Signs of a Business Ministry Orientation
Chapter 1 – Knowing Your Calling
1 Corinthians 1:26 to 28 says,
For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many naturally skilled people, not many influential, not many upper class, [are called]:
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty;
And insignificant things of the world, and things that are despised, God has chosen, [yes], and things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are:
Everybody has a calling, but most people do not know what that calling is.
Throughout my ministry experience I have found the same thing. Wherever I go, I find people who do not know what their calling is and I find myself telling them what their calling is.
A Personal Story
Many years ago when Daphne and I were on our honeymoon, we found a little country church and decided to attend the meeting that Sunday. We arrived fairly early, and a very nice guy came in and began to welcome us.
I thought, “He is such a nice guy. These people have such a lovely pastor.”
I was very impressed with the man. But then I discovered that he wasn’t the real pastor, because the real pastor arrived afterwards.
He came in there and tried to impress me. He tried to tell me what a wonderful vision they had, what great things they were going to do for God, and would I consider moving down there so I could join their church?
He stood behind the pulpit and went on and on about nothing and talked mostly about himself.
I thought, “I can see who really has the calling here.”
I looked to see exactly who this guy was that I had met at the beginning and found out he was the guy who did all the dirty work. He was the deacon; also known in status quo as the donkey.
He is the one who does all the work nobody else wants to do. He is the one who makes the pastor look good but never gets credit for it.
As the meeting progressed and the more I looked at everything, the Spirit of God stirred in me. And the Lord said to me,
“That man is the reason I brought you here today. Go and tell him I’ve called him.”
So I had to wait for the meeting to be over and I looked to see where I could find this guy. Well he was in the bookshop selling books. I had to wait until he had finished with the people so that I could get him alone and could do what I came for.
I called him aside and said to him,
“Do you desire to work for the Lord?”
He said, “Oh I’d so love to be in ministry but I’m not really qualified.”
I said, “Thus says the Lord, God has called you and He will raise you up. He is going to use you mightily.”
Then I got out of there. I don’t know today where that man is, but I kind of felt like one of the sons of the prophet that was sent to anoint someone to be King. They would just go in secretly, pour the oil over his head and run. And that is all I did.
That was one of many experiences I have had where I have helped people to identify what God has called them to do.
Again and again I’ve seen the same thing. People do not know what they are called to do. They are confused about exactly what their calling is. And sometimes they look at others and think,
“Well maybe God has called me to do the same thing.”
In a church, very often everybody wants to be like the leader. And if he has an emphasis on the prophetic, everybody wants to be a prophet.
If he is an evangelist, everybody wants to be an evangelist. Very few people really know what God wants them to be.
In this Section I would like to share about a calling that most people don’t even know exists. It is the calling to be an entrepreneur; a calling to get into business.
Women in Business
I shared in my book The God Way to Wealth, about how important it is that we produce the finance for the end times church.
There are many people out there that already have that burning in them. There are a lot of Christian businessmen out there and a few women who would dare.
How often have you heard the term businesswoman? It kind of gets stuck in your mouth doesn’t it? You might say to someone,
“So what do you do?”
“I’m a businesswoman.”
“I’m a businessman.”
The businessman is dressed in his suit and driving his BMW, but what about his wife? She stays at home with the kids.
And then you get some of those dominating women who are the boss or who dare to call themselves businesswomen. And when we have a business conference who attends? The businessmen do.
Where are the women? They are usually the secretaries. They are just there to be pretty, not to take part in the business but maybe just to take notes.
We faced the same thing concerning the apostolic call and leadership in the church.
I would like to present to you here the idea that business can be a call, and I’d like to show you some of the signs of the business calling.
Ministry Means a Servant
I want to ask you a question now. What exactly is ministry? You might say,
“I want to go into the ministry one day. God has called me to the ministry.”
What is the picture in your mind? You likely didn’t have a close look at this word ministry in the Greek. It means servanthood.
