Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

When I first began writing, I wondered how to answer the question, “What do you do?”

During my 20+ years in corporate America, the answer was easy. I was a Human Resources executive. I never considered answering, “I’m a Christian Human Resources executive.”

So I sometimes wonder why I feel the need to preface my writing with the label, Christian.

Maybe it’s because the majority of my writing is published by publishers affiliated with the Association for Christian Retail, formerly known as the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA).

But not all my writing targets the Christian market. I’ve written newspaper articles as well as stories for anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

It’s kind of funny. Just because a plumber installs a water heater in a church, he doesn’t generally self-identify as a Christian plumber. As I already mentioned, I never identified myself as a Christian executive.

Which brings me to the question of Christian companies. Does a company have to publicly self-identify as Christian to express Christian values? Companies such as Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A have been in the news because they have publicly identified their Christian values.

Recently, Dutch Brothers Coffee was in the news. Nothing in their corporate pages indicates a Christian heritage. Yet their employees were “caught” praying with a woman who was a recent widow. And it wasn’t the only time Dutch Brothers employees lived out the company’s Creed.

Photo by Barbara Danner

Photo by Barbara Danner

Does it matter that the company is not identified publicly as a Christian company? If they are Christian, then terrific. If they’re not, then they’re shaming every one of us who fail to live out our belief in Christ, whether at work or at home.

What if Christians lived out their faith regardless of the Christian or moral stance of their employer? What if we stopped identifying ourselves as Christian writers, Christian waitresses, Christian plumbers. What if we simply identified ourselves as Christians who happen to be writers, waitresses, and plumbers. Christians who happen to be architects, doctors, and teachers? What if Christian is who we are, rather than what we do?

The result would be that everything we do is done for the glory of God. We would honor Christ in every area of our life.

We would see a lot more heartwarming photos of people treating each other in obedience to Mark 12:31 (NIV): “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

We would see people living out Matthew 5:16 (NIV): “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

We would see people being what they label themselves.


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  1. Brenda Kemna

    Thank you for saying who we are as Christians It is the very being of who we are in Jesus Christ. I was Googling Dutch Brothers Coffee wondering if they are a Christian company and I’d rather give them my business then Starbucks who A lot of times does not line up with my Christian values. Like you said you can’t always put Christian and a business together each individual person is a Christian or not and our light is to shine no matter where we go. Thanks for your article

  2. Ava Pennington

    Thank you for finding it, Brenda!

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