By Jamie Shafer
Never underestimate the power of everyday conversations to make a lifelong impact. Mark Winebrenner, owner of Marketing Roots in Indianapolis, Indiana, has certainly found this to be true in his journey of faith.
Although raised in a churchgoing family, he left church behind as a young adult. “I always believed there was a God and Jesus was who he said he was; I just didn’t think the Bible was all that literal,” said Mark. But God continued to pursue him. Mark remembers coworkers who talked with him about the Bible or their personal faith.
“I was in the hotel business, and a security guard roamed the lobby because we had a very active nightclub in our hotel. He would come up to me during slow times at the front desk and start telling me his testimony. I didn’t know that’s what you called it back then,” Mark said with a smile.
These types of conversations and some personal challenges in Mark’s life finally led to a decision in 1989 when he knew he wanted to follow Christ. Since then Mark has appreciated the value of everyday employees in their work environment, and he’s passionate about helping others recognize how to demonstrate their faith, even in the simple things.
He shares a few Scriptures and thoughts to consider as we interact in the marketplace:
For Business Owners
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
Mark acknowledges that Christian business owners face a unique set of challenges. He believes it’s important to seek the best interest of customers, steering them to solutions with integrity. “For example, a customer may come in and say, ‘I want this.’ But I may need to say, ‘I don’t know if that is really what you need.’”
He also points to local Christian workplace groups as a resource where business owners can discuss how to reconcile their faith to everyday work.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).
Mark says he loves the “so that” part of this Scripture. “That is a powerful marching order. We go through things, the good and the bad, ‘so that.’ If you’ve been through a divorce and you pay attention, God will bring people to you who are going through a divorce. It’s true if you’ve lost a child or lost a business or have gone bankrupt. There may be a woman in a cubicle at a corporation and someone in the cubicle next to her is going through something she has gone through.” It’s about passing along the comfort we have been given from God.
“Someone once asked, ‘Is it wrong for Christians to have money?’ We are called to help the poor. How can the poor help the poor? Christians need to take those resources and be able to give them back to the kingdom.”
He recognizes there are reasons we sometimes don’t choose Christian-owned businesses when we have opportunity. We might be afraid of being disappointed, but Mark said, “It’s a fight worth fighting.”
Mark encourages Christians to consider hiring other believers when possible. “We never know what else can happen in those transactions. A friend with a handyman business made a commitment to pray with customers before he quoted or did any work. His offer was only turned down one time, and it was by a Hindu woman. Her response to him at the end of the transaction was that he had done more to speak well and illustrate Christianity to her than any other Christian who had tried to witness to her. It illustrates the impact we can make when we just do the little things.”
Jamie Shafer is a communications strategist for Fishhook Communications in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, have two children.