7 Lessons from FWD17 for Kingdom Builders
On the 18th March 17, I attended FWD17 a conference designed to empower Kingdom builders in the areas of Church, Commerce and Community. It was a powerful event with Christian speakers from all spheres of influence sharing their hard-earned wisdom, advice and guidance. The messages shared had a great impact on me, and I wanted to share my top 7 lessons that I took away from attending the conference and hope they will bless you as much as they have me.
1) Don’t be a Christian in business, be a Christian business
Some people think that Christians and commerce just don’t mix, that being a Christian is business is somehow incompatible. Gary Grant, Founder of The Entertainer, challenged this idea and encouraged Christian entrepreneurs not only to be Christians in business but to develop Christian businesses, that reflect Kingdom principles and practice. He challenged us to do the right thing and stick to our convictions. Gary certainly practices what he preaches, his company The Entertainer is one of the only UK Toy stores that does not to open on a Sunday or sell Halloween Toys. It certainly hasn’t hindered the success or growth of his business, The Entertainer accounts for c6% of the UK toy business and has over 131 stores.
2) Make giving part of the DNA of your business
Gary also encouraged us to make giving an integral part of our business. It is important that those who are blessed as wealth creators use it to glorify God and build his Kingdom. Gary gave us tips on how we could go about doing this which included the following:
Demonstrate generosity by tithing not merely 10% of your profit but your revenue
Encourage your employees to be generous and give them the tools to do so through schemes such as Payroll Giving
Give your customers the opportunities to be generous through micro-giving such as rounding up the pennies on their bill
He was clear that he didn’t see these as ‘rules’ but ideas he had implemented in his own business successfully.
3) Believe in your hunch and surround yourself with people you trust
One of the final points I took away from Gary’s talk was to believe in the intuition God has given you and to surround yourself with people you trust. People who are not afraid to challenge you that you know are on your side and have your best interests at heart. If you do not believe or have conviction in your idea or vision, it will be almost impossible for you to cooperate with God to manifest it. As God’s partners, we have to believe we can hear from him through the Holy Spirit and act on what we are shown. We also need balance, having people around us who are not afraid to correct us when they see we may be going off track. That said it’s important that we can trust these people to allow them to speak into our lives and heed what they say.
Another speaker from the Conference Bishop Tony Miller emphasised how important trust is as a dynastic of success. First and foremost we need to be able to trust God, but to work together in unity we also need to be able to trust others.
4) Cultivate unity between Church, Commerce and Community
Following on from the theme of trust Bishop Tony Miller spoke of the need for Church leaders and business people to trust each other and work together. There can often be a mutual distrust in these relationships, Church leaders can feel business people may try to use their economic power to influence the direction of Church, and business people can often feel misunderstood and even unsupported by Church leaders.
However, the connection between Church leaders and business people is crucial. Business people need a Pastor in their lives, they need spiritual covering and equipping. Commerce is a fundamental element of the Church going out into all the world and being salt and light. It’s important that we work to connect leaders from all spheres of influence to work collaboratively together.
5) Transformed people transform places
Reflecting on Bishop Tony Miller’s thoughts on transformation, the Bible verse that comes to mind is “The world is the Lords and everything in it”. We are called to go out into all the world, our various gifts and talents equip us to make an impact in all spheres of influence not just within the context of the four walls of the church building. People who have been transformed by God are people who can transform the places they are placed. That’s why it’s important that we focus on true transformation rather than what Bishop Tony Miller described as ‘behaviour modification’.
Bishop Mike Royal from Cinnamon Network reminded us of the importance of relationship in the journey of transformation, that is transformation takes places as we interact with each other. Real transformation always takes place in the context of relationship, our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with each other.
6) The Church is God’s vehicle for transformation – ‘The local church is the hope of the world’ – Bill Hybels
In the words of Bishop Tony Miller, ‘You are the answer to someone else’s problem’ and the Church is Gods chosen vehicle for bringing transformation to this world. When we wake up to our purpose and power, we will begin to influence and change culture rather than being intimidated by it. We are placed to be able to not only cater to the spiritual needs of our communities but also their physical, emotional and financial needs too.
Bishop Mike Royal reminded us that we are holistic people and therefore transformation can and must take place at every level of our lives. As we work, we can be assured of Gods promise to build his church (Matthew 16:18).
7) Taking care of ourselves and others is important
Bishop Mike Royal also highlighted the importance of taking care of ourselves and others who are involved in social action. Working within the community with people who are hurting and tackling difficult issues is hard work. It can take a lot out of people physically, emotionally, spiritually and even financially. We need to look out for each other, not only covering each other with prayer but in practical ways too.
Looking after people is essential as a leader; Mike said ‘If you look after your people they will look after your project’. Without people projects do not work, don’t forget yourself in this equation. If you are not healthy, you will have little to give to the work God has called you to. Do not neglect the most important asset God had given us to achieve his purposes, his people, that includes yourself and others that God has entrusted to you.To learn more about FWD18 visit www.forwardconference.co.uk