People come and go; one generation after another. Great businesses are started, they fail and are extinct. Many business which trended in the past are no longer in vogue today. However, the most flourishing business in the world is the one initiated by the creator of the earth! God’s business has survived times and seasons and would remain relevant as long as the earth remains. What is this business, and why has it survived the worst recessions?
You may be quick to think that by the term God’s business, I mean the Church business. Isn’t it? Not really, although it is related in a way. Today the church is adjudged a flourishing business especially in Africa where the hunger for miracles ranks highest in the list of reasons why many people go to church. This desperate need is also a reason why many who are not approved of God venture into church business, and endear many gullible people by fake and deceitful miracles, thereby enriching their own pockets.
The church is supposed to be the assemble of followers of Christ, but not defined by geographical location or physical boundaries. The church is not the edifice, neither is it defined by the affluence or poverty associated with it. Rather it is the people who are united in the worship of God through Christ. The people are the church. Sadly, the church has been redefined in many ways.
Is the church supposed to be a business venture? Some believes the church is a business organization why some says it is not. According to the renown Evangelist and founder of the Uma Ukpa Evangelistic Association, Rev. Dr. Uma Ukpai, “Jesus calls church business. He said, ‘I am about my father’s business’. He called church work business and what is business? Business is investment plus gain, minus loss. In church planting, no pastor can collect offering without giving account and survive. Every church has elders and the job of the elders is to make sure that account is given; it is not even publicly but given internally but the account must be given.” 1
For those who thinks the Church is not a business organization, they believe the Church is not a business because ideally, it exists to render humanitarian services and not necessarily to make profit. Some have argued that if the church is supposed to be an organization where the sole purpose of establishment is to draw people closer to God and provide solace from danger, why then is it perceived or portrayed as a business venture?
On how the business work in church is done, Dr. Uma Ukpa said, ”Church is all about investment and the gain they make is not in money but in people; that is the gain they make. People also can be called money because for instance, if a pastor’s ministry can cause 20 women to get pregnant; those women will not forget the pastor. If a pastor’s ministry can produce one of the richest 10 men in the country, those men will not forget the man who made them what they are.” 1
The most flourishing business, for me, is not the church’s business. It is not related to how wealthy the church or her founder is. In talking about the Jews and their misplaced zeal, Apostle Paul said, “…I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business (emphasis mine). Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it (Romans 10:1-3 MSG).
The picture painted in the passage above is about what people do contrary to God’s way of doing things. The act of ‘making their own deals’ is what many people call Church business. Therefore, any church organization set up to “turn stones to bread” by enriching the pockets of some through deceits, while neglecting the proclamation of the truth, and the task of seeking to reconcile men to God, is a perversion of God’s purpose for establishing the church.
What exactly is a church supposed to be? I read the story of a meeting of a local Rotary club. Each week at the meetings a different member was asked to give a brief statement about his job. When it was the turn of a Christian minister he stood up and said: “I’m with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We have our representatives in nearly every parliament and board room on earth. We’re into motivation and behavior alteration.
“We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. “We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants. Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There’s not enough money to buy it.)
“Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn’t own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead—I talk with him everyday.” Amazing, isn’t it? Yes, the church is the most amazing organization in the world! 2
The church is neither the gigantic edifice, nor the tattered structure where people gather to worship. Rather, it is the group of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Sacrificial lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and who are faithfully representing His interest on earth. Thus, the most flourishing business is salvaging those who are perishing from eternal condemnation in hell, and leading to the eternal God.
It is the business of proclaiming the message of salvation which is a free gift borne out of God’s love. This business, even though it continued to be threatened by persecution, tribulation, recession, and even death, have never ceased to trend through generations. And assuredly, it will never go bankrupt as long as the earth remains. God will continue to reconcile men to Himself, and the gates of Hell shall never prevail against this business of salvation! This is the world’s most flourishing business!
You are winning! Yes, we are winning!