"My business IS my ministry and my ministry IS my business"
This is the type of 'out of the blue' advice I'm given as I partner with God in running my small business. Over the years, I've been advanced an expanding manifesto of these 'inspired nuggets' that have caused me to rethink, reshape and implement new changes in how I serve the marketplace.
It seems to be common, when expereincing a Divine-instruction. What is said tends to have layers that reveal itself in deeper ways over time. It's like a seed being planted that will grow and expand, then change you. Perfect for and at each step of development.
The nugget above is one of my most recent examples.
God dropped, "My business IS my ministry and my ministry IS my business" into my spirit around January, 2018. It really was an unexpectant sudden revelation that made me stop still in case any movement would scare it away. Although I'd been contemplating and chatting to Him around the theme of my business and ministry at the time, I'd sensed an internal niggle that I hadn't quite hit the nail on the head. Something I wasn't doing, maybe? I wasn't sure. Then, LIGHTBULB. Insight!
What's it like to experience this kind of instruction?
It's as if the clouds part for a moment and everything in the world seems clear and bright and if you could only stay there you'd be the one to know how stop the wars and famine of the land. Then the clouds roll back and your left holding the teeny-tiniest speck of a jewel, it seems, snatched from Aladdin's secret cave. But you don't know how it works. Do you rub it? Is there an 'on' button? Do you insert it somewhere?
So you hold it, toy with it, place it somewhere safe till it becomes one with you and you begin to see it as a part of the puzzle pieces of your 'manifesto' towards the ultimate purpose of what you're meant to do.
So yeah, it's both enlightening and confusing.
Mostly, it's like a dangled carrot that urges me on and God is like a father crouched down, arms out, encouraging his toddler to take her first few steps. Despite the 10 years of self-employment behind me, I always feel like that toddler. I get in a few sure steps then the direction is amended slightly and I have to navigate a corner or something.
It's never truly is without its instruction however, incert Holy Spirit, but it makes me realise that I can't rely, or lean, on my past experiences of how I delt with things, as it always amazes me how valid and pointed the advice given is for the very thing that's before me. This way of living undoes old thinking and patterns over time. I could not of thought this stuff up on my own, I'm just not that cleaver or experienced to know what to do.
The remembrance of the above mandate, made me realise I needed to amalgamate my business with my ministry and consider it as one entity. So I played with that, focusing my niche market on Christians in business, as it fit the bill in utilising my business and ministry goals, and it worked a teat.
However, a year later, a deeper understanding and layer has unveiled itself.
I find myself not being as nomadic in 2019. While available to volunteer my business, for the most part, I'm staying grounded in one region for the year. This effects who I'm serving, as I simply don't know anyone in business here, especially Christian's in business. So I go to God about what and how I can work here. The solution has been practical - I was inspired to join a business networking group, and to introduce myself to the creative community.
Doing this has shown me how much God not only loves His children in business, but how He loves and cares about ALL his children in business, whether they know Him or not. My PURPOSE is to serve THE marketplace, not only the Christian marketplace. My purpose is to SERVE them and care about their business. Whatever God wants to do is up to Him, but I'm to serve.
As I looked around the breakfast table at the 14 men and woman who represented different industries in town, these themes filled my thinking:
How can I really be of service to them?
Because they don't know me, how can I encourage them to trust me?
Because trust takes time, is there a way I could fast track this trust in a genuine way?
"My business IS my ministry and my ministry IS my business" came to mind and I had an insightful 'aha moment'.
I'm to serve these 14 business men and women as I have been serving God's people in business through my ministry these past 7+ years. I will give each of them 4 hours of my time, to work on whatever they want within their business completely free of charge and without strings or expectations, other than to allow trust and relationship to build. Then, because I trust and expect the Lord to provide, He'll bring me clients at the right time.
It really isn't a surprise as BNI have a 'Givers Gain' core value, great marketing has a 'Give to Get' attitude, and the world values 'Giving Back'. So I guess what I'm offering is 'trending'.