To Walk in One World
Response to “The Church’s Responsibility in the Marketplace” by Calvin Redekop 8/3 (1979): 3–13.
Many of us walk in two worlds. In the world of management and training with its seminars and conventions we are taught the modern philosophy of management, the role and function of corporations, and techniques of motivation and labor relations. In the church we are busy planning such things as Christian education programs or worship services. Calvin Redekop’s timely article challenges us to bring these two worlds together by means of open and frank discussion.
My own experience leads me to recognize that it is time to develop some new approaches to management/employee relations in a creative mixture of ownership and management. I manage a church related organization with a twenty million dollar yearly budget, and I am exploring possibilities of “profit-sharing” in this non-profit corporation. There are already examples of this in the hospital industry. Finding the level of employee ownership and management input which would provide job satisfaction and long-term commitment should be a major goal. White collar crime and blue collar theft, the Monday morning hangover and absenteeism are conditions which cry for remedy.
On the other hand, there has to be a suitable reward package for investors, entrepreneurial contribution, and expert leadership. And we do need the entrepreneurs who generate capital for new ventures and support charitable organizations. I would suggest that management, and even entrepreneurs, could openly discuss with the employees what is intended for their benefit and what is for the benefit of the owner. This should not be difficult for those whose possessions are not being hoarded to support a non-Christian life style.
I do not know how to answer the larger questions concerning exploitation of natural and human resources and the role of multinational corporations. But it would be exciting to plan a business or an industry which takes the Christian principles of mutual relationships seriously. New patterns could be a witness to the larger world. Though this witness may not convert world industry, it can at least help us to preserve our salt.