Chris Patton

Chris Patton took over the family car business that had been run for two generations. He expanded on the Biblical principles it was built on by setting specific strategies for integrating his faith into the business itself.

Be Clear About Your Faith in the Workplace

Chris Patton: They're not in church on Sundays, but they're at work Monday through Fridays. That's where we have to find them. That's where we have to get them. That's where they need the message. And your pastor has no impact on them Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday, but you do. And simple little things that you do that don't match up with the world's picture of a CEO or a business owner will cause them to reflect on the possibility that God's real.

My grandfather started in the car business back, gosh, I'm going to say probably in the fifties, 1950s. Dad believed in hard work and learning the business. He told me quite often, you can work anywhere, but you're going to work. My dad and my grandfather. It was based on biblical principles. His whole mindset was, I'm going to do business in a way that honors God. And what he didn't do that later I felt God leading me to move into was this idea of basically putting yourself out there as a Christian business, being overt about that faith and actually integrating the faith into the business, not just building it on the biblical foundations, but if I hadn't had the foundation to operate within and to build upon later, there's no way what I was trying to do would've ever worked. What I figured out is doing business from a thousand year picture, from an eternal picture is doing ministry.

Do It All for the Glory of God

So if I'm signing checks, if I'm building Excel spreadsheets, if I'm walking inventory on the lot, or in the service department, I'm doing ministry because I'm doing it from a perspective of how do I impact these employees, their families, the customers, community in a way that honors God and points them to him. And once I got that mindset that everything I do is ministry, I'm not called into the ministry, I'm not called out of business to do that. I'm actually a minister in doing what I'm doing, whether I'm with family, business or at church, it doesn't matter. In my mind as a disciple of Jesus, he tells me, first and foremost, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. And that's where the great commission starts is loving my neighbor. And then he says to go and make disciples of all nations.

So I've got to take anybody that is my neighbor, which is everybody around me. If I'm in business, the most immediate neighbor is my coworker or employee. And I've got to love them in a way as I love myself, which starts with me loving God. So if I'm doing those things, I'm loving these people, then I can't withhold the gospel from them. I can't be silent on the good news six days a week and then just get my evangelism on Sundays. But every decision I made was how do I make this decision in a way that will reflect God's love for these people and for the community and for anybody I interact with.

Find Ways to Spread the Gospel

So if you're loving him, loving people, and making decisions based on that, then whether it's motivated by faith or not, generally people can align around that. We would put a copy of the Bible in the glove box of every car that we sold or took in on trade or wholesale, and it was called the Owner's Manual for Life.

And that was the cover on it. So we'd go in the glove box, we didn't tell customers about it, we didn't push on it, we just put it there. And we'd have other dealers get a car from a dealer trade where we traded our new accord with their blue one, with their red one, so that we could get a red one for a customer and we'd leave it in the glove box and that dealer would call and say, what in the world is this? You're putting a Bible in your glove box. Well, yeah, lemme tell you why. Well, where can I get one of those? And you just start to generate a reputation that benefits you in the interactions with those other businesses. There's no question in my mind I would make that decision a hundred times out of a hundred. Would I do everything exactly the way I did it between then and now?

You Will Fail…And That’s Okay

No way. No, I've made mistakes. Running in a business from an eternal perspective doesn't mean you run it flawlessly or that you even make every decision according to what God would have you make. But the decision itself to go down that path has provided unbelievable fulfillment, is provided fruit that I never would've expected. When you do things the way God would have you do them, it rarely looks like you think it will, but almost always looks better. It gets easier over time because you start seeing more and more ways that actually, if you do the right things for the right reasons over a right period of time, you're going to get the right results. And God's way works.

Related Videos

Christ at work logo social image logo over a washed out image of two men praying together in the workplace

Tom Ferguson & AZZ

Read More

Ken Blanchard Interview

Read More

DV8 Kitchen

Read More

Related Videos


Watch videos of Christ at Work in businesses and in individual’s lives.
  • “Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it when it is in your power to do so.”
    Proverbs 3:27

  • “Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”
    Philippians 2:4