What do you do when your boss asks you to fib on some of the numbers? How do you respond when your married co-worker makes an advance on you? Whether it is integrity or infidelity, maintaining your faith in the workplace can be a challenge. That is why Terence Chatmon, started Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (FCCI). He saw the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of Christian business leaders across the country regularly struggle to balance their personal faith with their corporate roles as CEOs.
FCCI is a membership organization with a vision to transform the world through Jesus Christ, one business leader at a time. It was founded in the late 70s by a group of Atlanta-area businessmen who realized they needed to operate their companies according to biblical principles, and they began meeting together to learn these biblical principles to integrate into their lives and businesses while holding one another accountable.
As a former executive at leading companies such as Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Citibank, Chatmon knows from personal experience that tension and pull toward worldly success rather than meeting his own spiritual needs and those of his family and employees. But early in his career, he benefitted from powerful Christian mentors who modeled for him the balance of spiritual and corporate leadership.
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:8-10
Chatmon shares his vision for FCCI.
“It’s not something that comes naturally, however, and requires intentional effort and accountability to ensure one stays on that path. This is why the work we do at FCCI is so important – we want to be a resource to help Christian business leaders find that balance and be accountable in their leadership…It is our job at FCCI to help these leaders find that balance and to become the executives that God has called them to be.”
That original group of men – Bobby Mitchell, Bert Stumberg, Bill Leonard and Larry Burkett, along with Jim Moye, Ben Lively and Tom Harris – formed a nucleus that actually functioned much like what has become an FCCI Business Leadership Group, one of the many benefits of FCCI membership. These men, along with Jim Pursell and Smith Lanier, became the original FCCI Board of Directors.
FCCI now has thousands of members across the country and around the world, enabling the organization to provide significant training resources and support groups in many major markets. Recognizing the difficulty for business leaders to find peers within their circles who share their faith, FCCI takes the guess work and leg work out of the equation, matching them with other corporate influencers of like mind and forming safe spaces for them to share and grow together.
In addition to serving established business leaders, FCCI also supports young professionals through its Young Executives program by matching interns with mentoring business leaders to gain invaluable experience through its Fellows program. Churches have also become involved as host sites for FCCI group meetings, enabling them to share FCCI resources and training opportunities with their members.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 11:2-4
Chatmon opens up on the importance of equipping business leaders with practical and spiritual principles.
“We want to equip and encourage current and future Christian business owners and CEOs to operate their businesses and conduct their personal lives in accordance with biblical principles as we seek to carry out The Great Commission – not only here at home but around the globe. As company executives become more Christ-like in their personal lives, they will find the workplace a great environment for evangelism and discipleship, ministering to those employees for whom they are accountable and responsible. This will be a truly life-transforming experience.”
Join an accountability group. Whether it is FCCI or a group through your church, find some like-minded people that can hold you accountable and challenge you. It helps to have some people that are in a similar stage and others from the group that can mentor and add wisdom from having been through similar experiences. The most important part of the accountability group is that everyone is willing to be accountable to God and the principles in the Bible and open to correction from the group. Pray and ask God to direct you to a group that can help encourage you in your relationship with God and your career.
Find a mentor and be a mentor. Whatever stage of life you are in, mentors can provide perspective and wisdom. Likewise, you have the potential to encourage someone younger in their faith and career regardless of how old or “far along” you are. Even if you are a recent college graduate, you can look for opportunities to mentor high school or junior high students. Take time this week to ask God to show you one or two people around you who you can pour your life into and if you are in need of a mentor, pray and ask Him to connect you to a person. Start with your local church or small group and ask around.
Be a light. Whether you are at school, the office, or at home, God wants you to be a light for Him. There are temptations all around us. If you make a mistake, ask God for forgiveness and anyone that you might have hurt. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith and ask your friends to hold you accountable.
The FCCI website provides a free personal spiritual assessment here: https://www.fcci.org/assessments/.