Some of our nation’s most popular businesses, from fast food chains and craft stores to mall-based teen fashion shops, are founded and run by devout Christians. Companies like Chik-Fil-A, famous for being closed on Sundays so employees can spend time with family, are proudly upfront about being guided by Christian values and ethical leadership.
Ethics before profits
In a recent examination of ethics in business, Spring Arbor University reported that an organization’s perceived character has a significant impact on consumer loyalty. Spending decisions, especially among millennials, are increasingly driven by a company’s reputation for social responsibility and ethical business practices. Entrepreneurs who build their businesses around traditional values — honesty, reliability and trustworthiness — are thriving.
Recently, Business Insider provided a roundup of America’s most religious companies — some are well known for their adherence to Biblical values, but others are sure to surprise you.
Did you know this popular trendy fashion shop was founded and is owned by Christians? One testament to the company’s faith is found on the seam at the bottom of the store bags. Printed on the bags is “John 3:16,” one of the bible’s most quoted passages. Mrs. Do Won Chang, founder of Forever 21, told Bloomberg Business Week that her store has deep religious roots, saying that God told her to open her store, and she would be successful.
Consumers might be surprised to learn that food giant Tyson is a company run on faith-based principles. Tyson Food’s core company values include statements to “strive and honor God,” and to be “a faith-friendly company.” The organization has over 100 chaplains on staff to provide pastoral care to staff people.
Cosmetics entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay, the late Mary Kay Ash, credits her achievements to God. In a 1997 interview she attributed her company’s success to her decision to “take God as our partner.” In her biography, Mary Kay says, “God has blessed us because our motivation is right. He knows I want women to be the beautiful creatures He created.”
While religion isn’t addressed on the company’s website, customers will find bible passage references printed on the California-based burger chain’s cups, containers and wrappers. According to Christian Post the practice of including bible passages on the burger joint’s cups started in the 1980s by then president, Rich Snyder. Reportedly, Snyder wanted to show his company’s Christian values and beliefs.
Interstate’s website states its official purpose is “to glorify God and enrich lives as we deliver the most trustworthy source of power to the world.” Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, goes further than a brief mention of God in his company’s mission statement. In a personal testimony on his company’s site, Miller explains how he came to find God, and invites others to pray and accept Christ as their Savior.
A company that is perhaps known for its religious beliefs, national arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby’s first mission statement reads they strive to be, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a matter consistent with biblical principles.” Hobby Lobby was in the news recently for winning a Supreme Court case involving exemptions to the Affordable Care Act due to religious freedoms. And for almost 20 years the company has run full-page religious ads during Easter and Christmas holidays.
ServiceMaster’s family of companies include Terminix, Merry Maids and American Home Shield. Founded in 1929 by former minor league baseball player Marion E. Wade, the companies aim to incorporate Wade’s “strong personal faith” into their business structure. Wade held firm belief in his mission to “honor God in all we do,” and viewed individual employees and customers as worthy of dignity and respect.
George Foreman Cooking
Former boxing legend George Foreman credits his business accomplishments to a 1977 religious awakening that led to Foreman becoming a preacher, according to a Success article. Foreman says the success of his wildly popular lean, mean grilling machine is due to the values and integrity he learned as a preacher. Foreman has built a strong relationship with consumers, making the George Foreman brand a highly trusted household name.
These organizations keep their faith-based value system at the center of their mission. And when ethical character starts at the top, integrity is often reflected in a company’s products and services — and consumers notice.
Earning my MBA from a Christian perspective was a game-changer. I was encouraged to integrate Jesus’ teaching in my coursework, and view the business world through a Christian lens. – Troy Trahan, MBA graduate
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