Robert Levy (l) and Graham Power
A lot is said these days about Christian businessmen and ministry in the marketplace. Entire ministries have grown up focused on this. We featured this topic as the cover story in the most recent issue of Ministry Today magazine.
This is a story about a different type of marketplace ministry—more than simply witnessing to your friends, which is the extent of which many business people in the marketplace will practice their faith.
This is about Graham Power, a South African businessman with whom I have become friends and who has made a huge impact on nations for the kingdom of God.
A couple of months ago, I attended a networking conference with him and learned about his "Unashamedly Ethical" program—now in 107 countries, including Jamaica—through another Christian businessman named Robert Levy, whom I describe below.
Graham is one of the most interesting men I have ever met. He came to faith in Christ in middle age, yet he has accomplished more than most Christians who grew up in the church have. He launched the Global Day of Prayer, involving millions of Christians over the past decade praying in many countries on Pentecost Sunday.
In 2010, he launched "Unashamedly Ethical" from Africa, a continent known for its vast corruption. He told me the program is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14—that God will heal the land if people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways—which means living clean, ethically and with godly values.
Graham has preached this message around the world for the past five years, including at a recent Lausanne Conference. That led to an invitation to Jamaica, a nation of 2.7 million people.
It was there he met Robert Levy, who became a successful businessman raising chickens. He exports chickens worldwide. Because of United States laws about importing poultry from other countries, his business in this country is to provide eggs for chickens to hatch. It is a lucrative business—worth well over $100 million a year.
To give you an idea of the kind of business he runs, here is Levy's mission statement on his website: "Our beliefs are the core of who we are. They drive our vision and sustain our business. With God's guidance, we give our best effort to meet the needs of our customers, employees, contractors and the community every day. We are committed to service, fairness and the building of goodwill."
Robert arranged for Graham to speak to Jamaican church leaders about the importance of having the "courage to commit" to the unashamedly ethical standards. His speech received an overwhelming response. He also met with business leaders who responded similarly. Finally, he met with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and her cabinet, both of whom decided to support the unashamedly ethical program.
"God worked in the most marvelous way," Robert told me. "There was such an anointing on Graham."
He added that Powers won Jamaican governmental leaders over when he apologized as a white South African for apartheid and what his people had done to blacks in his country.
Graham told me he considers corruption to be "the greatest weapon of mass destruction facing mankind," adding that it "grows like a cancer."
Yet God has raised up an African businessman to speak to a world prevalent with corruption and to bring biblical ethical standards to the marketplace and government.
The results in Jamaica were so astounding they were trumpeted in a four-page section in the national newspaper. Talk about having an impact in the marketplace!
The report said in part:
"In the early 2000s, one man decided enough was enough and took a stand against corruption and the rapid moral decay taking place across the globe. He spearheaded a movement for clean living and life led by ethics and the values of the Christian faith. He is Dr. Graham Power, who launched the Unashamedly Ethical campaign in 2010.
"During the period Feb. 11-16, Dr. Power met with Jamaica's church, State and business leaders and urged them to join the movement against the cancer of corruption that is plaguing the island by pledging to uphold ethical values.
"Over 5,000 companies and more than 100 nations have accepted the Unashamedly Ethical challenge—Jamaica being among the most recent signatories, with over 500 responses in less than a week.
Here's how to make the commitment to live Unashamedly Ethical:
1. To be entirely truthful in all I say.
2. To be faithful to my family relationships.
3. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but to look out for the interests of others.
4. To refuse to elicit, accept or pay any bribes and to encourage others to do the same.
5. To be diligent without being harsh, and striving to be just and fair.
6. To be a peacemaker.
7. To do my work wholeheartedly.
8. To submit myself to just and ethical governing authorities.
9. To remember the poor by investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community.
10. To collaborate with my peers to impact our community and nation.
Has this inspired you? What awesome God-inspired goals can you achieve for God? If you're a business person, you can use Graham Power as a role model to make a difference in your world.
If you'd like to learn more about Unashamedly Ethical you can register online at unashamedlyethical.com.
Please share this with friends and leave your comments below.
Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.