SHANDONG, China –Would Chinese business people talk about dealing with the problem of corruption? And the blurred lines between giving gifts and bribery? Well yes—if they are Christians serious about their business with God.
While Christianity may be a minority faith in China with official statistics putting Christian numbers at a mere 3% of the total population, and the number even smaller when it comes to Christian business people, this community nevertheless aspires to make big contributions to their society.
One expression of this aspiration was the Shandong Christian Council/ TSPM Business People’s Conference which took place from 20-22 April 2017. Held at the provincial capital, Jinan, the conference saw over 90 Christian business people from 15 cities in Shandong province congregating with more than 20 pastoral staff. (Photo above: Participants consecrating themselves to be business people of faith and integrity)
This inaugural provincial wide conference was organized by Shandong CC/ TSPM Business People Fellowship with the support of United Bible Societies China Partnership. Rev Zhang Jianshun, Vice President of Shandong CC said, “We thank God for the support and guidance provided by UBS, and in providing the speakers. This is the first time we have the most number of speakers with such high calibre.”
At the conference, participants who came from various industries and businesses were challenged to rethink their true allegiance and consider how to live out their Christian faith in the market place. Topics on bribery and challenges of upholding integrity and Biblical principles amid a post-truth era were also discussed.
Enriching Exchange and Interaction
The Conference program was helmed by five speakers, three from Singapore and two from China. Bishop John Chew, UBS Global Council Member, also graced the occasion.
In his opening address, Bishop Chew highlighted the significant role played by Christian business people in society, exhorting the participants to not only ensure that their righteousness surpassed that of the Pharisees but to also intentionally be salt and light in the world, using their God-given resources to bless others.
The three overseas invited speakers were Paul Liu, SC Toh and Heng Kok Chian. Each brought unique insights from their respective industrial experiences in logistics, strategic planning and development, even Country Club design and operations management.
Mr Liu gleaned Biblical principles of management from the account of how God guided Moses to manage the Israelites as he led them through the wilderness. Mr Toh questioned the motivation behind running a business and challenged participants to assess their business practices using Biblical models and principles. And Mr Heng shared about how a Christian entrepreneur could strike a balance between his Christian service and running a business efficiently.
The other two speakers from China are academia from Liaoning University and the Economics Department of Renming University, Professor Cui Wantian and Professor Wang Dan respectively.
Prof Cui engaged the participants with his impassioned presentation, challenging participants to walk closely with God, be like Christ in His death and resurrection if they want to bear fruits for the Kingdom (John 12:24). He also exhorted them to do business innovatively to reduce carbon footprint and care for the environment.
Prof Wang Dan talked about how God works in economics as the invisible hand, a term originally coined by Adam Smith to describe the unintended social benefits of individual self-interested actions.
What have the participants gained from the conference?
Zhao Shiguang, CEO of an air-conditioning company, said, “What I’ve learn – We are not the bosses, God is the Boss. We are his stewards. The marketplace is the harvest field. I hope to start a businessmen fellowship in my city to help more Christian businessmen know their mission.”
Qu Xueqin, an automotive business owner, shared, “My business philosophy has changed. In the past, I was running the business for my own gain. Now, after Prof Cui’s sharing, I see that the entire business, including myself, belong to God, I will now run my business as God’s steward.”
For Dong Hongshuai, founder of a health services center, it was the principle of bringing faith into daily life and daily life into faith shared by speaker SC Toh that made a deep impression. “I look forward to applying this principle in my life!”
Xiao Chongfeng, representative of UBS CP, said “Mr Heng shared his own testimonies and personal experiences with God which are easy to understand and we saw an Almighty God behind him through his simple but meaningful stories.”
“I’ve especially benefited from Paul Liu’s session where he discussed the Chinese business convention of giving gifts and discounts. He helped to clear some of my confusions and gave us some useful handles,” shared Gao Guqiang, owner of a food and beverage management company.
CEO of Sperm Whale trading company, Sun Xiaoxin said, “I appreciated the time given to small groups to share and get to know one another. I’ve learnt that there’s no conflict between being a businessman and Christian. The two can come together by the application of Biblical principles in business.”
Xiao Chongfeng, representative of UBS CP, shared about the Bible ministry in China. Participants learn with much interest about the huge number of Bibles printed at Amity Press in Nanjing, UBS CP Bible ministry including the digital Bible project, Bible Moments, and the continuing Scripture needs in China.
Continue to pray for these Christian business people that they will live a life of faith and integrity, to be the salt and light for God in their business.
Read more about the conference in Chinese here (works only on touch screen mobile devices).
Story: Angela Teo (with additional reporting by Zhang Liqin)
Edited: Cynthia Oh
Photo: UBS CP and Shandong CC/ TSPM
2017 © United Bible Societies China Partnership