God at the Centre
Published on 06 October 2020
To begin, I want to express how extremely blessed I am to be a part of the Planetshakers family.
As an entrepreneur in the marketplace, heavily involved in mentoring and life coaching, I often find the attitude of “dreaming big” to be a rare commodity. What’s even more rare, is to see those who “dream big” actually doing something about those big dreams. As such, it is invaluable to belong to a church community where people can connect with like-minded individuals and be led by pastors and leaders who not only dream big, but live out those big dreams!
I first came to Planetshakers when I was 21 years old. As a young entrepreneur, what really blew my mind was the idea that a church would run events especially for business-minded people. Perhaps it was baggage I was carrying from my previous church experiences, but I had the notion that although I loved God and I knew He loved me, He didn’t necessarily love the idea that I was in business. To me, at the time, God was like a parent—the kind that lovingly tolerates their child’s aspirations of being a famous singer, while clearly recognizing that they cannot sing! Because God loved me, I believed that He didn’t want to ‘burst my bubble’, so He tolerated my passion for business.
What a weird concept! What was I thinking?
Suffice to say, I was delighted to discover that Planetshakers Church had programs and initiatives that supported people in business and the marketplace. All of a sudden, my perception of God’s loving toleration of my vocation changed. I realised that He instead, was a loving supporter of my passions and pursuits, even depositing them in me!
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
As I continued to draw closer to God by attending and actively serving in my church, God worked in my heart to further stir my passion to positively impact the marketplace. Simply put, I decided to put God first in my life and trusted that He would take care of the rest.
I have served in the ushering team on Sundays, volunteered for conferences and events and led small groups within our church family and have learned that, instead of stealing valuable time away from our business, being planted and regularly involved in church life actually gives us the confidence we need to face and overcome challenges in our business and private lives.
The Bible talks about having ‘child-like faith’ and I truly believe that keeping things simple in my life has allowed me to continually make decisions to put God first—above every other competing demand.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Don’t get me wrong, simple does not necessarily mean easy. In fact, I’ve found over the years of mentoring and coaching, that simple concepts are sometimes the most difficult to grasp. Some of us have a habit of overcomplicating the solutions to our challenges, in order to justify our struggle. Subsequently, simple Bible verses such as, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33), often end up being read with our own, human reasoning-based caveats attached. For example:
“I have an important business meeting at the same time as church on a Sunday. God will understand. Christianity is not about religion”.
“How can I make money and build my business if I devote so much time to God and His church?”
“If God is good, why can’t He just provide? I wouldn't be at work on a Sunday if He provided me with a better job. Why do I always have to make the first move and put Him first?”
Let’s be honest. I’m sure we’ve all had thoughts like these. I get it.
Sometimes it can seem difficult to put God first when the environment around us daily, seems to require our undivided attention. Under these circumstances, our focus is often on the challenge we’re experiencing in that moment, rather than on a revelation of who God is and what He is able to do regarding those challenges. Without this foundational revelation, it can be hard to take the first step of faith, namely, attending and serving in church when you feel you need to work. However if we step out of our ‘self-interest mindset’ for just a moment to look at the bigger picture, we discover that a decision to put God first in our lives, is never the first move. In our relationship with God, He always makes the first move—preparing a way for us to draw closer in relationship to Him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
I was doing well on my journey, getting better at putting God first and seeing the positive results of that decision outworked in my life, just as God had promised in His Word. However, there was an even greater revelation about to take place in my life. One day, a guest pastor was preaching at our church and suggested that we shouldn’t put God first in our lives.
You can imagine my shock when I had intentionally built my life around this revelation! He proceeded to explain that instead of God being our top priority, we should place Him in the centre of EVERY priority.
This was profound to me, and I began to reflect. Despite me prioritising church attendance and duties above everything else, how much had I opened up to God in all of the other areas of my life? Was God at the centre of my business, family and relationships? The preacher continued to explain that instead of isolating God at the TOP of our priority list, He should instead, be positioned in the CENTRE of everything we do.
One common blind spot we can have is to assume that regularly attending and serving in church automatically means God is in the centre of our lives. I was able to reflect on the many times I went to church out of routine and sometimes, out of responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, routine is awesome—especially when it’s a good routine— but it’s vital to constantly reflect on the why behind our church routine. When God is in the centre, we will serve out of love and passion for Him, and never obligation.
Outside of church life, I have found that one of the biggest challenges is to seek God in my job and businesses. In many ways, it is easier to attach God to our church life and not to any other part of our lives, but God does not want to be ‘boxed’ in this way. When I am not conscious of God’s Presence in the centre of my working world, I often resort to my own understanding before seeking His opinion. Human efforts can only gain human results, but when God is involved, anything is possible! When God is at the centre of our work, we move beyond being in business FOR God, and start being in business WITH God. The difference is profound!
God being the centre of everything was a paradigm shift for me. Business was no longer just about the bottom-line, but now also about people. Leadership with Christian values isn’t and shouldn’t be perceived by those we lead as a ‘Bible bashing’, hostile takeover. In my experience, using faith-based values and leadership principles is a great way for people to experience our faith in a non-confrontational way. Creating an environment of honor, positivity and encouragement— just like church life— has become my team’s culture as well. One of the world’s leading experts in leadership, John C. Maxwell, draws many leadership inspirations from his faith. If Christian leadership is done right, I believe it can be an amazing avenue of encountering God for the people we lead within the marketplace. Without a doubt, the greatest return for establishing Kingdom culture in our workplaces, is the salvation of lost people!
I can definitively say that the experience gained in my time serving at Planetshakers Church, has allowed me to be a more holistic and effective leader in the marketplace. Strong, faith- based leadership builds trust within organisations and in turn, allows us to speak life into people’s situations. In turn, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can lead these people into life- changing encounters with God and ultimately, salvation. To me, that is the most important bottom-line of my business.
I firmly believe that God wants us to be successful in whatever calling He has for our lives. This success comes in all shapes and sizes and is rarely limited to making money for personal gain. So as you allow yourself to be planted in church life and intentionally seek God, I encourage you to continue putting God at the CENTRE of everything you do.
Let’s take delight in the Lord, stay connected more than ever, and continue to pray for and support each other.
“Louie Qu - Planetbusiness Leader & Entrepreneur”