Business Can Change the World
The Center for Faithful Business is a leading think tank on the integration of faith and business. We seek to be a trusted, compelling, and prophetic voice in society, calling business leaders to integrate their faith with their work and encouraging business to embrace its full potential as a force for good in the world.
- As a think tank, we incorporate research, scholarship, and best practice from the academy, business, and the church.
- Our focus is on helping business practitioners integrate their faith with their work in business. The questions we’re asking include: Can business be a holy calling? Is there a Christian way of participating in business? Who are a business’s major stakeholders?
- We want to help both business practitioners and those who minister to them wrestle with the question of how to serve God through business.
- We seek to inspire, encourage, and equip the business community in Seattle, across the United States, and around the world.
Shortly after the arrival of Jeff Van Duzer as dean in 2001, the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University set out with the idea that Christian theology is relevant to business practice and scholarship, and that business can be a force for great good in the world. The result was the launch of the Center for Faithful Business (originally named the Center for Integrity in Business).
CFB’s first director, Al Erisman, started in 2004. During Erisman’s tenure, Ethix magazine came under the auspices of CFB, SBGE developed its signature philosophy, “Another Way of Doing Business,” and CFB hosted a summit for business practitioners titled “Bridging Sunday and Monday.”
Soon after the summit, a generous donor provided a grant to create funding for a full-time director and John Terrill started in this position in the 2008-09 academic year. Under Terrill’s leadership a wide range of initiatives and programs were undertaken—the endowment of the Hammond Marketplace Library Collection in SPU’s library, the establishment of Bruce R. Kennedy Endowment for Ethical Business Leadership, and the hosting of six nationally acclaimed conferences:
- A first national conference on microfinance in 2009.
- A national event for scholars and ministry leaders working at the intersection of business and faith in partnership with the Laity Leadership Institute in 2010.
- The Bottom Billions/Bottom Line conference in 2011, exploring ways that for-profit business can help end global poverty.
- An international symposium on business and technology in 2013.
- The “Business Changing the World” track at Urbana 12
- A national symposium for Christian scholars on Peter Drucker’s vision of management as a liberal art.
- Family-Supportive Practices in the Sacred Sector, a research report written in collaboration with the Center for Public Justice
Current Focus and Major Activities
In 2015 Gene Kim was appointed executive director after serving as interim director for six months. A few years into his appointment, CFB received a large donation to be used for the creation of documentary films and an online course on the integration of faith and business. This project, Faith & Co., has been CFB’s primary focus since 2016. Faith & Co. takes what CFB has always been about to a new level, that of the total integration of faith and business.
Today, CFB continues to sponsor events, research projects, learning communities, and publishing efforts aimed at empowering people in business to lead with integrity and to shape a more just and sustainable world. Activities we’re currently involved with include the following:
- Faith & Co., a learning experience incorporating evocative documentary films, online courses, and a group study guide–all designed to help learners explore the intersection of faith and business
- The Bill Pollard Faith and Business Research Fellowship, which brings scholars to SPU to conduct research on faith and business using the Pollard Papers
- SBGE’s Day of Calling, an annual event which provides undergraduate students an opportunity to reflect on business as a calling
- Participation in various conferences and summits including Business as Mission, Believers in Business, Faith at Work, and Q
- Continuing Education classes which provide business professionals with training in faith and business. (Courses in other topics including cybersecurity, data analytics, human resources management, and business foundations are also available.)
- Faculty faith integration workshops and seminars in which scholars who exhibit faith integration are invited to share their experiences with faculty
- Ethix magazine, an online publication which provides illustrations of business ethics challenges through positive examples of best practices and exemplary leadersh