By Ernest F. Parrish
March 28, 2023

Unusual church

Discipleship can happen anywhere, including within the walls of your business.

Recently, I became aware of the most remarkable world-changing church! The pastor and staff possess more influence, leadership skills, and far-reaching impact than I thought humanly possible, coming from this small 350-member church in the Midwest. His team’s ability to cast vision, roll out strategic plans, and efficiently execute is legendary. He has been faithfully discipling men from both inside and outside of the church for over 20 years—men who have gone on to disciple multiple generations of other disciples (2 Timothy 2:2). Their passion for the lost is unparalleled, as this fellowship invests tens of thousands of dollars into community events that encourage the saints, as well as effectively reach the unchurched. 

The generosity of this church and its leaders is practically unfathomable! With only 350 members in their fellowship, they have provided over 1.6 million meals a year for several years and given millions of dollars to various discipleship and mission organizations, both locally and globally. The church offers every member and their spouse an opportunity to travel to attend a top-notch marriage conference every year and takes care of all of their expenses for attending! They teach their flock how to train their children and manage their financial resources effectively. It’s simply astounding! The church has established an educational fund that offers a free college education to anyone at the gathering to finish or start their college education. 

This visionary leader and the compassionate hearts of this church and staff have also started a crisis fund for any member who finds themselves in a tough season and needs temporary financial assistance to get over the short-term hurdles. They not only encourage giving of members’ time, talent, and treasure with matching funds but also to give to other congregations and organizations that are making a difference! The church has also allowed another ministry organization to office inside their facility for years and assisted them with financial support to grow their ministry.

You may be as surprised as I have been that a church and staff would have such a profound vision, passionate generosity, and virtually flawless ministry execution! The minister is a leader of leaders, speaking at every opportunity for which the Lord opens a door about how this remarkable story has all transpired. He has met with thousands of other ministers who want to model their ministries after this trailblazer. He’s one of the most humble, staff-focused ministers I have ever known, and yet, most of my colleagues across the Kingdom landscape don’t even recognize my friend as a minister. Many would say he isn’t called, and most would also say he isn’t even a minister. The church at large has never really endorsed or has rarely acknowledged his church’s generosity, human touches, and leadership skills. There has never been much said about this church: It’s outside of the traditional church walls. However, every detail about this story is true, except for the fact it’s a business instead of a church.

Business leaders have a captive audience for 40 to 55 hours every week, compared to 30 to 40 minutes each week by traditional church pastors, thus making business leaders about 8000% more influential with their people than their ministry counterparts.

Come on, church, let’s recognize and honor these heroes of our faith! They truly hold the keys to the local church’s greatest mission field. Jesus was a minister in the marketplace who had a team of businessmen that changed the world! Let us go and do likewise—living life with and making disciples as He commanded us to do (Matthew 28:18-20). Wouldn’t it be a good idea to build a relationship with them?

Their acts of kindness, selfless generosity, compassion, and discipleship impact the Kingdom of God far and wide! After all, everything done for the Kingdom of God shouldn’t necessarily have to flow through the church building to be the church, does it? Remember, the Lord didn’t give us all these people to build a big business; rather, he gave us businesses to build big people! Redeeming value in your business begins as you shift your mindset from business owner to campus pastor! You really are the campus pastor over the souls God has placed in your hands. Think differently about what God has in store for you and your role in the business, and enjoy the new fulfilling joy of being a kingdom business owner!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers to equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:10-13 NIV)

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About Ernest F. Parrish

For the past 40+ years EF Parrish has invested his life in building relationships with people. Whether as a sales director with Sprint Communications Company, a children’s pastor with a local mega-church, or VP of Sales for a large office equipment dealer, Parrish brings over 40 years experience as a business executive, minister and published author. One of Parrish’s deep passions in life is building disciples of Jesus Christ, by giving away what he has gained in his fifty+ years of walking with Christ.

Responding to the importance Parrish places on relationships, he founded Corporate Care in 1987. The business currently provides corporate chaplaincy services to thousands of employees in numerous businesses.