As a business owner, digital discipleship is an extension of your experience with discipleship.
It encourages you to ask the questions:
- How does my experience with living a life of discipleship impact my role as a business owner?
- How does my life of discipleship impact how I create?
- How does my life of discipleship impact how I interact with people in the online space?
- How does my life of discipleship impact how I conduct transactions?
- How does my life of discipleship impact how I provide support to clients and customers as a business owner?
The way you answer these questions will give you a starting point in your digital discipleship journey as a business owner.
What is discipleship?
In our article, How Can I Be a Digital Disciple?, we explain that discipleship is “letting the Holy Spirit live in you and cause you to tell others about Jesus through your words and actions.”
In living as Jesus lived and reflecting the light of Jesus to others, we are able to call other people to be disciples of Jesus as well.
Digital discipleship is letting this extend into your experience in the online space.
Because of this explanation of discipleship, when asking, what is digital discipleship we know it means giving Jesus permission to be present in every area of our lives, including the way we spend our time online.
Digital discipleship is about asking God how He would have you use the internet for His honour and glory.
How can your business benefit from digital discipleship?
Many of the concepts we teach within IGNITE Digital Discipleship Ministry can be applied to your business because many of them are drawn from business principles. We’re happy for you to use them to see your business grow and be successful.
Within the Bible, we see many pictures of people having success at work or being in positions of power. We also see the stories of businessmen (and women) being blessed by God through their finances, their families and their livestock.
As Christian business owners, we know that success is not just measured in finances but also in terms of impact.
As you apply the principles learned here to your business, we know that you’re focused not just on earthly wealth and success but wealth in the kingdom to come.
So, in this article, we’ve highlighted a few digital discipleship principles for business owners that can give you some guideposts for your digital discipleship journey.
Here are a few of the digital discipleship principles we value as we operate in the digital space, and we hope many of them will resonate with you as well.
1. Realise all you have, build and create are gifts from God
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
As you build and create, be grateful to God for all He’s given to you and for the lives He’s allowed you to impact.
In an entrepreneurial world that rewards human hard work, human ingenuity and human efficiency, it’s easy to credit all of your wins to your own effort, ability and business savvy, but we know as Christians — and as digital disciples — that all good things come from God.
Keeping this at the front of our minds will help us keep our business and its success in perspective.
2. Operate with integrity
How does your life of discipleship impact how you operate as a business owner?
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
As you’re operating your business, your relationship with God drives you to do everything with honesty and integrity, and this is a foundational (digital) discipleship principle.
3. Operate with intentionality
Operating your business with intentionality will not only have an impact on your spiritual life and on the social impact you’re able to have, it will also make a difference to your bottom line.
Understanding your business’ why and homing in on it in all that your business does and says is a cornerstone (digital) discipleship principle.
4. Measure success not just by profit but by impact
Profit in the business world is about financial success and these days, some businesses are also adopting social causes because they know it’s what Millennials and Gen Z expect. However, doing the right thing, no matter who’s looking and because it’s part of the fabric of the organisation is different.
Within our (digital) discipleship principles, businesses measure their progress by their financial success as well as by the impact they’re having.
And we believe every business, no matter the industry, has the potential to change the world. Now, don’t get us wrong, we know this sounds lofty, but we also know that what you do is important.
If your product makes one person smile, heal, have courage, lose weight, have an “aha! moment”, regain strength or find faith, we know you’re making a difference and that will have the biggest impact because people will pay money to have a life-changing moment.
5. Consider how you can use your time and talents for the furthering of God’s kingdom
Within church environments, we’re often trained that there is a set of skills that can be used by God. Some of the skills we’re most familiar with are:
- Playing for a worship service
- Working with kids in children’s services
- Administering the church in leadership roles
- Using our financial management skills in roles like treasury
However, we don’t talk much about those skills that don’t fit within the ministries of the church.
There are people in the church who feel left out and wonder if they can offer their time and talents to God in service because they don’t fit into the typical skill set the church seems to value.
Some of the skills we’ve seen people exhibit, both inside of the area of creativity and technology and outside of it are:
- Being a graffiti artist
- Having podcasting skills
- Being a skilled graphic designer
- Being skilled at digital marketing
- Having carpentry skills
- Having knitting skills
- Being a great conversationalists
- Having amazing writing skills
And the list could go on and on and on and on.
As you think about the skills you utilise within your business, is there any way you could use your time or talents to further God’s kingdom?
6. Look to train others in the skills you have if they can be used to further God’s kingdom
As you assess the skills you need for your business, are there areas where you could use your talents to train others to further God’s kingdom?
Some ways you can mentor others may be to:
- take on an apprentice,
- allow a high school student to shadow you at work or
- help a person who’s out of work learn some new skills from you to improve their job readiness.
Learn to see your business far beyond what it can gain for you now and see how you can use it to support yourself and your family financially while also doing the greatest good for God’s kingdom.
7. Look at the Digital Discipleship Ecosystem to see where you fit in
When thinking about digital discipleship principles for business owners, one of the frameworks we consider is the Digital Discipleship Ecosystem. If you’d like to learn a bit more about it, you can visit our article What’s the Digital Discipleship Ecosystem?
Understanding how your business fits into the ecosystem can give you a sense of connectedness to the idea of digital discipleship and can clarify how you can contribute to the spreading of the gospel.
A quick rundown of the ecosystem would start by asking you, does your business:
- Help share content
- Engage in conversation
- Curate useful content
- Have great influence
- Help those around you, as a good neighbour and/or
- Support the work of others
Finding your place in the ecosystem can help you clarify your sense of purpose in digital discipleship for your business.
8. Look for ways to network with like-minded individuals
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.”
It’s powerful to network with like-minded individuals, especially as Christian business owners. Finding time and space for engaging with other digital disciples, who are facing similar challenges as you, will give you strength to face each day.
As we mentioned earlier, the business world rewards human ingenuity and resourcefulness, but understanding kingdom principles about God as a provider and protector gives you a different perspective, and having people around you who understand this and have the ability to speak faith and life into you and your business is key.
9. Try to shine God’s light into the spaces around you, no matter what your profession
In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Then, in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Wherever we are in the world, whether as individuals or business owners, we are meant to shine light — a light that reflects our Light Source – Jesus Christ.
So, how can you shine light in the spaces around you as a business owner?
We’d love to hear from you. What do you see as your role in digital discipleship? What do you think digital discipleship means for you?
If you’d like some practical suggestions of things you can do to live out your digital discipleship principles as a business owner, download our guide, 10 Ways to Practice Digital Discipleship in Your Business.
10 Ways to Practice Digital Discipleship in Your Business
In this guide you’ll learn how to live out digital discipleship principles in your business, assess the financial versus the social or spiritual impact of your operations and identify opportunities to use your skills to further the ministry of God’s kingdom.