This week we are visiting and praying for an organization called Young Business Leaders, also known as simply YBL. It began in 1981 by a group of young business leaders who desired to establish and maintain Christian relationships in the market place for continued growth through personal Bible study and accountability. Out of a desire to reach other businessmen in the Birmingham community, they held their first outreach in the Spring of 1981, which launched a couple of small groups who met regularly together.
In 1983, the organization was formalized. Young Business Leaders became known as an organization focused on and committed to reaching business leaders for Christ. In 1984, Phil Reddick was chosen to be the director and first staff member. Phil is still the executive director today. The YBL is now a national organization with offices in Birmingham and Huntsville, AL; Jackson, MS; and Cincinatti, OH. They are also working with key churches to open branches in other states at this time.
YBL’s purpose is to reach young business men and professionals to offer the tools and environment that facilitate holistic growth. They provide venues such as banquets, small groups, and one-on-one contacts with proven and established leaders. They help men find balance between family, work, and friends by emphasizing the importance of priorities, decisions, and personal faith. Their mission is to help lead men to be leaders at work, home, and at play by living lives of priority, integrity, and faith.
(If you are wondering what’s available for women business leaders, there is also a WBL, or Women Business Leaders organization.)
Before we get started praying, can I just say that this is one I feel totally unqualified to pray for? As a not-so-young, stay-at-home mom, I am pretty much the exact opposite of a “young business leader”. I do not pretend to know at all what kinds of temptations, stresses, pressure, or other issues Christian businessmen face on a regular basis. I am desperately depending on the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer today even more than usual.
II Timothy 2:15, 19 – 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
Lord God, You are sovereign King of the universe. As Daniel 4:35 says, You do according to Your will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off Your hand or say to You, ‘What have You done?'” We praise You because it is by Your hand that kingdoms, nations, churches, families, businesses, etc. have been established. We are grateful that You choose mighty men of God often as Your workmen to establish these institutions in order to advance Your kingdom on earth.
What little bit I do know about the business world tells me that it can be a cutthroat place, where leaders are expected to cut corners, bend rules, and do whatever it takes in order to beat out the competition. I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it is for Christian business leaders to resist those expectations and instead to rely on godly principles to grow their businesses. We are so grateful for the godly men we have in business leadership in and around Birmingham. We pray for their protection. Help them stand on the firm foundation of Your Word and Your way. Help them to know whose they are, and give them courage to be known in the workplace as one who names and bears the name of the Lord. Keep them from temptation.
We also pray that You would clothe each of them with a spirit of humility. Spare them from being like King Nebuchadnezzar, who looked over his kingdom thinking he had built it all with his own hands. (Dan. 4:30-34) Give them wisdom to recognize that their success is because You have blessed them with it. Yes, they have worked hard to be where they are, but You gave them the ability, the resources and ultimately the successes. Not because You owed it to them (because You owe none of us anything, O God), but because You purposed them to be leaders of business in order to advance Your kingdom in the marketplace and through their gifts and offerings. Lord, let these men be known in the business world as men of integrity and humility, by Your great grace and power.
Lord, thank You for raising up an organization like Young Business Leaders to help encourage business leaders to be all that You are calling them to be in the workplace and in their families. We pray that You would bless this organization as they seek to expand into other states. Give them strong leadership in each chapter, and raise up the churches in each community who recognize the importance of ministering to business leaders. I think sometimes we are so focused on ministering to the poor and the outcast (which are so important and necessary, of course) that we don’t realize there are lots of successful business leaders in our community who are just as lost as the homeless addict. We pray for a revival to blow through the businesses and organizations in Birmingham. Let these men be awakened to the truth that You love them and have a purpose for them that is far more than just being successful in business. Use YBL and the men who are a part of it to be the salt and light to men who may not realize they are lost. Advance Your kingdom in and through the workplace, for Your honor and glory, and for their good. Amen.
Okay, that was more fun than I thought it would be! Letting the Holy Spirit lead you through Scripture to pray is always an adventure! What passage did the Lord bring to your mind as we prayed together?