In Holland, Mich., Providence Christian Reformed Church has heard and responded to its congregation’s desire for a focused adult group for business owners.
Larry Koning, the current driving force behind the group, is a business owner in Holland. He is president of LS Mold, Inc., and has been pouring his passion for entrepreneurship into the ministry.
Providence CRC began developing the entrepreneurial support group in 2008; the Business Owner’s Group has been a unique prayer and support ministry for business owners of the congregation for eight years.
The ministry came at a critical time for the large group of business owners who sat in the pews. “There was definitely a need. In that time frame, the economy was in a real crash-type scenario, so it was a very stressful time for business owners,” Koning said.
Attendance ranges from two to 30 members at any given time. Comprised of mostly men and a few women, the team welcomes anyone who owns a business. From eye doctors to electricians, from builders to egg farmers, the group provides wisdom from those of of every business avenue.
Though the group represents diverse businesses, Koning sees mutual needs across the board. “We consider ourselves a sort of confidential chamber of business owners. [The group] exists to provide mutual support and answers to questions everyone has from time to time. Maybe someone has a question about health insurance, how to [give bonuses to] employees, general employee issues, or even just discussion of how we see the economy moving forward,” he explained.
Within the divide that tends to exist between the faith and business worlds, Koning sees a great need for not only Christians in the business world, but a congregational dialogue and prayer for the challenges of daily life.
Providence CRC consistently supports business owners within their ministry in the joys and sorrows of business ownership—through seasons of plenty and little. For Junior Post, cofounder of Post Hardwoods Sawmill, the group was both a main drawing factor for joining the church, as well as a timely support for a fire that consumed his mill.
“The Business Owner’s Group was a real aid after the mill fire. The group was there immediately asking what I needed, and to just bounce ideas off of.”
He finds a particular beauty in the group’s ability to offer business advice from a Christ-like perspective—a factor unique to a group of business-experienced Christians. “It’s easy to go on the Internet and get advice for your business issues but quite another experience to go to someone who shares your faith, who has your best interest at heart and is not trying to gain anything from it,” said Post.
“The best part of our ministry is praying over the other owners,” Koning said. “[There are] weeks when we sorrow together when business is slow, and we don’t know how to get through the following weeks. Though the economy will often drive how many will come out to the group, every time is fruitful when we can be of general support to each other, bringing our needs to one another in both confidentiality and in prayer.”
See also: Business Matters