Christian Business Owners Get Together Convention For Those Who Mix Business, God Comes To Town
On the bottom of the Eastlex Machine Corp. letterhead is a Bible verse from Proverbs.
Every day at the factory, where machines are made for the garment industry, begins with prayer and devotion.
A pamphlet on living the Christian life is shipped with every piece of equipment.
The Schmidt family, owners of the Lexington, Ky., factory, were among more than 1,000 businessmen and women who were in Spokane last week to talk about Christian principles in the workplace.
The Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries has held the convention in a different location for more than 40 years. This was the group’s first gathering in Spokane, at the Convention Center.
Most members of the organization are Seventh-day Adventists. At the conference, issues range from buying computers to providing employee benefits to observing their Sabbath on Saturday.
The Schmidts have run their business with Christian principles since it began in 1956. They now have 75 employees.
“We think God blessed us because of it,” said Volker Schmidt. “We treat our employees as God would.”
Schmidt said he emphasizes honesty, fairness and love - Biblical truths - in every aspect of the business.
At the annual conference, the Schmidts said they get to see how others are keeping their ideals in the secular market.
“We enjoy hearing stories from other people in like businesses,” said Christa Schmidt. “We get lots of ideas on how we can share Christ with our customers.”
Others who attend the conference created their own businesses or looked for a new job because they were uncomfortable working for a secular corporation in a secular market.
“I got along great with everyone, but when my co-workers clocked out, they did things that I would not do,” said Todd Hoyt, who now works for Family Matters, a Tennessee firm owned by Adventists. “I have friends who work in non-Adventist environments and they do fine. For me, I was uncomfortable.”
Now Hoyt, who recently graduated from college with a communications degree, helps market books, videos and other products that promote strong families.
He said his work is more fulfilling than his previous job with an advertising firm.
“You have to be straight-up and honest,” Hoyt said. “It is not acceptable to be manipulative. And advertising, for the most part, is very much into deception.”
Lynelle Childs, a television station manager, said she is picking up tips on communicating with others who don’t share her beliefs. “I’m learning not to be afraid of sharing my beliefs and not to be embarrassed,” she said.
Childs is the manager of Blue Mountain Television, an Adventist-owned station near Walla Walla. The station provides spiritual programming, a news and talk show and coverage of community events.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WORSHIP Robert Folkenberg, the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, addressed a consolidated service at the Opera House on Saturday.
This sidebar appeared with the story: WORSHIP Robert Folkenberg, the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, addressed a consolidated service at the Opera House on Saturday.