As the third-generation leader of his family's group of car dealerships in Georgia, Chris Patton wanted to honor God through the business, but he was concerned that being more open about his faith and the company's Christian values could repel customers and cause non-Christian employees to leave. He writes …
Once we made the decision to move forward despite the risks, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, there were initial questions as to what it meant to the employees. They were unsure of our intentions. However, once we clarified the overall vision of the company, many accepted it – even embraced it.
Patton offers guidelines for business leaders who want to go public with their intention to run their business in a way that honors God.
1. Pray first, then decide.
Seek God’s guidance and make sure you are clear about WHY you are doing this.
2. Put it in writing.
You may need to restate your mission statement. It should sync with scripture and serve as a benchmark for every decision.
3. Be clear.
Your employees shouldn't find out after the fact that about your decision. Tell them in a timely, humble manner.
4. Ensure your walk matches your talk.
See to it that your personal life, as well as company policies, match up with your mission statement.
5. Stay firm; apply grace.
Be willing to bend when appropriate and balance your commitment to the vision with grace to offenders.
6. Be okay with slow progress.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes for people and organizations to change. Patton concludes …
"Over time, you will be amazed at the distance you have traveled on this path. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and progress will come!"
Read his entire article “Is Christian Business Offensive To Non-Christian Employees?”
Patton writes regularly about what he's learned at Christian Faith at Work.