Logo

 

Banner Image:   National-News-banner-Purple
Template Mode:   Baptist Times
Icon
    Post     Tweet


Serving God in business and commerce 


Mark Roques reports on a recent conference which affirmed business as a sphere of life that God is very concerned about


Business19


The fourth "Business and the Kingdom: The Big Picture" conference organised by Bradford Cathedral and Thinking Faith Network (TFN) took place last Saturday (9 November).

David Hanson of TFN reminded us that the kingdom of God is the central theme of the New Testament. This kingdom is focused on the redemption of all things and this includes business and economic life.

Cal Bailey of TFN has worked as the Sustainability Director at N G Bailey, the UK’s leading independent engineering business. Cal talked movingly about the shame and guilt he experienced as someone who felt called by God to work in business. Some church leaders were appalled by this decision and they urged Cal to shun the ‘grubby’ world of commerce and enter a more ‘spiritual’ arena of service. Cal explained that this tension between business and serving Jesus betrays an impoverished understanding of the Bible.

Cal outlined a theology of business that can be summarized in terms of Creation/Fall/Christ and the Kingdom of God. Cal pointed out that this world belongs to God and this creation is very good. Humans image God by faithfully unfolding and serving the good creation. This includes making, selling and buying manufactured goods and services.

Tragically humans have rebelled against God and the poison of sin has corrupted all areas of life. We know that business can be greedy and destructive but it doesn’t have to be like this!

The antidote to the impact of sin is not to ignore business as a distraction (pietism) but to locate economic life within God’s kingdom. God, through Jesus, is in the business of redeeming and rescuing business from human rebellion.

To illustrate how business can be redeemed, Cal told a delightful story about a director at Unilever who was challenged to design a single use shampoo sachet that would biodegrade within six months. This commission brought the director so much joy that he decided to postpone his retirement!

In the afternoon Matthew Frost, the former CEO of Tearfund, developed many of Cal’s insights in very concrete ways. Matthew focused on how a company can embrace God’s kingdom. Matthew shared with us ‘Ten imperatives to redeem our organisations’. He suggested that metaphors are key to the redemption of business. Too often businesses are spoken of as efficient machines and this is reductionist. He urged us to reimagine economic life in terms of ‘living systems’.

This was an inspiring conference and as an employee of TFN I would like to thank Karen Williams for her hard work and administrative gifts in making the conference so good.  
 

Mark Roques preaches in Cragg Hill Baptist Church in Horsforth, Leeds. He is the director of RealityBites which is part of the Thinking Faith Network based in Leeds



 
Baptist Times, 12/11/2019
    Post     Tweet
Begun in 2017 as a series of conversations, the Firestarters Network is expanding the ways it can support and help Baptist churches grow through reaching people for Jesus
The place and impact of Baptists in higher education was discussed at the annual Baptist Scholars International Roundtable (BSIR), which took place in Oxford in August. Sally Nelson was among those invited to present a paper, and explains more
The leadership team at Fresh Streams has released a statement highlighting points of agreement following the 'engaging and positive' theology school on human sexuality the network hosted in June
listen_hs
Faith groups, charities and politicians have called on the government to take urgent action to bridge the cost of living gap faced by the lowest income families, following a report from the Joint Public Issues Team
Take part in a 10 minute survey about children's ministry
Current President Hayley Young is donning her walking boots to raise funds for Home Mission, and will be joined by several others passionate about the cause. She explains more
     Latest News 
    Posted: 13/07/2022
    Posted: 22/06/2022
    Posted: 16/05/2022
    Posted: 10/05/2022
    Posted: 25/02/2022