Mixing God and business can be a sensitive matter. Many would contend?that making God a part of your organizational values will make for a legal and human resources quagmire.
As we continue our series on Values of a Great Team,?I wish to present a case for bringing God into the work place that is workable: legally, ethically, and relationally. I will demonstrate that inviting God in will improve the culture and ultimate success of the organization.
In the United States, we highly value?our freedom of religion at home, at work, and in the community. None of us want to be discriminated against for what we believe or how we express it. So we endeavor to preserve our personal freedoms of religion and of expression. Yet we still grapple with how to share our faith and personal convictions in a way that is not invasive or offensive to others, particularly in our businesses and organizations. It?s not always clear when and how much is appropriate to share in the workplace.?So should God be left out of business altogether?
Absolutely not. There are ways to successfully practice our faith?in the workplace without creating waves of dissonance.
What God Can Add to an Organization
I am a follower of Jesus. It is who I am and who I choose to be. No apologies. Jesus is evident in the fabric of the organization I lead. But I will never force my beliefs on those who work with me. As leaders, I believe it is vital that we create a culture that both adopts and implements Godly principles, while seeking to understand and respect the spirituality of others.
I strive to fulfill the teachings of Jesus in my life: love, compassion, forgiveness, humility, compassion, and service to others. While I do not impose my spirituality onto others, as a business leader I do expect that these values are practiced in our organization. These Godly values enrich our culture because they enrich our individuals. Our people are not required to ascribe to them in a spiritual way. They are however expected to practice these values in a practical way, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Basing you organizational values on the teachings of Jesus is not the same as saying, ?You must be a Christian to work here.? But it is making it clear that if you don?t practice love, compassion, forgiveness, humility, and service to others, you may not be a good fit for our organization because we do these things here.
Examining The United States of America Model
If we all believed in the same God and practiced our faith in the same ways, there would be little to discuss. Since we do not all ascribe to the same faith, nor share the same means of expressing it, how do we accommodate and respect our different faiths in the workplace?
Let’s examine the?model of The United States of America. Our country was founded by Christians. Most of them were clearly open about their faith. Yet even though they penned our values as a nation from Biblical principles, religious freedom was also?highly regarded and protected.?We can implement this same value into our organizations. As a Christian, I choose to start and operate businesses that espouse Christian values, yet honor those who choose to practice religions that differ from mine, or who practice no religion at all.
I attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC a few weeks ago. The annual event is hosted by Congress around the name of Jesus. It draws politicians from all over the world, as well as our own, to honor and lift prayers to God. Members of the US congress are present. The President is there. We all prayed in the name of Jesus. I met the Chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black. He is a Seventh Day Adventist clergyman and an ex-US rear navy admiral. He told us that every week, a third of the Senate meets for a prayer breakfast.
But here is the key, this is not a required breakfast. Many choose not to come, and that is okay. Other law makers are free to gather under the name of a different faith. In that freedom, we see an example of faith practiced at the highest levels of government, while freedom of religion is still staunchly defended.
Consider Organizations That Put God at Their Center
Many hospitals in the United States have a religious affiliation, but they also all employ people of varying faiths. Again, this works because people respect one another?s faith and offer each other the freedom to practice what they believe without ridicule, reprisal, or prejudice.
I recently visited the personal office of Truitt Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a. His office has been preserved to?the way it was preceding his passing. Right in the middle of his desk is the Bible, open to a passage in Proverbs. In big and small ways, this successful company honors God. They close on Sundays. They help the community. They treat their employees well. And they serve their customers with warm hospitality. It was an affirmation to me that honoring God in our businesses is not only plausible, but possible. ?And there is no denying the blessing upon this organization, its employees, customers and communities.
“In God We Trust” is proudly displayed on the US dollar. I hope we all have the courage to make such bold declarations in our organizations while steering clear of any kind of intimidation or disrespect to others who differ from us.
Actionable step:?While this is not an easy topic to navigate, I?encourage you to promote “We honor God” as value on your team. For example, in our organization we start our daily meetings with a devotional and prayer. But attendance to this part is of the meeting is not required.
About me:?My late father is from a well known town in Lebanon called Baalbek. Baalbek has a huge Roman temple. Click here to check it out. A picture of this temple is on the Lira, the Lebanese currency.
For Further Reading:
Values That Made This Nation Great – A LESSON FOR ALL OF US
Leaders Chart the Course: What We Can Learn About Leadership from The Mayflower