Can you see many people getting excited about being a servant? Can you see them saying,
“I want to become a full time servant one day.”
No you don’t think that way do you? Being in the ministry means,
“I am the hotshot; the top dog. Everybody looks up to me.”
Meet Their Needs
Let’s start at the bottom. What is ministry? Ministry is meeting the needs of others. That is the bottom level of ministry. When you minister to someone you meet their needs.
How can you minister to someone? Find a need and meet that need. When you have done that, what have you done? You have ministered. It is quite simple. There is nothing complicated about ministry.
You might say to me,
“I really want to go into ministry but I don’t know where to start.”
Look around you. Find somebody who has a need and meet that need. Do that often enough and you are in full time ministry.
That is what full time ministry is. It is where you are so busy meeting the needs of other people you don’t have time to do anything else.
Putting Ministry and Business Together
Let’s look at ministry and see how we can connect ministry with business, because most people cannot put the two together. They just can’t understand how you can say somebody has been called by God to get into business.
This doesn’t mean that because you are in business you are called. We will get to that shortly. I am speaking about a specific calling here.
I am not addressing those people who say,
“Well I really don’t feel like ministering to other people. I would rather make money.”
That is not the business calling. There is no ministry orientation there. It is you making money so that you can look after yourself. Don’t ever think that you can interpret that as a ministry.
I see wealthy businessmen who are making millions, and they give a tiny little percentage to the work of the Lord. Then they say,
“I am doing my business for God. My business belongs to the Lord. As long as He doesn’t ask for all the money I get from it.”
Chapter 2 – Identifying Your Ministry
What then is ministry and how do I identify my ministry?
God Gives the Desire
Starting from the bottom, firstly the desire to minister is something that only God can give you.
If you have a desire to minister to the needs of others, it was not your idea. There is only one idea you can come up with and that is sin. The only original idea I can ever come up with by myself is how to sin differently.
So if this brilliant idea comes to you to spend time and effort meeting the needs of others, it didn’t come from you, it came from the Lord.
There is the first sign of ministry. A desire that begins to burn within you that is not your natural inclination.
You say, “So what am I called to be; an apostle?”
Perhaps you are, but you won’t know that at the beginning because nobody ever starts at the top. You start at the lowest level.
The first calling you ever received was to accept Jesus as your Savior. Your first calling was to become a member of the body of Christ.
As you became a member of the body of Christ and the Holy Spirit came to live inside of you, He gave you the ability to enter into spiritual experiences. He also made available to you the gifts of the Spirit.
The Gifts of the Spirit
What are the gifts of the Spirit? There are nine of them. You can see it in 1 Corinthians 12. There are three groups of spiritual gifts.
You have the utterance gifts: tongues, interpretation and prophecy.
You have the power gifts: faith, miracles and healing.
And you have the revelation gifts: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirits.
Those are the nine gifts of the Spirit.
So how do you know what your calling is from the gifts that you received? You might say,
“Well God gave me the gift of prophecy so I must be a prophet.”
I know a lot of teachers who can prophesy. I also know a lot of evangelists and pastors who can prophecy.
You see the gifts of the Spirit are just spiritual abilities that God gave you. They are the tools that you can use for ministry, but they are not the ministry themselves.
So what then is my ministry?
We need to start looking at another level. We need to start looking at some of the abilities that we can carry out in the church. Paul gives us a list in Romans 12:4 to 6 and says,
For as we have many members in one body, and all members do not have the same function:
So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of each other.
Having then gifts that vary according to the grace that is given to us, [we should use them]
What is he saying? He is saying,
“We are a member of the body.”
Then he gives us a list of ministries. He says,
“If you have a ministry of prophecy, then prophesy according to your faith. If your ministry is serving, then serve. If your ministry is teaching, then teach.
If your ministry is encouraging other people, then go and be an encourager. If your ministry is giving to others, then be very generous as you give. If your ministry is being a ruler, then rule well.
