Most of the interviews on Marketplace Disciples are about using business to further God's kingdom.
But not all businesses can serve directly like this. Sometimes we need to serve in a more indirect way.
Dave Bylsma is the president of the Christian Heritage Party in Canada. He started a kitchen cabinet door manufacturing business in 2000, and has been serving God through his business since, in his own unique way.
Can you tell me more about what you do and how you got started?
I am a small manufacturer of custom cabinet doors. It is a subset of the kitchens cabinet industry.
I was employed by a family member in a cabinet shop but always wanted to start my own business. Not wanting or needing another kitchen business in the family, and not really excited about selling retail in the evenings as is often the case for small shops, I chose to open a wholesale door shop on January 1, 2000 (Y2K).
What are some common misconceptions people have about what you do?
People are surprised that there is room for such a niche product. I assure them that it is a vibrant industry of which I'm only a small player.
Have you been able to see any direct impact that your business has had on people's lives? How has this changed your perspective on your business and what it does?
My employees are really the only lives impacted. For the most part they enjoy the small family friendly atmosphere and consistent work schedule.
What advice would you give to other business owners who are trying to figure out how they can use their business as a ministry?
Truthfully, I don't use my business as a ministry in the most commonly held usage of the term today.
I view my business as a vehicle, not the end
Rather, in keeping with Paul's exhortation that the thief no longer steal but do honest work so that he may have something to share with those in need, I provide for my large family (9 kids), I tithe, and I donate to a selection of charities that I enjoy reading up on.
It is an expression of the cultural mandate laid out to Adam and Noah to subdue the earth and bring it under the Lordship of Christ.
Can you share a bit about your faith journey?
I was born and raised in a Godly family. After a confrontation with my self-righteousness I was humbled and submitted to my Lord and Saviour around about the age of 22.
My involvement in my church consists in leading congregational singing at the piano, and familial involvement in the life and ministries of our church.
How do you think your faith changes the way you do business? Or does it affect it at all?
I view my business as a vehicle, not the end.
My business has given me the means to provide for daily needs, but it really has allowed me to follow another passion which is Christian political involvement. I am the current president of the Christian Heritage Party. I've run as a CHP candidate for federal legislature in every general election since 1993 (8 times).
The areas of my life are very intertwined
I also sit as a Councillor in my local municipality. I view myself more as a Christian statesman than a Christian businessman.
What is your process like for involving God in your decision making?
My business decisions flow from a sanctified but stained heart, but for the most part I strive to sustain the goals set out in the previous answer.
What do you think are important issues to talk about when it comes to faith and business?
I always find it odd to view my life in compartments. The areas of my life are very intertwined. My faith, and family, and extracurricular activities, and business all flow in and through each other.
While there are distinctions to each area they form the sum of my life, so I rarely think of myself as a businessman.
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