United States (MNN) – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship just held its 13th Believers in Business conference this past weekend. The conference, held at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, is designed to help MBA students learn how to live out their faith through business.
Believers in Business
The Believers in Business conference first began in 2006 on Yale University’s campus. The conference is run by students, and those students are advised by InterVarsity staff.
At least a dozen schools from across the country are represented on the team of students who make this conference come alive. This includes Harvard Business School, UCLA, Columbia, and more. A lot of these top business schools have Christian fellowships—and the students want to know what integrating their faith into their career path looks like.
But, sometimes putting the words “faith” and “business” into a sentence together is unusual. Do those two things really go together? Can you serve God through business? The answer is, yes!
“The reality is, God is using everything and every institution, including business, to advance his purposes in the world,” InterVarsity’s Mark Washington shares.
“There’s been a growing movement that we have seen globally that has demonstrated that God is using business to create human flourishing and to create the platforms for justice and for people to learn and have education, have meaningful employment. And so, ‘Believers in Business’ conference is just one indicator of how God is moving in that way.”
Perfection, Fall, Redemption
Washington says it’s important to think about business, and any career really, in four chapters: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Then ask, how does business, or work in general, fit into this.
As it can be imagined, work was perfect at the start of creation. But, once the fall came, God’s original intent for these things became tainted with humanity’s sin. Because the world is still in the fallen state, business is often also being used in a fallen state. However, through Christ’s redemption of his people, how business is used can also be redeemed.
“God was not content to just let us bear the consequences of the fall, he had a plan for redemption. The pinnacle of which of course was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Washington says. “Along the way we are invited to be a redeeming force in this world. Where there’s brokenness, we’re to bring healing and restoration.”
An example of this in business is human trafficking. In fact, human trafficking is a dark, heart-wrenching reflection of the brokenness in business. Today, there are more people enslaved in this world than at any other point in history, Washington says. And it’s here where the redemption of business, through Christ, is also seen.
Making an Impact
“Yet, we also have seen trafficking takes place where there’s no good work, when the economy is bad, and that sets up the conditions for human trafficking,” Washington explains. “So business where it flourishes and work where it’s done well glorifies God and prevents some of the ills and brokenness of the world.”
On top of this, there are multiple businesses and non-profit organizations dedicated to helping prevent human trafficking or providing life opportunities for human trafficking victims through business. This can look like business class and teaching individuals certain trades, like baking or sewing.
A common one which is often talked about at women’s conferences is jewelry made by trafficking survivors. Business can very well be the hand of the Church when it’s used to glorify and on honor God.
“As the students graduate and are scattered around the globe, they will use their influence for God’s glory, both within their organizations and in their time when they’re not working, after hours. It may be how they volunteer. It may be how they show generosity with their finances. Or it may be just their networks they open up to help the church grow.”
Washington also hopes that through planning this conference, the students responsible for it will have grown more in the image of Christ, spiritually and professionally, as each of them learned more about working on teams and fulfilling their duties for the conference.
And while the conference focuses specifically on MBA students, it is open to anyone who has an undergraduate degree. So, while this year’s conference is over, it may very well be something to look into attending next year. But for now, will you pray for those who attended the Believers in Business conference this year?
Pray for God to use these students to share his love through business. Ask that opportunities would arise for the business world to be utilized for God’s will. And finally, pray for the people who will benefit from meeting Christ’s followers in business, that they’d clearly see Christ in these people, and that their hearts would be open to the Gospel.
To donate to the Believers and Business conference, click here!
Get more information about the Believers and Business conference here!