And if your ministry is showing compassion or charity to others, then do it with cheerfulness.”
These are all different ministries.
Find What You Desire
You might say to me,
“I’m not sure what my ministry is.”
Well have a look at the things you desire to do. Do you like to prophesy? Prophesying is using the gift of prophecy.
Do you like to do work like mowing the lawn? Yes there is a ministry of lawn mowing. It is mostly the deacons who are involved in that side.
It is real ministry. It is being faithful in making yourself available as a servant. When I see that in somebody I see the first signs of ministry.
Business Leadership Ministries
Are you the kind of person that likes to encourage others? That could be the beginnings of a prophetic ministry. So here all the ministries are. You have:
7. The last one I have called charity
Each of these ministries, combined with the nine gifts of the Spirit, prepares you for a higher level of ministry.
And so you start out with the gifts of the Spirit. You start by being involved in ministry amongst the body of Christ. As you do that faithfully, God starts to point you upwards into more of a leadership ministry.
Then He gives us five leadership ministries. You can see them in Ephesians 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 12. We have a whole training course on this one. It is called the Fivefold Ministry.
1. The apostle is the founder of new things
2. The prophet is the one who puts things together
3. The teacher is the one who does the training
4. The pastor is the one who looks after the people
5. The evangelist is the one who does all the advertising
Are you beginning to see the connection between ministry and business yet?
You start with the gifts of the Spirit and then you add a ministry in the body.
Sign of a Business Call
Well which one of the seven ministries do you think stands out the most clearly? Which one do you think will eventually lead to the business calling?
Will it be prophecy? Service? Maybe. Teaching? Possibly. Encouraging? What about giving?
Giving is one of the first signs of the business calling, and I am going to be looking at it in more detail by the time we have finished. The business calling begins with giving.
As you take the gifts of the Spirit and the ministry of giving, and as you commit yourself fully to it, God will begin to raise you up. He will take you towards the Fivefold Business Ministry. Yes, there is a Fivefold Business Ministry.
What does the Apostolic Entrepreneur do? He starts new businesses.
The Prophetic Entrepreneur identifies the market and makes the business plan.
The Teaching Entrepreneur is the one who sets up a training program.
The Pastoral Entrepreneur manages the personnel.
The Evangelistic Entrepreneur takes the products to the world.
Don’t you see it? It is so clear. But we have missed it because we have become so spiritual that we decided to leave the business side to the world. This has caused us to stay in poverty and let the world hold the full control, while we tried to minister by the Spirit.
Is there anything wrong with that? No, God has raised up the Fivefold Ministry and He wants them to work full time in the body of Christ. But God wants to raise up the Fivefold Entrepreneurship as well.
These will be men and women of God who will dare to take the power of God and use it to take the wealth of the wicked; to bring it to where it belongs which is into the body of Christ.
Chapter 3 – False Signs of the Business Calling
I would like to look at the signs of the business calling now. This is the main thing we have been building up to.
You might say, “I’m excited. I like that idea.”
We would all like to be wealthy wouldn’t we? But do you have the business calling? That is another question.
I would like to look at the false signs first. I did this when I originally taught on the all the signs of the Fivefold Ministry.
People usually have an idea in their minds of what a particular ministry looks like. And as you start to think now about someone who is called to be in business, there is a picture in your mind.
Close your eyes and think of somebody that you know that has this calling. What is the image that you see?
No Natural Abilities
This is the kind of image that most people see. They picture a person who has a natural ability to work with money. They just have such wisdom when it comes to finances.
Do you know people like that? They probably do not have the business calling.
You say, “Well I can’t be called to do that because I’m pretty useless with money. I really don’t know what to do with money. I am really pathetic. Obviously God hasn’t called me to this kind of thing.”
That is not necessarily true. What is God looking for? Let’s look at that Scripture I shared at the beginning. God has chosen what? He has chosen the foolish things.
He has chosen the weak and insignificant things. He has chosen the things that are despised; the things that are nothing.
