Closing the gap between faith and business multiplies generosity
Minute by minute, business owners and leaders are given opportunities to make decisions that have significant impact on others. It’s a heavy responsibility, for sure. It also comes with great reward when the decisions – and business itself – are rooted in honoring the Gospel. When companies close the gap between faith and business, the potential for radical generosity multiplies.
Here at NCF, we talk a lot about how we are stewarding our LIFE (Labor, Influence, Finances, and Expertise). We are to overcome barriers to generosity and become good stewards of our LIFE . As we attach that acronym and the stewardship mentality to not only our lives but how we engage in the business world, it becomes necessary as business owners, leaders, or generous entrepreneurs, to use business as engines of generosity in multiple ways.
You may be familiar with the BAM (Business as Mission) movement that arose nearly 20 years ago and continues to grow. BAM produces great fruit, yet I believe there’s been a maturation to look at this idea even more holistically – a call to action to do more than add a Christian icon to our business page or slap a Jesus fish sticker on our van window (though these things may hold value!). The call is to embrace the belief that since God has made us to work and that we work for His glory, as business owners and leaders we must use our business generously and holistically for the sake of the Gospel.
So, how can we bring the presence of Jesus — who is our model for generosity — into our businesses to demonstrate and glorify the Gospel?
A business structure based in love
The first way our business can lead with generosity is in its structure. Good questions to ask include:
- Does the business seek to embody the Gospel as it hires, trains, or terminates employees?
- Is the business leaving a meaningful impact on employees in the way it provides for them and their families through compensation, benefits, and prioritizing their health and happiness?
- Are we supporting career growth and encouraging employees to feel like a significant part of the company mission?
- Are we regularly having conversations with leadership about how to guide employees to intentionally participate in God’s transformational work in the lives of coworkers, partners, and clients?
- How are we loving our community, displaying corporate activism, or modeling the Gospel in the marketplace?
Establishing these essential best practices sets the foundation for business as an engine for generosity, impacting both the heart and the bottom line. Typically, when we set the business structure well, it has the ability to generate significant profits so it can be financially generous.
To see what a kingdom-minded business looks like in practice, check out this video from KORE Investments.
A financially generous business
When a business is profitable, it can make a strategy for how to use the profits to perpetuate financial generosity. By gifting a percentage or all of a business to NCF, even if there is zero desire to sell, a company can release more dollars for the kingdom. I recently spoke with NCF givers that own an income-producing commercial property and are considering selling. We talked about what generosity could look like if they gifted that business to NCF. By gifting part of all of it to NCF, they get a tax deduction based on the fair market value of the gift (which has a multiyear carry-over if it can’t be used in one year). NCF then becomes a silent shareholder in the business. NCF receives the shareholder profit distribution in either a tax-preferred or tax free method based on the type of business entity. We place those funds into a donor advised fund or charitable checking account for the business owners to mobilize for charitable impact. After that conversation, they’re considering gifting 100% of the property to use the business as a perpetual engine for generosity. Incredible!
We’re encouraged by the growing number of believers who truly understand and embrace God’s vision for stewardship. More and more voices in the world, like C12, Convene, Kingdom Advisors, and those within local churches are doing a great job of encouraging this correct view of stewardship by modeling business for generosity. Regularly, givers share stories of how they are applying generosity to their business and experiencing true freedom through generosity. If you’re in a position to leverage your business for generosity, we’d love to talk about how you can take that to the next level. Reach out to us for a conversation about what’s possible.