What does success look like to you?
No matter how many awards won or material wealth accrued, success in ourselves will never satisfy the longing of our hearts.
John Sikkema, Chairman of Halftime Australia had to learn this painful lesson when at the age of 40, a veneer of prosperity in life and business was quickly exposed with his health, finances and a marriage on the rocks.
Today, John coaches many people like himself to move from success and into significance. He believes the key to this shift in thinking is building a “Business On Purpose” which supports advancing the Kingdom of God and unleashing spiritual and social transformation both at a local and global level.
Faith and work go together: You can’t divorce the two
What should our attitude be towards secular work as a Christian? For the business owner, should our faith play a role in determining what business we engage in and how we go about our labour? Can our work advance the Kingdom of God, or is it just something we have to put up with this side of heaven?
Thankfully, the New Testament provides clear guidance to believers on not only the value of secular work, but also the position of the heart that is required for the work to be carried out effectively. The apostle Paul, a tentmaker by trade and the first self-funded missionary provides clear guidance on the subject. As final instruction to the elders in Ephesus, Paul takes note on how he conducted his ministry:
Here, as in other parts of his letters, the apostle Paul draws the interconnection between faith and work. We demonstrate our faith by how we work. First working heartily unto God and not to man (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23) and second so that we can care for the needs of the poor and those in need—a core teaching of Jesus and upheld by the apostles (Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 12:13, Galatians 2:10). Paul is making it very clear: do not work aimlessly or for self but work with a purpose to serve God and His Kingdom.
It was a life-changing lesson that John Sikkema learned the hard way. At age 40, John was a regular churchgoer, married with four children and running a financial services business of 60 staff. Operating his business the only way he knew how to, John admits that he chased material success, working 80 hour weeks and expanding his business so that offices were opened all across Australia.
In John’s mind, work was what you did during the week and worship was reserved for Sundays at church. John is not dissimilar to many Christians today who work in the marketplace. They tend to compartmentalise their lives—faith confined to a few hours at a church service and then work consuming many of their waking hours, pursuing their idea of success.
It all came to a halt when John was sitting in church, listening to a travelling evangelist John Smith who challenged the congregation of the impact several business people could make for the Kingdom of God in Australia if they were each to donate $1 million dollars towards spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In that moment, John was convicted that in the midst of pursuing success he had lost sight of the bigger picture of why he was put on the earth.
He says it was like a new computer chip had entered in his head. John raced home and wrote down 13 things that needed to change in his life so that his energies were no longer poured into making more money, but were motivated by a higher calling to build God’s Kingdom and in so doing, bless others. Dramatic changes in his life took place over the next 12 months when he started to operate from a position of putting the Kingdom of God first. John adopted a new modus operandi for his business or what he would describe building a “Business on Purpose”.
John has never looked back. From a position of being bankrupt on paper and walking away from his business altogether, the next 9 years saw John running his financial services company from the basis of worshiping and serving God, cutting back his weekly hours to 50, and investing more time in community projects and with his wife. In a miraculous change of circumstances, at the age of 49, John sold the business for $40 million to Challenger – a Packer backed ASX company. He also experienced great healing and restoration in his marriage and relationship with his children.
God also heard John’s prayer that he would live long enough to build riches in heaven, and has for 15 years been intentionally training the next generation of business owners and entrepreneurs to build businesses on purpose through his organisation Halftime Australia. Sharing lessons learned while in the crucible of surrendering his life and business to God’s purposes, John helps business owners to restructure their businesses according to Kingdom principles so they can find greater alignment between their faith and how they spend their working hours. John says it all starts when people re-frame their thinking according to God’s Word and start to integrate their faith and work, rather than chasing the elusive “work-life” balance dream.
Are you feeling trapped in you job or workplace? Struggling to find how to integrate faith and work? Do you want a better understanding of your purpose in life? Halftime helps by:
- reigniting past dreams
- reframing your thinking around your calling
- getting clear about your purpose in God
- restructuring financially for a future transition into a new work/life arrangement
- creating the space to ask the hard questions—When are you most at peace? When are you at your best? What has been your most painful experience of life?
Being in business can be very involved. Helping clients, managing cash flow and overseeing staff. It can all be too much! What is the bigger picture for your business?
John Sikkema is teaming up with Peter Irvine, co-founder of Gloria Jeans Coffees to share the lessons learnt in building a business on purpose. This will include practical guidance on how to start a business or purpose, or transition a current business into one that serves God’s Master Plan at a global and local level.
About John Sikkema
John Sikkema is a business entrepreneur, author and thought-leader who is passionate about motivating and mentoring business leaders and organisations to discover their purpose and achieve their dreams and vision.
He is the Executive Chairman of Halftime Australia, a values-based executive coaching organisation addressing the growing hunger and need amongst Australian business leaders and owners to pursue more than just success. He is also the Director of Halftime Global Partners, Halftime Institute, Dallas, Texas USA.
Founder of Garrisons Financial Planning and Author of ‘Enriched, Re-defining Wealth’
Today, he sits on various boards, which includes his position as non-executive Board Chairman of Prime Value, a Melbourne-based funds management company.