Recently, I gave a presentation to a group of entrepreneurs in Boston. I discussed JesusHacks being both a ministry and business. Surely enough, one entrepreneur asked, “How can JesusHacks be a ministry if it’s selling its content?”
I smiled as I thought: this is a valid question—worthy of a blog post.
Can I Make Money from Blessing People?
There is a prevalent idea in our Christian culture that says in order for something to be a ministry it can’t make money. Because of this, many Christians expect Christian business owners to not push them for money. Some Christians think, if these Christian business owners are going to benefit God’s people, then they shouldn’t ask for money.
And this is precisely why there is such a strong divide in people’s minds between a ministry and a business.
This is why Christians can have a bad taste about the business world.
This is why Christians think they need to have a full-time job, but then work the rest of their time in a church.
For some reason, we fear the idea of making money from blessing people. But what we miss is: we can serve people in a better capacity if we were paid for our passions.
This is why we pay pastors. We don’t expect them to do their work for the church for free. We sustain them in their needs so they could give more fully to the church body.
We shouldn’t just treat pastors like this. I argue that we should treat anyone who’s adding value to people’s lives like this.
The truth of the matter is, Christians shouldn’t be afraid to make money from their ministry/business if what they’re doing is adding true value to the world.
What Keeps Us Stuck
There are a number of misconceptions that keep Christians from pursuing their calling/passion more fully because they don’t want to make money from blessing people.
Consider these few misconceptions:
1. All profit is bad.
Though we are warned about money in the Bible, we are not told to reject our wages—meaning, receiving money isn’t inherently bad.
In James 5:1-6, we see rich oppressors withhold money from laborers who deserve wages. Here we see that it’s not bad to receive a wage, but what’s bad is keeping money to yourself.
Money is not evil. It’s our treatment of it that’s evil. With that being said, we shouldn’t control whether we make money or not, but rather what we do with it. It’s our character that needs fixing.
2. Money is the goal of business.
Sometimes, we can assume that since a person is making money from their position, that person is only in their position for the money. But with Christian business owners (and really anyone), this shouldn’t be the case.
Money shouldn’t be a goal, but a means.
While other businesses do work for the money, Christians should pursue work for better reasons. This is how we keep a hold of money’s control over us. By using it as a means to profit others more than ourselves, we ensure that our heart, vision, and passion is kept pure so we can add true value to the world.
3. Businesses aren’t helping me by asking me to pay.
We can mistakenly believe that anytime a business asks us to pay for their service, it’s not about benefitting us—it’s about adding dollars to their pocket. This is a mistake because sometimes, the only way people commit to a service is if they’re financially invested in it.
Think about it: if you receive something for free, you might not value it as much as something you have to pay for.
If a business truly is adding value to your life, it actually benefits you to pay for their service. Be committed to what you’re investing in.
How to Ensure Your Business is Pure
If you are adding value to people’s lives, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask money for it. Our misconceptions about money and business are keeping us stuck, paralyzing us in patterns where we’re stretched thin between the divide of our day job and our ministry.
It’s time we close the gap. It’s time we let go of the misconceptions that tell us we shouldn’t be making money from blessing people, and instead step into a higher role—one that adds value to people’s lives full-time.
But in order to do this, we must make sure our business prioritizes impact over profit. When this is in its right order, then we shouldn’t fear making money from our ministry/passion.
Here’s how I intentionally prioritize impact over profit: I overdeliver.
Overdelivering is about giving people more than they expect and need with my services. It’s about going above and beyond. It also means doing more work on my end, but because I prioritize value over money, this shouldn’t matter. What matters is that people are being changed for the better.
Overdelivering accomplishes a number of things:
1. It makes people happy to pay.
When people know you are giving them more than what they need, they don’t feel cheated of their money. In fact, it allows people to focus more on the value of the product/service and less on the cost. When people are focused more on the value and are happy to pay, then you know you are adding value to people’s lives.
2. Ensures you are serving both the non-paying customer and the paying customer.
The truth about a ministry is, it seeks to serve people more than it seeks a profit. This means, there has to be some part of the business that has to be free if it is going to be a ministry that’s centered on serving people. You need to serve both the non-paying customer and the paying customer.
By overdelivering, I offer free services and products so my ministry/business can serve all people who stumble upon it, no matter what.
3. It focuses you on the work.
A Christian business owner shouldn’t be doing work for the money. They should be doing work for the work. After all, it is the work that adds value to people’s lives, not the money.
Overdelivering allows me to be concerned with what I’m adding to people’s lives. For this purpose, it keeps my heart and my business pure of any greed that hinders my mission.
Do the Work to Transform Society
As Christians in the world, we are called to add value to society, to create culture instead of simple critique it. Because of this, it benefits the Kingdom more if we aren’t afraid to make money from blessing people. If our character is strong, money will not become our goal or taint the vision of our calling. Rather, it’ll enable us to do what we’re made for in an even greater capacity.
Jesus shows us that making a difference is a daily activity. Thus, we must be concerned with the work we do every day. If you are held back from doing the work you’re called to do because of money, rid yourself of that barrier. Living like Jesus means adding value to the world, and money should not be the factor that holds us back from doing what we’re called to do.
In what ways can you overdeliver with your business? Share in the comments below!
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