Grace College Looks at 3 Inspiring Christian Business Leaders
April 14, 2021
Who are the leaders you are most inspired by? Are any of them business leaders? Grace College is here to talk about three inspiring businessmen who have led their organizations with the mindset of Christ. If you want to follow in their footsteps, Grace College’s online business administration degree may be for you! Not all business leaders measure success by corporate growth and financial considerations. Several high-profile companies were founded and continue to be run by Christian business leaders who devote what they do to Christ. These business leaders demonstrate the eternal impact that a business can have. With an online business administration degree, you can have the same influence.
3 Examples of Christian Business Leadership
Do Won “Don” Chang, Founder and Owner of Forever 21
In 1981, Don Chang immigrated to California from South Korea at the age of 18 with his wife, Jin Sook. Three years later, he started his first Forever 21 shop, according to The Guardian, and sales grew to $700,000.
“I feel truly blessed by Forever 21’s success,” Chang told The Guardian. “Forever 21 is my American Dream.”
The store has received attention for displaying “John 3:16” on its carrier bags. Chang wanted to use his Chrisitan business to expose people to the Bible verse’s message of the Gospel. “It shows us how much God loves us,” he told CNN. “The love he gave us, by giving us his only son, Jesus, was so unbelievable to me. I hoped others would learn of God’s love. So that’s why I put it there.”
The fashion chain has received criticism for this and other Christian messaging. T-shirts with phrases such as “Jesus loves me” and “Three words to live by: Prayer, faith, and trust” have been criticized as “Christian propaganda,” Christian Post reports.
S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A
Truett Cathy founded his Christian business, Chick-fil-A, in 1946 and helped it grow to become one of the most successful fast food restaurants. Cathy died in 2014, but his legacy lives on in the culture of a company recognized for its Christian beliefs.
A popular example of this is why Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. “[Cathy] believes that all franchised Chick-fil-A Operators and their Restaurant employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so,” according to the company’s website. “That’s why all Chick-fil-A Restaurants are closed on Sundays. It’s part of our recipe for success.”
The company is also well-known for its generosity. Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to more than 700 educational and charitable organizations. It regularly appears in the news for helping people, such as those stranded in a snowstorm or first responders and blood donors helping shooting victims in Orlando.
“I see no conflict whatsoever between Christianity and good business practices,” Cathy said in 2006. “People say you can’t mix business with religion. I say there’s no other way.”
Tom Chappell, Co-Founder of Tom’s of Maine
Tom Chappell co-founded Tom’s of Maine in 1970 with his wife, Kate Chappell, with a $5,000 investment. The company now sells personal care products at more than 40,000 retail outlets worldwide. The Chappells sold an 84 percent stake in Tom’s of Maine for $100 million in 2006 to Colgate-Palmolive. The Chappells own the remaining share and still provide leadership for the Christian business.
Values-centered leadership principles at Tom’s of Maine are a product of Chappell’s Episcopalian beliefs. He “almost single-handedly transformed Tom’s of Maine into a company with a spiritual focus,” Charles Lippy writes in his book Faith in America. “Facing a spiritual crisis of his own, Chappell enrolled in Harvard Divinity School, and he was soon bringing Harvard professors as well as the books they assigned to corporate board meetings and employee gatherings.”
“Chappell understands workplace spirituality to be a deep sense of connection, service, and commonality,” Lippy adds. Meetings between marketing and community relations departments work on “fostering commitments and relationships rather than deals and competition.”
Instead of leaving the company to pursue full-time ministry, Chappell helped build a company that reflects its Christian roots. Its mission statement says that Tom’s of Maine exists, in part, “To help create a better world by exchanging our faith, experience, and hope.”
Growing a Career in Business
The Grace College online business administration degree is constructed and courses are delivered with an intentional applied emphasis. Consistent with learning-by-doing, course assignments allow students to use course concepts in their current employment setting. This allows students to quickly develop an initial proficiency with the concepts being covered.
If you want to take a step toward owning a Christian business, apply to Grace’s master program today!