Are you nothing? Then you have a good chance. Are you stupid or weak? Then you have a good chance.
Paul says, “God did not choose many people who have natural skills. He didn’t choose many people who are able to influence others. He also didn’t choose many people from the upper class of society.”
Yes in His grace He chose a few of us but not many.
You say, “I come from a poor home. I’ve never really known wealth.
You know there is a rich guy’s kid. He just stepped into the business his dad started. It all fell into his lap and he prospered. I wish I was there. Obviously I don’t have the business calling.”
Good, then there is hope for you.
No Ability to Sell
A person who has the business calling does not necessarily have a natural ability to sell things.
You know I have always loved being able to meet people who are useless, like that little guy in the church who was a nobody. I used to love going to people like that and saying,
“God has called you. Do you see the pastor? He has a lower calling than you do.”
I used to love doing that and I still love doing it. God doesn’t need these big things.
You know you hear people who have a beautiful voice. Someone hears them singing and they say,
“You know you have a lovely voice. You should have singing lessons.”
Have you noticed that? Then you have somebody who has a really bad voice. And what do people say when they try to sing?
They say, “Don’t give up your day job.”
I have had people insult me like that. They said,
“Don’t give up singing, but just sing privately for the Lord because He is the only one who likes it.”
You know you have people who have such ability to sell. We have an expression in English that says,
“He could sell ice to the Eskimos.”
Do you know people like that?
You say, “They will make brilliant businessmen and wonderful entrepreneurs.”
Perhaps they will, but not in God’s kingdom. God does not need that natural ability. And if you have that natural ability and God has called you to the business calling, what is going to happen? What is God going to do with your strengths?
He is going to call them to death. You see that is the bad news of the business calling. It is not free of death. You thought you could escape the fivefold training now and avoid all the deaths. Sorry but there is no shortcut.
Just because a person has a natural ability to persuade others, it does not mean that they can persuade people in a business way.
Ability to Save Money
You may look at someone who has the ability to save money. How many people do you know who qualify for the business calling because they can save money?
You see a guy and he always has money. Does he have the business calling? He might, but the chances are he is just stingy. He is mean and selfish and keeps everything to himself.
Some people are too stingy to spend something on themselves. You may have heard of a millionaire who lived in poverty, and when he died they found money all over his house. You see just because a person is able to save money does not mean that they qualify for the business calling.
Good at Negotiating
Then you have people who are very good at negotiating business deals. They push for a bargain.
When we lived in Mexico there were flea markets where you could go and buy all sorts of different things.
The vendors didn’t expect you to buy it at the price they asked for. You see if they wanted $100 for it, you could probably get it for $20 if you drove a hard bargain.
You might think it takes good business ability, but does it?
You might say, “He has such an ability to get good bargains. He always walks out of a shop having bought things cheaper than anyone else. Wow God can use somebody like that.”
Yes He probably can – after he has been through a bit of death. God does not need these skills.
The Right Contacts
A person with a business calling is not necessarily a person with high status in the world who has all the ‘right contacts’.
Have you heard this word contacts? In the business world you must have contacts. We have an expression that says,
It’s not what you know, but it’s who you know.
These are the people that succeed in this world right? But God doesn’t need it.
So now maybe you have looked at these wonderful qualities and you realize you have very few of them or probably none of them. If this is the case then you are the one that I want to talk to, because there is a chance that God has that calling for you.
Chapter 4 – Real Signs of the Business Calling
Let’s look at some of the real signs of the business calling.
Sign No. 1 – A Desire to Meet Needs
Firstly you may have a deep desire to meet the needs of Christians who are suffering financially. You see it starts with giving.
The first quality that the Lord requires of you is a desire to minister to the needs of others. If your ministry is going to be financial in nature, then how are you going to minister to their needs?
You might say, “Well my brother, be encouraged. The Lord will provide. I will keep you in prayer. Go and be filled.”
