Mission(ary) statements

A recent story on MSNBC about the challenges of practicing your faith at work has an interesting sidebar which describes “10 companies with a mission.”  This stuff is both scary and entertaining…how nice to know that more people are being brought to Jesus through pyramid schemes and breaded chicken patties.  Probably the most absurd statement of all is this one by the CEO of Interstate Batteries:  “To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services.”  *snort*  Thanks to my friend Randy for passing this along!

Since the 1970s, Alaska Air, the ninth-largest commercial air carrier in the United States, has included cards with readings from the Psalms with its in-flight meals. “I felt restlessness to do something for Christ,” former President Bruce Kennedy has said.

Amway, founded in 1959 to market vitamins and home products directly to consumers, sells more than $5 billion worth of merchandise a year. Co-founder Richard M. DeVos has participated in movements like “The Plan to Save America” designed to elect Christians to public office; his partner, Jay Van Andel, who died last year, was honored with the Great Living American Award from the activist group Religious Heritage of America. Amway Christian Fellowship, founded in 1998 to support Amway distributors and sales people, has been described as the fastest-growing church in America, with 400 affiliated churches across America and a stated goal of 20,010 by 2,010.

Carl N. Karcher, founder of the Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain, maintains a statue of St. Francis of Assisi at the company’s headquarters in Anaheim, Calif., and hands out St. Francis of Assisi prayer cards with free burger coupons. Karcher was given the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award by the National Catholic Educational Association for his contributions to Catholic schools.

Although it markets itself in struictly secular terms, Chevrolet has allied itself with Christian causes for several years. It sponsors the Christian rock band Third Day, and it has funded and sponsored the Come Together and Worship tour, featuring Christian superstar Michael W. Smith and evangelist Max Lucado, as well as the annual Chevrolet-Stellar Youth Choir Showcase.

None of Chick-Fil-A‘s 1,100 outlets in 37 states has ever opened on Sunday, in deference to the company’s “statement of corporate purpose,” which says it exists “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” S. Truett Cathy, CEO of the fast-food chain, which is based in Atlanta, is a Southern Baptist layman who leads Bible classes every Sunday.

Curves is the world’s largest fitness franchise, with more than 8,000 outlets around the world, catering to middle-aged women uncomfortable in traditional fitness clubs. Founder Gary Heavin (pronounced Haven), the author of two Christian-oriented fitness books, donates 10 percent of company’s gross revenues to charities and matches the first $1,000 that each franchise raises for community causes, with much of the contributions targeted toward anti-abortion family planning clinics.

In-N-Out, a familiar sight to motorists in Southern California, prints Bible passages on its sandwich wrappers and soda cups and has run advertisements focusing on Jesus, like this one: “If you want a new life, then why not ask for God’s gift this Christmas? His gift to you is His son, Jesus. Ask Jesus to come and live in your heart today. Choose life by choosing Jesus. In-N-Out Burger wishes you a full and abundant life forever.” “My love of Jesus is greater than my fear of what people will say,” owner Rich Snyder says.

The mission statement for Interstate Batteries, the leading replacement battery manufacturer in North America, is: “To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services.” CEO Norman Miller, a born-again Christian, has said he believes religion is an essential part of business success. “When we have people that really don’t fit here, we ask God to guide us in dismissals,” Miller said in an interview with ChristiaNet last year.

ServiceMaster, the Illinois-based parent of such cleaning service brands as Terminix, Merry Maids and TruGreen ChemLawn, states its goal as “to honor God in all we do.” Retired Chairman Bill Pollard is chairman of the board of trustees of the Trinity Forum, a Christian leadership institute.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, follows a policy of reflecting the values of the communities it serves, most of them in rural and suburban areas. Wal-Mart is a member of the Christian Merchants program run by Kingdom Ventures, owner of The Christian Times newspaper. Wal-Mart refuses to carry albums with sexually themed or controversial cover art or lyrics, and it regularly pulls magazines from its shelves when it finds covers too provocative.

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  1. I once shopped an Interstate Battery store, and apart from the high prices… the mission statement, which says first to worship Christ and THEN to sell batteries. As a merchant, you should really just sell the darn batt’ries. If I wanted some religion during my errands, I’d go to the ‘Jesus Worshippin’ Outlet’. My Game Boy must be kept at top notch, and if Bobby LaBonte can run a 170+ racecar on it, these’ll do.

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  2. I always wondered why Chick-Fil-A is not open on Sundays. And Walmart has such good Christian values, like screwing it’s employees over and treating women like second class citizens. Almost makes me want to be a Christian.I am making a note to not patronize these businesses.

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