Build a Christ-Centered Company

Build a Thriving Christ-Centered Company

Darren ShearerBy Darren Shearer10 Minutes

Excerpt taken from The Christ-Centered Company: 37 Biblical Habits to Build a Thriving Company That Honors God and Blesses the World by Darren Shearer.

Habit 1
Recognize Jesus is on the Receiving End

Who do you work for in business? Who do the people in your company work for?

I ask my company’s managers never to think or say, “I work for High Bridge Books & Media.” And Heaven forbid they ever think or say, “I work for Darren Shearer.” Instead, I encourage them to cultivate this perspective: “I work with High Bridge Books & Media; I work for Jesus.” (Even if your employees aren’t Christians, it’s still better to encourage them to say they work “with” rather than “for” you and your company.)

This is the foundational habit for cultivating a Christ-centered company: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Col. 3:23, NIV). A company can only be considered Christ-centered to the extent that its influencers decide to work for Jesus and not for anyone or anything else. In all its operations, a Christ-centered company’s culture promotes the perspective and attitude that Jesus is on the receiving end of everything done in and through the business, which ought to compel us to seek and apply his will for the company.

Jesus is the CEO, Chairman, and Owner … But So Much More

Perhaps you’re familiar with the common temptation to act one way around the company’s senior leaders while acting differently around the company’s less-influential stakeholders. I think this phenomenon is why I have found it somewhat easier to view Jesus as the head of the company I manage (e.g., CEO, owner, chairman-of-the-board, etc.) than to view him in all the other roles related to the company. This Deistic view of God — the idea that God is so high-and-lifted-up that he’s disengaged from the seemingly trivial aspects of a company — explains how we can assume we’re interacting with people one way while simultaneously interacting with God another.

Unlike a human boss, Jesus is omnipresent through his Holy Spirit, interacting with us through every relationship and operation in the company. He is on the receiving end of everything done in and through the company, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36a). An employee at lawnmower-maker Walker Manufacturing reflected this truth when he said,

I treat every lawnmower that I’m making like Christ is going to be getting that lawnmower. So I want to make sure everything is just perfect on it.1

Some Christ-centered companies keep an empty seat at their board-room table to help them remember that Jesus is the chairman of the board. What would happen if, in addition to viewing Jesus in the most influential roles of the companies we manage, we also operated as though Jesus fills every other position in relation to our companies?

  • Entry-level team member
  • Team member’s family member
  • Customer/client
  • Prospective customer/client
  • Supervisor
  • Intern
  • Supplier/contractor
  • Vendor
  • Minority shareholder
  • Consultant
  • Person on the other side of a lawsuit
  • Board member
  • Chairman of the board
  • Competitor
  • IRS agent
  • Accountant
  • City official
  • Owner
  • Yourself
  • Anyone else you interact with in business

The ways in which we and the companies we manage relate to each of these people is exactly how we and our teams are treating Jesus. This awareness of God’s omnipresence helps us to believe that he is truly omniscient (i.e., all-knowing) concerning everything that affects us and our companies.

What would happen to our business habits if we truly viewed God as being on the receiving end of everything we do in business? Not just the “big picture” stuff. Not just the hard decisions. Not just the personal morality issues. Not just the charitable giving. Everything.

What would happen to your customer service if you viewed your customers as Jesus?

How much stronger would your product quality be if you viewed each end user as Jesus?

What would happen to your employee compensation and employee care programs if you viewed your team members and their families as Je-sus?

How much more thorough and ethical would your accounting habits be if you viewed that IRS agent who reviews your company’s tax return as Jesus?

What would happen to your advertising habits if you viewed that impressionable viewer or listener as Jesus?

Jesus assures us,

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me … to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either. (Matt. 25:40, 45b)

In different ways, everyone with whom we interact in business is one of the “least of these.” This is not to minimize the plight of the materially poor among us. Poverty takes many forms as Jesus also tells us that those who think they are rich are actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17b). The point is how we treat people in business is exactly how we’re treating Jesus. He is on the receiving end of every thought, word, deed, and output that flows from the companies we manage. As C.S. Lewis said in The Four Loves, “See the face of Christ in every man and act accordingly.”

This mindset helps cultivate “the fear of the Lord [which] is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). It’s impossible to operate with wisdom in the marketplace without realizing that everything we think, say, and do is ultimately thought, said, and done toward Jesus. Not only should this put the fear of the Lord in us, but it should also help us realize we have far more opportunities to honor Jesus in business than perhaps we originally thought.

As we remain aware that Jesus is on the receiving end, we’ll seek him more fervently for guidance on how to worship and honor him through our business relationships and practices. We’ll grow in our awareness that he is working through each person with whom we work to conform us and our companies to his will. The opportunity we have to transform our companies through revealing Jesus is part of God’s “final restoration of all things as God promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:21, emphasis mine). The marketplace — and your company in particular — are key aspects of “all things” God aims to restore.

You work for Jesus. You work with people. Your company is simply the context for you and your colleagues in the marketplace to become more like Jesus, causing the awareness of his glory to be revealed throughout the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

On this foundational habit and mindset, we can build Christ-centered companies.

Reflection, Discussion, and Application

  • Is it hard to view Jesus on the receiving end of everything done in and through your company? Why or why not?
  • Where do you consistently view Jesus Christ as being on the receiving end of what happens in and through your company?
  • In which aspect of your company is it hardest to see Jesus on the receiving end?

1 “Making Beautiful Places for the Glory of God,” Center for Faith and Work, LeTourneau University, October 1, 2013, educational video,

Order your copy of The Christ-Centered Company: 37 Biblical Habits to Build a Thriving Company That Honors God and Blesses the World by Darren Shearer.