The problem is he may not have anything in the house. If you don’t have a desire to meet the needs of others then forget about the business calling.
You say, “You know I would really like to help others, but I’m pretty poor myself.”
There is a little expression you may have heard me use many times. I wish I could say that I originated it but I didn’t. But I like it so much that I always use it. It goes like this.
If you will dare to flow out in love to others, God will give you what you need to love them with.
If you want to love people by providing their needs, God will give you the financial resources to love them in that way.
This is the most important sign. If this desire does not burn in your heart then God did not call you to the business world.
Yes you might be able to be a very successful businessman, but do not say, “God called me to do this,” because He didn’t. Your own fleshly lusts have called you to do that.
Desiring to Help People Succeed
No matter how wealthy you become, you could never solve the problem of poverty in this world. But you can show those who are failing in the game of life and battling financially, how to take what they have and use it the best way.
You have probably spent many years learning how to do this yourself. Because of this, you feel for people who are working hard trying to survive but are still failing.
Unlike the way of the world, which is to learn to succeed and then keep it to yourself, you are keen to share with other believers everything that the Lord has taught you.
Because of this you have a passion to learn new ways of doing things. And you keep your eyes open for any new teaching that promises ways of succeeding and prospering.
You are a firm believer in the fact that God wants everyone to be blessed, and that if we do things His way, we should prosper in everything we do.
Sign No. 2 – A Desire to See Blessing on the Church
The second sign of the business calling is a desire to see the church of God break free of lack.
When you look at the body of Christ; when you look at ministries and the people of God, you see how they are suffering financially. Your heart burns and you say,
“Oh Lord if you could provide the needs of your people.”
That desire didn’t come from you. God put that desire in you. It is one of the signs of the business calling.
Sign No. 3 – Teach Believers to Prosper
The third sign of the business calling is a desire to teach believers how to prosper.
There is no place in God’s business world for PI’s. If you don’t know what a PI is, go and read some of my other teachings such as Psychology in Business and Ministry which covers this subject in detail.
I will give you a simple definition of a P.I. A PI is a person who loves helping others, as long as he or she is in control. He will say something like,
“You poor thing, let me help you. But I have no needs. Don’t you try to help me. That’s below my dignity.”
You see a true desire to meet the needs of others doesn’t come from a selfish motive.
If you want to be the wealthy businessman so that everyone in the church will look up to you, and you are so wonderful that you can give out money to everybody, then your motivation is wrong. That is not the calling of God.
But when a true desire burns in you, you give out freely expecting nothing in return. In fact you just feel so blessed giving to the needs of others.
Have you ever felt how exciting it is to lead a soul to the Lord? Well sometimes it is just as exciting to give to somebody who is in real need. You know sometimes that desire burns so strongly in me that I give them everything I have and I go without.
What did Jesus say? He said,
This is my commandment, that you love one another in the same way I loved you.
How did Jesus love us? He shared everything He had with us? No. He gave up everything He had for us. He gave His very life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
God gave the best that He had. You see that is God’s kind of love.
This desire can burn in you so strongly that you will even go without your own pleasures, for the joy and the blessing in seeing others filled with that joy. If this is happening to you then you are a candidate for the business call.
Sign No. 4 – Ministers Taken Care of
Another sign of the business calling is when your heart burns to see God’s full time workers not having financial lack.
You long to see the ministers of God do what God has called them to do, without them having to worry all the time about their basic needs being met.
Sometimes you need to have been there before you appreciate those needs.
So when you think of building up your business and gaining all this wealth, what is the picture in your mind? Take this little sentence and complete it for me.
“When I am rich one day I will…”
What will you do? Will you buy a new car or buy a new house? Will you buy your own plane or go to Hawaii? Is there anything wrong with that? No, but it is not a sign of the business calling.
Sign No. 5 – Desire to Accumulate Wealth
The fifth sign of the business calling is a desire to accumulate wealth. Now you may misunderstand that to mean a desire to be rich.
