The Jews have understood the concept of “cooperation rather than competition” for thousands of years. The “Masons” understand it. The “Chamber of Commerce” understands it, when they encourage their members to “do business with a member”. The local “Homebuilders Association” understands it. Even the secular service clubs such as the “Moose Lodge”, the “Kiwanis Club”, etc. understand it.
But the “BODY OF CHRIST” seems to have never understood, (at least not since the early church) much less implemented this concept.
It’s time for new thinking and a new commitment!
With the assistance of a good friend and brother in the Lord, Chuck Thorpe, and the blessing of our Pastor, Ron Stewart, we established a marketplace ministry at our home church, Abundant Life Church of God in Lakeland Florida in April, 2009. Our goals and purposes were and still are to bring the marketplace businesses and workers into the calling that God has placed in them, to inspire them, connect them to the congregation, pray for them and do business with each other whenever possible.
Now I believe, it is time to connect Christian businesses and the whole body of Christ in the same fashion.
We are committed to doing business in the following order:
1 – In our local church, to doing business with others, (who are tithers/regular supporters) within that church whenever possible. When we do this, the local body prospers, tithes increase, unemployed are employed, needs are met and the ministry expands
2 – When we can’t find anyone in our church to fill our business needs, then we look to Christian businesses (who are also tithers/regular supporters) within our local community,
3 – Then to Christians elsewhere in our state, and
4 – Finally to Christians in the extended “body of Christ”.
This directory will accomplish that purpose. Here, consumers can first look within their own churches or Christian ministries they are involved in, then to Christians in the local area, then expand that search until the right business is located.
We understand that sometimes God directs us to do business with non Christians for God’s own purposes. Maybe for a witness; maybe just to bless another. We know that sometimes we have family, special friends or business commitments that need to be honored and we deviate from the order of preference outlined above. But in all other situations with all other things being equal, then our commitment should be as above.
And when I say, “All other things being equal”, it is understood and expected that Christian businesses are to be excellent in quality of goods and services and to be competitive in pricing. We don’t expect “Cheapest”, only “competitive”. In other words do business “as unto the Lord”. Any business not doing so is not deserving of our patronage!
In these economic times, it is important that all Christians be committed to their Christian Brothers and Sisters, first in their house of worship, then to the community of Christians.
Continuing to bless unbelievers or even worse, those that hate God, is like shooting ourselves in the foot. We would actually be supporting the destruction of our faith by those that mock God and hate us.
It is my hope and my prayer that this website will have some part in helping the Body of Christ to connect with each other as never before!
Our founding scripture for Integritybusinessreferrals.com is Deuteronomy 8:18: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today”.
The ability to get wealth is not to buy more Luxury items and swimming pools but to establish His covenant on the Earth!
Unfortunately, most of the time, church members, Christians who are not church members and just unchurched citizens don’t know whom to call when they need goods or services. In many cases they look in the yellow pages and just pick a name, sometimes to their detriment! When a nonbeliever is hired and a Christian pays that nonbeliever for their goods or services, they are in fact giving righteous money to the unrighteous which is in direct contradiction to God’s word that states clearly in Proverbs 13:22b – But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. It does not say “the wealth of the righteous is stored up for the sinner”!
We also produce and print written directories which we place in churches and businesses wherever possible. We also have on this website an online directory that can connect many Christian businesses (some very small or even “startup” ventures on a limited budget) with Christian consumers. This gives the consumer some assurance that the businesses listed are actually the Christians that they professed to be plus it gives the consumer the ability to search within their own church. With our verifying process, we hope to go a long way in giving some comfort to consumers and credibility to the businesses listed. In our verification we actually speak to the Pastors and associates of the businesses listed. “By the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses, a matter is established!” Deut. 19:15
I pray this directory will be a blessing to you!
–Lew Frye, Lakeland, Florida