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Why are Small Groups so Important to a Christian Business Leader?

By Kent Humphreys - I listened carefully as “Charles” explained how the nightmare had begun. Charles was now being forced out of his own firm as CEO. He explained how the equity partner wanted to save money and did not hire an attorney to write up the company’s operating agreement. Charles arranged for two other Christians to put up most of the money for the startup. They had a Christian friend who was an accountant who knew how to set everything up properly. Having left a successful sales career, Charles was not ready to make his mark as a business owner.

Charles started with about 48% of the company and had options to buy more stock. It got to be a blur as more and more money was lost. Eventually Charles borrowed another $150,000 from family and friends and “loaned” it to the company. Then Charles began to put the company expenses on his credit card which soon rose to $75,000. Of course, Charles guaranteed the loans at two banks and another $800,000 of investor equity was also at stake. A few months after an outside consultant came in, Charles was out as CEO. It became unclear as to what was a loan, what was equity, and what were the company expenses. Since all the papers were unclear, Charles was asked to sign new ones.

As the company is liquidated up to $1 million dollars will be lost by Christian friends and the emotions and tempers will be raw for years to come. The bank loans may require the guarantors to put up more money to satisfy the debt. Charles is a young man and can start over, but the nightmare will impact him for years to come.

“Frank” had lunch with me the next day after my evening with Charles. Several months before, Frank had shared with me his passion for Jesus and his enthusiasm for a new workplace ministry at his church. Inside, Frank was dying. He shared with me how the IRS demanded immediate payment of $25,000 in unpaid payroll taxes. They would work out a payment schedule for the rest. For five years Frank’s business was profitable, but the last four years Frank had lost money. He had not shared with his wife the extent of his problems. Like Charles, when Frank finally got some friends to examine the company’s books, it was much worse than he imagined. He has stopped some of the bleeding but the road back will be difficult.

Frank and Charles both allowed their pride and stubbornness to make matters worse. When they needed a small group of other business leaders around them, they were too busy to seek God first or get wise counsel. They even wanted to do things for God and be active in their churches, but did not want to be vulnerable with other leaders. All of us make mistakes and both of these men have time to start over. What would have happened differently if they had been in a weekly small group with other company leaders? These groups are available through many different workplace ministries and some churches are starting groups specifically for workplace leaders. The book of Proverbs is full of admonition for us to seek godly counsel. (15:22, 3:13-14, 4:6-7, 15:22, 8:33-34, 9:10, 13:20, 19:20, 20:18, 24:3) Wise leaders spend time with other leaders and learn together.

Do you have a friend that may be in trouble? Is someone you know starting a new business? Is your own business having cash flow problems? Why not take that friend out to lunch and join an existing group or start one yourself? The financial rewards of these groups may be large, but the emotional and spiritual rewards are much greater. Can you really afford to take the risk and continue to stand alone? Make that call today. The life you save or business that you spare may be your best friend’s or it may be your own!

Kent is the longtime leader of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, a great group that is looking to connect business and ministry together. I encourage you to check out their website by clicking here.

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posted by Justin Forman | 6.16.2009 - 8:15 AM


I was in Malaysia and I heard Jim Dobson say on the radio, "Men if your business is in trouble, you are probably not praying with your wife about big decisions." While this is a good start with humility, I agree with our brother Kent that accountability groups are necessary for any business to be a success and stay that way. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety."
commented by Blogger Pandora, 5:31 AM  

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