If I were to ask a group of people for a show of hands as to who would like to be rich, suddenly they could all have a business calling. No it is not a desire to be rich. It is a desire to accumulate wealth.
You might say, “Why must I accumulate wealth?”
It is so that you have something to love people with; so that you have the resources to fulfill this calling of God.
You say, “You know, to tell you the truth I desire to spend wealth.”
Of course you do, because that is all you can produce in yourself. Only God can put in you a desire to accumulate wealth; not out of fear but out of love, so that you can have the power to do what God has called you to do.
When God begins to place this calling upon you, a new desire begins to burn in you and it has the right motive. It is a sign of the calling of God to the business world.
Sign No. 6 – Create Employment for the Body of Christ
Sign number six is a desire to create employment for the Body of Christ.
How often have you seen people in the church who are really battling and maybe don’t have job? Or maybe they have a bad job, working hard for a boss who is like a slave driver. You may have often felt,
“Man if I had my own business I would take him in and give him a job. I would employ her and use her.”
If that desire burns in you, it is one of the signs God may have given you the business call.
Sign No. 7 – Taking the Wealth of the Wicked
Sign number seven is a desire to see the wealth of the wicked come into the church.
Just look at the wealthy of the world. They are stinking rich and they care nothing about the Kingdom of God. And here we are battling to do what God has called us to do. We are battling to reach the world for the Lord, and they are using their money to promote sin.
Does that anger burn in you sometimes? Maybe you think,
“If only I could take that money and give it to the work of God. If only I had the power to do that.”
God will give you that power. It is part of the business calling.
Sign No. 8 – Influence People in High Places
Do you have a desire to influence people in high places? That is the next sign of the calling.
Would you like to change the attitude of the President, or some of the government leaders or the big names out there? Perhaps you want to influence some of the actors and actresses and people of influence.
You say, “I wish I had a chance to have a word with him.”
“I wish I could somehow persuade her to change her attitude, to make her think about the Kingdom of God.”
“Oh if only I could get that person saved. With the position they are in they can be an influence for the Kingdom of God.”
You can now think right at the top if you want to. The desire to get into politics is part of the business calling, provided it is motivated by God’s call. It must not be motivated by what gets most politicians there – a need to make a name for yourself.
Sign No. 9 – Desire to Be a Model
Sign number nine is a desire to become a model to the world.
I would like to be an image of how it is done. I would like to succeed in this so I can show other people how to do it. The Body of Christ can look at the way I am running a business, to see the success that I have had and to say,
“I want to do it that way.”
Sign No. 10 – Desire to Set a New Standard
The last sign is a desire to set a new standard in Christian business.
Have you looked at Christian businesses out there? I have looked at some of them on the Internet. I have also bought books by so-called Christian businessmen.
You go to their website, hoping to see something different and hoping to see some kind of standard that shows that God is here.
I have not found one yet. They are trying to use all the big names by saying things like,
“We are in partnership with Microsoft.”
I haven’t heard anybody yet say,
“We are in partnership with Almighty God.”
Obviously His name isn’t big enough. We need to set a new standard for Christian businesses, that when the world looks at your business, they know that it is different and they know why it is different.
The only thing I ever see people saying is,
“We work honestly. We don’t lie and cheat. We may withhold the truth sometimes, but we don’t lie.”
They are trading just like the world and are not walking in the light.
We need to run our businesses the way we run the ministry. We need to run our businesses as children of light, like a light set on the hill so the whole world can see it and know why we are succeeding.
It is not just because we do business the right way, but because we do it God’s way.
Wrapping it Up
In conclusion, there is a calling to the realm of business and finance. There are many levels and varieties in that ministry in the exact same way there is in spiritual ministry. And every one of those levels needs to be trained and needs to qualify.
The church of God desperately needs these ministries to be released into the Body of Christ. The only question that now remains is,
“Do you have the signs of the business calling?”
If you do, then take it and run with it and let’s just change this world for God.