“Last night I gave the keys to my company over to its new CEO, Jesus Christ.” These were the words of Michelle, the co-founder and managing partner of a large recruitment firm in a Canadian capital city.
Michelle had lived in several countries, travelled widely and owned several companies. Recently she was a nominee for one of the “Top Women of Business” in her province. She is one of Canada’s top career development coaches and she has managed Fortune 500 companies and Deloitte Best Managed companies. Yet something was missing.
I met Michelle, in February 2015 while teaching a graduate level course at a Christian college in her Canadian city. Even though super busy as a corporate executive she registered for the course, entitled “Strategies for Business as Mission”, which began with the reading of Dale Losch’s book,A Better Way – Making Disciples Wherever Life Happens. Says Michelle, “…I could not ignore the quiet, still voice that was prompting me to join the BAM module week” (with its 35 hours of classroom interaction).
At the end of the course she wrote, “What a transformative week for me! In the 5 ½ years I have owned my company, and several others prior to this business, it never occurred to me that my business was my ministry. I have always separated full-time ministry from business.”
Michelle knew she had a passion for business and she even had an early desire, as a follower of Jesus, to “full-time ministry”, but she thought she had missed God’s best by not becoming a full-time minister or missionary so she settled for what in her mind was “second best”. She knew she had “a unique ability to spot opportunities, to understand threats , look around corners and grow strong teams” and she even knew it was a gift from God, but always wondered why God would bless her that way – what was His end game?
Her business success was clear, and she even spent time in East Africa and Central America asking how she could help those in poverty and without Jesus. Up to now it just seemed like the “odd charity stint” but it never thoroughly integrated with who she was in a holistic way.
One of the last assignments of the class was for each student to write a paper telling how things are going to be different in the marketplace of life, as a result of the class. One week after the class, Michelle wrote me, “Last night I gave the keys of my company over to its new CEO, Jesus Christ…what a wonderful relief to have Jesus take the reins.” Michelle now understood the intent of A Better Way: that she is empowered to engage with the discipleship mandate by imparting God’s truth in word and deed – through living out the gospel in authentic relationships where life happens for her. She is well on her way.
IBEC recently produced this 2-minute video in which I share Michelle’s story. Take a look and share this with others who need to hear this message: My business is my ministry.
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures