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Influence in High Places
by Bob Briner

    More and more we need Christians skilled enough to “serve before kings.” Our society desperately needs Christian influences at the highest levels of modern life, including the area of business and corporate life. The “kings” of business and commerce deserve contact with people who operate from a Biblical world view. And they deserve Christian view of the marketplace modeled for them.

    Influence in high places is influence with a wider reach. It has more impact on more people. And only those with skill can reach this level of influence.

    If we see business leadership in a geographic sense, we see it as a place where the Christian and Biblical way of thinking is severely under-represented. We are more willing and successful in training, nurturing and supporting missionaries to go into China, India and Africa than we are in sending comparably trained and supported women and men into areas of business leadership.

    We do a very poor job of challenging committed Christians to see business leadership as a ministry and as a mission field. This has been and continues to be a tragedy both for our society and for God’s Kingdom. Because of a lack of Christian leadership in business, we have seen so much of the best of our heritage leached out of our everyday lives. Moral relativism, a bottom line mentality and a lack of social responsibility characterize too much of today’s business attitudes and practices.

The Christian business leader should no longer be seen as either an oxymoron or as the rarest of the rare.
    As we approach the new millennium, churches, Christian colleges and parents—especially parents—must begin a cogent, concerted and concentrated effort to re-occupy areas of business leadership in America. We must prepare those who are skilled enough in their work and committed enough in their faith to enter areas of leadership and to make a difference there.

    This combination has been lacking. Too often, we are unwilling to pay the price of teaching and learning the skills necessary for leadership. Or we fail to teach and learn that business leadership should be seen as a ministry, not unlike the ministry of foreign missions. It is this potent combination we need to produce. The Christian business leader should no longer be seen as either an oxymoron or as the rarest of the rare.

How do we begin!

    First, we knock down the myth that somehow, through some sort of conspiracy, Christians are kept out of the executive suites. This makes a good excuse, but empirical evidence does not support it. For the most part, we are not there because we do not show up with the commitment, character and class to be there. We are not willing to become skilled enough to be there. Though still far too rare, there are too many examples of Christians who do serve with God-honoring distinction at the highest levels of business for this myth to be true.

    Second, our churches, Christian colleges and parents must show young people that it is not only OK to aspire to a life of business leadership, but that it can be a life of service and ministry on at least the same level as the pulpit ministry or foreign missions. We must work very hard to begin instilling in all our people, particularly our young people, the concept of a fully integrated life in which our faith informs all we do. This would certainly include a life in business leadership.

    Third, we must give committed Christians the skills necessary for a life of business leadership. In the same way we train missionaries to adapt to the culture in which they will be serving without compromising any of the Christian essentials, we need to begin training our business leadership missionaries in the skills necessary for success in the upper echelons of corporate America. This takes mentoring on the part of Christian businessmen, and it takes a new and much more rigorous effort on the part of our churches and Christian colleges.

    We have done a relatively good job of serving before “obscure men.” Now it is imperative that many become skilled enough “to serve before kings.” We need this. Our society needs this. God’s Kingdom needs this.

Bob Briner is the long-time president of ProServ Television. He won an Emmy for his work on the sports documentary A Hard Road To Glory. He is the author of six books, including Roaring Lambs (1993, Zondervan) and The Leadership Lessons of Jesus (1997, Broadman & Holman). Check his website -- http://www.bobbriner.com

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