Southeastern discusses business, vocation and the Great Commission

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Southeastern discusses business, vocation and the Great Commission

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture and the Acton Institute hosted events about business, vocation and the Great Commission on March 25th at Southeastern Baptist Theology Seminary (SEBTS).

A breakfast discussion with Henry Kaestner and Stephen Grabill started off the day. Kaestner spoke on “Embracing Your Calling in the Marketplace: Seeking Out Shalom and Excellence in God’s Economy.” Both Kaestner, managing principle in Sovereign’s Capital, and Grabill, director of programs and senior research scholar in theology at the Acton Institute, spoke on “How The Economy Helps People Become Useful to Each Other as They Live Out Their Vocations.”

Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS, moderated a luncheon conversation with Dwight Gibson, the director of program outreach at the Acton Institute, and Grabill.

A panel of local North Carolina businessmen moderated by Preston Parrish featured panelists Cliff Benson, Bill Boddie, Don Dancer and Sidney Hinton. The discussion focused on “Business As Mission: What Does It Look Like In Practice?” Benson is managing partner at American Homesmith LLC, Boddie is president and CEO of Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Dancer is distinguished-practitioner-in-residence at Elon University School of Law, and Hinton is the CEO of PowerSecure International.

The panel spoke about how faith influences business. “My faith defines who I am and my job does not,” Hinton said. “My number one job is to love others unconditionally, with no agenda.”

Boddie highlighted the need for a company to have a core set of values that are understood by the entire company and drive hiring, promotions and evaluations. “Values drive behavior [and] behavior drives culture,” he said. “We are a Christian company but you don’t have to be a Christian to work here.”

Dancer sees himself in a unique position to glorify God by interacting with people that others might not have opportunity to reach.

Benson focused on charitable giving with profits from the company. “I think God puts you in unique places; steward those places well,” he emphasized. He noted that when something goes wrong, Christians should be known by how they respond in a Christ-like manner.

Hinton challenged Christians, as they work for the King of kings and Lord of lords, to be “the greatest niche in the market when it comes to workers.”

Vincent Bacote delivered the evening lecture, “The First Great Commission, Business and the Baptist Opportunity.” Bacote is the associate professor of theology and direct of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.
Bacote explained Genesis 1 and the cultural mandate to lead creation to flourishing. “How is being Christian going to make a difference in how you live everyday life?”

This cultural mandate to Bacote is an opportunity and responsibility to take the created order and lead it to forms of flourishing in areas including education, art and economics.

Bacote posed the question, what would that look like, for every second of our lives to be permeated by what is Christian? “Creation and redemption work together,” he said. “To any human institution or entity, a Christian can only have a relative loyalty, for our ultimate loyalty is always to God.”

He addressed the need for churches to help business people become more engaged in living out their faith in the workplace. He stressed the importance of discipling people and helping them see that the big picture of their lives is important to God. He said that many could already be pleasing to God in the workplace and not recognize it.

“Your entire life matters to God, not just what you do on Sunday,” he said.

To view photos from this event, please click here.

To watch or listen to select messages from this event, please click here.

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