Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
 
 

Taking God into communities - business    (7/11/2010 )

What exactly does the church think of prosperous and powerful people? Well, it seems to me that it either says “Give away all your money and become poor,” or “We really like you and you money, come on in!”

Neither of those attitudes is where God starts with any of us, whether we’re rich or poor, powerful or weak. God begins with love!

I’m the Church of England’s minister to the business community in Leeds, the biggest banking, finance and insurance centre in the UK outside London. It’s my job to go to the senior people in those businesses and tell them that they are loved by God and by the church.

Not everyone I talk to gets what I mean:

  • some say the rich don’t deserve love because they are greedy
  • some say they don’t need to be cared about because they have everything that money can buy
  • some say that only the poor deserve pity. 

But people’s lives are never that simple, and that’s why God doesn’t work in the way we might expect.

My job is, to a large extent, a new idea in the Church of England. It places a full-time minister among the senior people who shape the city and set the pressures under which the rest of us work. I’m not there to attract funding or to criticise big business; this is a role that recognises that the pressures that people face are often greater the higher up the ladder they go, and that these pressures are not just limited to the office. My role is to be alongside those who need someone to be an outside ear—outside of the management team, or the family, or the friendship circle. For those times when a friend, colleague or spouse are too close, too risky or too fragile. It’s also to be a challenging friend!

If you’re at the top of your business it’s a long drop to the bottom if something goes wrong—if everything, and I mean everything, you and your family do depends upon your money and your importance, then it’s a frightening and often lonely place.

When all you do for fun depends upon money; if you are only welcomed by others because of your status;  if the only contact you have with your kids is when you hand out cash; if you feel you can never be ill or stressed, fail or fall; if you can’t take time off and must work harder and longer to keep ahead of everyone else; if you can’t admit your marriage is in trouble or your kids don’t know you—then God wants to help.

This isn’t about counselling or therapy: it’s an offer of uncomplicated pastoral support for business people to make use of.


Why is the church doing this? Well, partly because of the beating that big business has recently taken; partly because of the fears that those at the top often secretly live with; partly because of the pressures on work/home; but essentially because the church’s job is to love people!



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