Business as (spiritual) warfare

The Lord has used our business to teach us much about the Christian life, especially spiritual warfare.

We began The Karis Group (Karis is Greek for “grace”) in 1996, and God wonderfully blessed–for about four years. We moved from the tiny spare room to our garage. When we were obviously violating the zoning laws because of the number of employees in our home, we bought a larger house a few miles away that could legally accomodate the business. Finally, as it continued to expand, we moved the business into a small office building just down the road.

At that stage, we had one major client who had asked us for an exclusive relationship–ie they would be the only client of that kind that we helped. Foolishly we agreed. When, after four years, they decided to take the work we were doing for them in house, we had nowhere else to turn. We had a building with a lease, several employees and virtually no work. Eventually we encouraged most of the employees to find other jobs.

After two or three months as we continued to run down our reserves, the light suddenly dawned. We had lost our client at the very time we started House2House, a magazine that spoke into the simple/organic/house church movement (originally a paper magazine and now a website). Was this coincidence? Of course not. If Satan could wipe our business out, he would damage far more than just us and our business.

From that point onwards, we set ourselves to spiritual warfare. We had no work to do, so apart from the marketing for new clients we did, for hours every day we paced up and down that little office, praying and interceding. We quoted Scripture, we sang, we shouted, we praised. We did everything we had ever heard of in terms of spiritual warfare. At home we did the same. We would have looked totally crazy to an outsider, but gradually we were gaining spiritual ground. We took every spare moment we had to engage in the battle. If we were traveling, for example, we would find the chapel in any major airport so we could continue to pray between flights. (These rooms are usually empty.) We had a picture in our mind of a wire-mesh tray that sat on one of the desks filled with contracts from many different companies. The Lord was training us in battle and gradually our faith grew.

A correlation soon appeared. After several days of intense warfare, we would see a bit of a breakthrough. Maybe a new company would show an interest in our business. Assuming this was God’s answer, we relaxed the prayer and it would come to nothing. We learned that we had to keep the pressure up if we were to see results.

God provided finances to us seemingly out of nowhere. For example, one evening there was a wreck outside our house. A car ran into a tree in our yard. No one was hurt but the tree trunk was cracked. When the insurance company came to appraise the damage, they decided that a tree of that size was worth several thousand dollars. It kept us afloat for another few weeks.

Finally after a year with no work, we found our first client, and our next… We hired on employees again. The business continues to grow today.

It was a tough year, but the lessons we learned are invaluable. Psalm 18:34 says this: He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. The more we practice a Kingdom skill, the stronger our spiritual muscles become.

Have you experienced times of intense spiritual warfare? I’d love to hear your stories. What did you learn?

 

 

Church in the marketplace in 2011

Business

Business as mission is widely accepted these days.  The workplace is seen as a fertile ground for witness by Kingdom living.  But I believe we are going to see a new move, and that is of church in the workplace. 

Let me give an example from our own situation.  Around 14 years ago, we started a company that works in the area of patient advocacy. God has blessed what we are doing, and we have a wonderful team of around 15 people who work with us.  They have released us to the place where I no longer work there but am free to put my time into producing resources for the simple church movement, including this blog and the books I have written, and Tony is able to take as much time off as he needs to involve in what is more traditionally viewed as Kingdom work. 

We do not go out of our way to hire Christians to work in our company. We hire those who are best for the job.  Over the years, a number of Christians have joined us, but also many of those who were not believers have become believers through their involvement with us or have had their faith revitalized.  Every Friday lunchtime those who want to, come together, effectively for church. (Some see it as their church because they don’t get together with other believers on a regular basis). Some of our employees have initiated a daily prayer time before work to pray for the company and our interface with the people we seek to serve through the work the company does.  We also make the counsel of a chaplain available to the people we help through our patient advocacy. 

If church is no longer an event but a lifestyle, what could happen if Christians went out of their way to be church at work?