Home Pastors The Company as Church

The Company as Church

Adobestock #279491645

A recent article on Forbes was titled “Stock or Tribe or Cult or Church?” It began by noting how people who worked at Apple, at least early on, felt like part of a movement that was ushering in the personal computer era.

Then there is “investor tribalism,” such as the Forbes reporter felt at the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. Such tribes can be “centered on the company, some on the company’s cause, and some on the fact that a company embraces (or eschews) a cause outside of the company.”

Regardless, such shifts stand “to move the definition of a company or a stock from a business or a security to that plus a set of values.”

Consider Berkshire:

[It is able] to draw 40,000 people to take an investing vacation to a sleepy midwestern city that’s normally a boring affair reserved for guys in suits.

The meeting exemplifies that you also feel like part of a movement—aiding and abetting the capitalist goodness that Buffett and Munger stand for: Finding good companies, good business models, good managements, and rewarding them, while steering resources away from less fit endeavors – becoming an agent of the evolution of capitalism through a Buffett-y process that helps the world in a way that quantitative investing, swing trading, passive indexing or even macroeconomic investing don’t.

But it’s more than a cult-like following, or a sense of identity from a “tribe.” 96% of Gen Z believes that businesses should be involved in solving social issues. One study of 30,000 employees found that 87% believe companies should take a stance on social issues directly related to their business. 74% said companies should take a stance on social issues not directly related to their business.

As society continues to evolve, two things seem clear: 1) the church is waning in significance; and 2) what the church provided is increasingly looked for in secular sectors. Specifically, becoming the moral conscience and agent of change in society.

In recent decades, there was great concern about the contemporary church borrowing too much from the corporate world in terms of best practices and leadership strategies. Now the concern is that the business world is taking the place of the church in terms of social conscience and activism.

This is obviously tricky for any business that has, ultimately, making money in their sights. Ask Bud Light or Target, both of whom have taken massive financial hits for actively aligning with the LGBTQ community in ways that were deeply offensive to many of their customers.