The National Christian Foundation of Wisconsin convened the recent FUEL Conference. The collaborative planning included such groups as:
Truth at Work
Center for Christian Leadership at Wisconsin Lutheran College
Midway through the day, participants were invited to calculate their collective reach. Just how many people do we touch when we add employees, their families, customers, and vendors? The responses that came back added to 24.2 million!
Wow! One banquet hall of socially distanced business leaders touches that many people. The number rattles around in my head since the close of the event, leading me to two observations. The second observation grows from the first.
1. The leaders present at that conference are firmly rooted in the belief' that their Christian faith places an ethical stamp and a profound responsibility to maintain integrity. Love for God and neighbor needs to be unquestioningly on display as they conduct business. They will be reliable, fair-minded, humble service-oriented, and devoted to the common good. Their work becomes an expression of worship. They provide grounding and a moral center for the overall marketplace and the communities where they are located. This is their confession and profession. This is not the shrill and empty posture of increasingly empty religiosity and exclusionary subculture within North American religion, but a discipleship that cannot ignore widows, orphans, or displaced persons.
2. There is indeed overlap in the 24.2 million, and for various reasons in a geographically concentrated area that leads to double or triple counting. For instance, some of those business leaders use the same custodial service or security monitoring companies. One person present employs one spouse. At the same time, their neighbor at the conference table employs the other. Both count the family of employees in their tally. So, rather than think of this as 24.2 million people, we might think of this as 24.2 million touchpoints where all I've detailed in #1, above, is experienced and reinforced.
We can only hope.
And if this hope gets fulfilled. If #1 is intentionally and repeatedly tied. If #1 is how we measure and evaluate whether we are successfully living into the mission, vision, and values we've enshrined on our walls, then the salt, light, and yeast so often described by Christian business leaders will indeed offer good seasoning, illumination, and thriving for a larger culture.
This, rather than so much of the spoilage, shadowed- behaviors and collapse the Christian community has offered the culture of late.