Monday, March 27, 2006

One of my hobby horses

...Churches treating businesspeople as ATMs, that is. Ministry happens as often - in fact, oftener - outside the walls of a church as inside them.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Sunday, March 26, 2006

CEO says the only thing anyone ever seems to want from businessmen in the churches is money

By Lavinia Ngatoko, in Challenge Weekly, New Zealand
Special to ASSIST News Service

OUTSIDER: Dick Brunton outside his Takapuna office ... “It would have felt really great if sometimes pastors said ‘right we’re going to pray for an anointing on businesspeople.’”

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (ANS) -- Dick Brunton, co-founder and chairman of New Zealand’s leading market research company, Colmar Brunton, wants to see the Church provide more support for businesspeople.

In an interview with Challenge Weekly, Mr. Brunton revealed a deep hurt at what he said was the Church not recognizing and ministering to the needs of businessmen.

Mr. Brunton has been at the helm of the company since it was established in 1981. It is now the largest independent, employee-owned market research company in Australasia.

But for this highly successful businessman, who in April will turn 59, life can get very lonely at the top.

He recalls how in early 1984 God worked in his life overnight.

Although as a teenager he had felt quite moved when he received his first communion at a Presbyterian Church in Hawkes Bay, when he went to university he fell into a bad way of life, which would last for many years.

Then one night in February, 1984, suffering from an addiction that he would prefer not to talk about, he asked God for help.

“I’d been able to give up other things like smoking and drinking, but this particular thing I couldn’t. I was at a low ebb and I sat on my bed one night and I said: ‘God, if you’re for real, please show me.’

“I looked back down my life and realized that I’d been in charge of it, and that I’d totally screwed it up ... The next morning when I woke up everything was new. The addiction had gone and that was a great miracle in itself.

“But on top of that I felt this love and this peace and a great hunger to read the Bible. I don’t even know if I had one, but I got one somewhere. And I began to read it wherever I went - what a staggering thing.”

Mr. Brunton says, however, that although he had managed to through his new-found faith overcome most of his demons, he began to question his role in life.

“Because it was such a dramatic change, I thought I was the only person that had gone through this. I thought ‘gosh people need to know about this, and here I am working away on business - I really should be an evangelist.

“For years I labored under the idea that I was really in the wrong place. God did show me in a quiet sort of way that I was in fact an evangelist but it was in the marketplace.”

Although he knew that in his head, he did not feel it in his heart.

“And I think this aggrieved me without ever really realizing it. I read a book that addresses this very point and I do think that Christians are hated by the devil – hated with a vengeance and attacked with a vengeance in their marriages; their businesses, everything and it can be a truly lonely place sometimes.

“If you’re the CEO of a business, you’re the boss and you can’t really wear your heart on your sleeve with the staff. It can be a lonely place.

“It would have felt really great if sometimes pastors said ‘right we’re going to pray for an anointing on businesspeople, for wisdom, or for all the things that business people need and to honor them that way.’

“It’s the evangelists, the helpers, the missionaries who seem to get honored and prayed for and blessed and sent forth and the only thing anyone ever seems to want from businessmen is money.”

Mr. Brunton said it was significant that a Massey University survey done not long ago had revealed that one person in two said that business was a necessary evil.

“Now that means that probably one church person in two, or one pastor in two, feels that business is a necessary evil.”

But his faith in the Lord, he points out, has never wavered and he has pieces of Scripture, especially Psalm 91, that he feels God has given him.

“I treasure them as little letters that God has written to me, if you like. One rock in my life is the love of God and I can tune into that anytime I want and I almost feel the anointing come over me very quickly - it’s beautiful.

“Sometimes I’ve just been working away doing little things and I get a ‘divine cuddle.’ It might last for about five minutes and then it goes away.”

Mr. Brunton says his plans for the company at the moment are for it to be much more customer-focused. He is open to exploring other options in his life now and although is committed to being with the company for another two years as part of his contract, is thinking of cutting down his hours.

“I’ve been a very goal-oriented person most of my life. But I think God’s going to let me have some fun, and a lot of love. I think one can be too earnest and too serious.

“I do feel that a door is going to open up for me and then I think it will be made clear to me how I’m going to be fruitful in my latter years, because it’s not clear now.”


Lavinia Ngatoko reports for Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s independent and non-denominational Christian newspaper.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.
ASSIST News Service is brought to you in part by Gospel for Asia (GFA). Gospel for Asia's passion is to plant churches among the world's most unreached peoples - those who have never heard a Gospel message. More than 15,000 native missionaries are now on the field with more than 29,000 churches planted in 10 Asian nations. You can help sponsor a native missionary for less than a dollar a day. Gospel for Asia is currently working to relieve the poverty and hopelessness of the Dalit communities by reaching out to Dalit children with food, clothing, and an education - all through the love of Jesus Christ. To learn more about GFA and their work among the Dalits (Untouchables) of India please go to their website at or in North America call 1-800-WIN-ASIA.
ASSIST News Service is brought to you free of charge and is supported by friends like yourself. If you would like to make a donation (tax-deductible in the US) to help us continue this service around the world, you can do so by logging onto our website -- -- and making the donation by credit card or by sending a check to ASSIST, PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA .
If this story has been forwarded to you, click here for your own subscription to Assist News.
If you no longer wish to receive Assist News via e-mail, click here to unsubscribe.

No comments: