means a desire to have more; always in a bad sense and implying sensuality and coveting3. Greed is defined as idolatry (Col 3:5). Jesus told us to “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord has promised us that He will give us whatever we need that pertains to godliness and righteousness and the desires of our hearts. But if we have truly died in Him, then we should be focused on serving His desires and His kingdom and not our fleshly desires. When we abide in Him and put Him first place in our heart and pick up our cross to follow Him, then we can tap into His unlimited resources and have faith for everything that we need to accomplish His will in our lives.
Fear comes from the Greek word phobos and constitutes not only a psychological feeling but implies reverential awe, honor, and worship of the object or person causing the fear4. This means that all fear constitutes idolatry. The Word of God tells us not to fear over 100 times. Fear can come in various forms, but for the business owner it is often manifested as the fear of lack, fear of recognition, fear of man, and fear of failure. Most of what we fear never materializes and if it does happen, it generally does not have the devastating results that we anticipated. Fear always represents an area of our lives that has yet to die in Christ.
Pride comes from the Greek word alazoneia, which is quackery or making fraudulent boasts; an imposter5. Why is all pride a false boast and wandering from the truth? Because it’s only by the grace of God that we can do anything and therefore anytime that we take credit for our accomplishments we are behaving as charlatans. Pride comes in various forms, but in the business world this is generally seen in the form of boastfulness over accomplishments and arrogance towards those that have achieved less than us. Perhaps, a businessman’s pride over his success is best illustrated in the old Tarzan movies when Tarzan puts his foot on top of his recent kill, beats his chest, and lets out his famous Tarzan call. When was the last time that you saw a corporate annual report that started out with “By the grace of God, we have had another successful year” instead of the more common report stating “Look what we’ve accomplished this year through our hard work and talents.”
A business can be successful for the wrong reasons. Those that serve the Babylonian system and the spirits of mammon, greed, fear, and pride do not care why their business is successful. However, for those of us that serve the King and His kingdom, in order to truly be successful we need to understand why we are in business, what purpose our business is serving to advance His kingdom, and to whom we are called to serve. We must operate our business in a way that glorifies Him and conduct our operations in a way that He Himself would conduct the business if He was the CEO of our company. That is the goal behind organizing and governing our business using a biblically-based, Kingdom Business Governance Model.
A Kingdom Business Governance Model
When you give your business as part of your oikos to the Lord, you are now the leader of this called-out body of believers (your ekklesia) on assignment from the Lord, on the business mountain. What is your assignment? You are to bring Christ to everyone you come in contact with on your mountain. You are to be a light shining in darkness. You are to influence and shape the culture of the mountain using kingdom principles. You are to be winsome for the Lord and lead people into relationship with Him by letting people see Christ in you. You are to be a sign, a wonder, and a miracle to everyone that you meet. You are to take dominion over this mountain, not through worldly cunning or force, but through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.
In case you are wondering how your company can be considered an ekklesia of believers when only a small percentage of your employees are born-again Christians, understand that this is part of the Lord’s kingdom advancement plan. You will take your mountain by infiltration. Light always displaces darkness (John 1:4-5). If a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, how much more will the power of Christ change the lives of everyone your company touches?
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were only four men, but they changed the lives of several kings and influenced everyone in Babylon, and every country that was influenced by Babylon, which was the entire known world at that time. The Apostle Paul was only one man but influenced every jailer and soldier that ever kept him captive. Gideon and his 300 men defeated over 120,000 Midianites using trumpets and torches. Don’t worry about the numbers. Carry out your assignment and lift up the Lord in doing it and He will draw all men unto Himself.
But how can you setup a governance structure in your company that is based upon biblical principles that can be overlaid onto your existing company organization chart? Let’s see what the Word of God says.
“having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Eph 2:20-22)
The Bible describes this New Testament ekklesia as a body of believers built upon the apostles and prophets. Therefore, we are calling this new Kingdom Business Governance Model an apostolic and prophetic business model or simply the Kingdom Business Governance Model. Some have also chosen to use the term “micro church ”6 to describe this new organization and governance since this type of organization and governance has already been accepted and used in the local church mountain. However, we will avoid using this term to avoid confusion with home churches and home groups operating as part of a local church.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the Body of Christ;” (Eph 4:11-12)
In this scripture, we get our concept of the five-fold ministry which we will be adopting in our Kingdom Business Governance Model in the form of “offices.” An office may be filled by one or more persons and does not reflect a title or position in the company. These offices will be providing and supporting spiritual functions. For example, the office of prophet may be fulfilled by several people in the company who each have a strong prophetic gifting. These same prophetically-gifted people may be assigned to fulfill other functional roles in the company (e.g., sales, secretary, vice president of operations, etc.) in addition to the spiritual role that they provide in the office of prophet.
“And God has appointed in the church (ekklesia), first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” (1Cor 12:28)
From this scripture we see that there is some type of correlation of the spiritual offices identified in Eph 4:11 with the spiritual gifts identified in 1Corinthians 12. Additionally, we see that there is an order or sequence that is identified in these spiritual offices (first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then…..). Whether these various spiritual offices and gifts identified in Eph 4:11, 1Cor 12:28, and Romans 12:6-8 represent gifts, offices, or administrations, and whether the order given between apostles, prophets, and teachers represents a seniority, preference, maturity, or chronological development in The Church, is a theological discussion outside the scope of this article.
For the purposes of this article, we will consider that all five-fold ministry offices discussed in Ephesians 4:11 are necessary for our Kingdom Business Governance Model and make no distinction between priority or sequencing of these offices. They will simply be viewed as being necessary offices in our company to provide spiritual functions to equip our employees for the work of service that our company (our ekklesia) provides and for fulfilling our calling in the Body of Christ and to the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the next part of this article, we’ll describe the purpose and functions of these five spiritual offices and give some concrete examples of the types of services that these offices might perform in our company. We’ll then show how these spiritual offices could be overlaid onto our existing corporate organization chart to advance the Kingdom of Heaven, and truly make our company a kingdom business.
1See Crushing the Spirits of Greed and Poverty: Discerning and Defeating the Ancient Powers of Mammon and Babylon, page 46, Sandie Freed, Chosen Publishing 2010.
2Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 388.
3Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 136.
4Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, page 229.
5Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1984, pages 486 and 71.
6Since the term “micro church” has been used in some circles to represent “home churches” or home groups that are part of a local church, we are avoiding this term in this article for concern that some might believe that we are advocating that your business is your local church and therefore you no longer need to be part of a local church. We believe that all Christians need to be plugged into the church mountain in some type of local church regardless of how you organize and govern your business.
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.