Interview: Businesspersons, Don't Become Pastors Unless Called

A man looks outside the window in his office.
A man looks outside the window in his office. (photo:
By Sophia LiuDecember 12th, 2023

“Business people are injured people.”

Having been in business for years, Sister Yue said the above sentence. As she said that, her Northeast accent sounded so funny, as if it were a talk show. Despite that comic effect, I could feel a sense of burden that she had for business people.

She and her husband, her brother Zhang, have been doing business for the past 15 years. On their faithful journey, they have always looked for opportunities to serve merchant groups.

Brother Zhang once went to a seminary where he was trained to be a full-time pastor, but his tutor found that he was not suitable for being a pastor but more for a businessman. That was why they continued to be involved in business. For every place they went, they sought to serve the churches there, from northeast to east and south China. Although they have  to travel to different regions, their ministry for businesspersons remains unchanged.

Since 2018, the couple has been touched by the Holy Spirit to carry out pastoral work for businesspersons who cannot attend church activities for various reasons. During that years, they have experienced many difficulties in caring for complicated and difficult-to-serve merchant groups, but meanwhile, they also have seen the difficulties that businesspersons are facing.

For two years, Zhang’s service was very tiresome. In a week, there were four days to work  in the church and three days to work for the company. The three days were his rest time. In the long run, some staff started to worry that the development of the company would be damaged. However, after two years, their testimony was, "When you work for God, do not worry that your enterprise will suffer losses, and the enterprise will develop better and better."

They said that the biggest profit of the company should be distributed to employees so that they can take better care of their families and live a carefree life. Then it will be easy to share the gospel with them.

When talking about the care of merchant groups, they shared five points.

"First, ask for no return and be willing to suffer." They said. 

“Being smart doesn’t hurt” is how Zhang understands the characteristics of business people. Therefore, he believes that if businesspersons were to believe in the Lord, suffering must be taken first. For instance, he would invite them to dinner without telling them why.

"Second, take root in the Bible and guide them to experience God," they added. 

According to Sister Yue, their focus is to let them take root in the Bible and lead them to learn to trust and experience God. They pay great attention to how God’s words can exert the power of change in specific commerce difficulties. When enterprises are in trouble, they do not only give these businesspersons emotional needs but also seek God’s words with them and pray to God so that they can experience God’s help for themselves. If necessary, they will also ask external experts to help solve the practical difficulties of the enterprises.

"Third, it is important to help them establish good family relationships."

When believers have family conflicts, they would talk about them. Through Bible study, Zhang tells them how to educate their children, how to love their families, and how to love each other. Through studying, both husband and wife (believers) learn to hug each other and discuss and solve problems together. Some unbelieving husbands and wives have also been transformed because of their service, from blaming God for the bankruptcy of enterprises to testifying to God’s grace later.

"Fourth, teach the correct concept of wealth."

Zhang often reminds his business people that wealth is a blessing from God, but too much pursuit of wealth will turn your vision and direction from Jesus to money. They will also correct believers’ misconceptions about wealth: not because you believe in the Lord, you will become rich by participating in activities; on the contrary, you may be poorer if you have to keep giving, but your treasure is accumulated in heaven. Therefore, they emphasize that your eyes should turn to God, not to what you want. The biblical concept of financial management with honesty, such as not making false accounts, is the most basic principle.

"Five, it is not recommended that businesspersons put down their businesses to be pastors unless there are special circumstances."

Brother Zhang used to be the leader of a church, but it was due to special circumstances. At that time, the former pastor left the church which was in urgent need of a leader. In order to avoid the dissolution of the church, Zhang was urged to assume the position of leader. However, during that period, the couple did not stop praying for God to send a pastor to replace them. When God brought in a new pastor, he resigned and left.

Zhang believes that it is good if the looked-after businesspersons are willing to participate in the Great Commission, because businesspersons will share the gospel faster than ordinary believers or pastors. For example, it is faster and easier for business owners to share the gospel with their employees than pastors, because employees can understand the gospel more easily when they see that the boss’s life is a good example and that he is good to his employees. However, without special circumstances or background, he suggested that it is best not to put down the business to become a pastor.

Finally, Zhang shared his understanding that “the church should be community-oriented.” Worship is only the simplest function of the church, and the biggest function of the church is to go deep into the community to serve the groups in it. When he is on a business trip, although he has the money to hire an au pair to take care of his eldelry mother, he is more assured that his brothers and sisters in the church will help him take care of her because he trusts them.

He has a vision of a beautiful community-based church: there are not only churches in the community where he lives, but also his neighbors are members of his church, and they can send their children to their own homes when they need it. When their parents have short or sad things at home, the church can comfort them. When the neighbors next to them see them being comforted, they will also sprout the concern of the church. Slowly, the place will have the flavor of the gospel.

Many businesspersons who have been taken care of by the couple have become the mainstay of the church. God has comforted many injured businesspersons through them, and they also have seen God’s face in these people.

- Translated by Charlie Li

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