In the past, the contribution of business people to God’s kingdom has been seen, frequently by church leaders themselves, as ‘you raise the money and donate it, we will spend it doing important Christian stuff’. As a result, the vocation of Christians to be in commerce has too often been seen as second best to ‘full-time ministry’.
Yet the Apostle Paul makes clear that he continued to practise his trade of tentmaking alongside taking the gospel to the gentiles. His was not a ministry confined to church buildings, solely supported by the generosity of others (important though that was at times). It was, in the words of the businessman and writer Ed Silvoso, a ‘ministry in the marketplace’.
The role of Churches Together’s Business Champion is to explore what ‘ministry in the marketplace’ looks like in the 21st century.
To do that, we need to find out how best to connect the needs of businesses with the local church.
- How can the Christian community in Winchester support its business people?
- How can Christians directly bring the power and authority of Christ to bear for good on business situations?
- And, in an age where voluntary provision is picking up much of the burden to care for others which was formerly undertaken by the state, what can businesses offer the community?
Philip Tutt-Leppard, our Business Champion, has run his own public relations business for nearly 20 years. He is keen to collaborate with others to create a strategy that will put God at the heart of more businesses in Winchester in a way that will ensure the city thrives for the benefit of all.
No idea is too wacky, no goal too ambitious. Some ideas under consideration include:
- the establishment of a service to incubate purpose-driven startups – the people with the ideas that will shape the great companies of the future
- provision of Christian business advice
- a revival of one:one prayer and prophecy for the needs of Winchester
- Christian business mentors
- opening up co-working spaces in church buildings for lone workers and start-ups
- signposting owners to sources of support for their employees and families – on relationships, debt, bereavement, addiction – improve wellbeing, boost productivity and reduce absenteeism
Philip is engaging with business owners and cultural organisations, local authorities, educational bodies, churches and other Christian services to understand where the solutions lie. If you would like to contribute, please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.