In 1977, a small group of business leaders who shared a vision of leading companies for Christ came together in Atlanta. Their goal was to invite and encourage other business leaders to join them in accomplishing their vision. This group became the foundation for the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (www.fcci.org), an organization that serves Christian business leaders around the world through peer-to-peer relationships, traditional and technology-based resources, local business leader groups, regional and global conferences.
About the same time and over a thousand miles away in Chicago, Terence Chatmon was graduating from high school, not knowing that God would prepare him to take the helm of this marketplace ministry.
Born the youngest of five children to a strong Christian family, Terence was a talented baseball player with an 88-mph pitching arm. His talent was notable, but just shy of the 90-mph strength needed to make it in the “big” leagues, so Terence pursued a degree in marketing at the University of Illinois instead. Over the next 20 years, Terence had a successful career in corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit ministry leadership. It was the right preparation for the role of President and CEO of FCCI, a position he accepted in August, 2011.
A Heart for Discipleship
With his background, Terence approaches his role with the mind of a seasoned transformational leader and a heart for discipleship. “Our vision is to transform the world through Christ, one company and one leader at a time.”
When you measure FCCI’s impact, it is pretty impressive. Today, the organization has impacted thousands of business leaders in 38 states and 61 countries. However, when you look at the market penetration of marketplace ministries worldwide—and FCCI does have a global view—there is an incredibly long way to go.
Terence explains. “There are 90 million registered businesses worldwide, and if you assume 10% are owned and operated by Christians, then there are 9 million Christian businesses in the world. But only about 3/10ths of one percent of these businesses is involved in marketplace ministry; that is, using their business as a platform for discipleship. That is an enormously underserved market!”
Terence sees that the only way to address this gap is through collaboration with other organizations like his that believe in developing Christian-led businesses to use their platform for a greater purpose than shareholder value.
Collaboration, Not Competition
“It is about collaboration, not competition.” Terence emphasized. “There are 47 other marketplace ministries out there. I believe if we advance this movement, every one of us will benefit. Together we are more powerful than each one of us going it alone. But more importantly, together we can make a difference addressing the 99.7 percent of the untapped market.”
FCCI’s plan to address this huge market of Christian business leaders that have not yet dedicated their businesses to Christ involves collaboration, new methodologies and use of technology. But Terence acknowledges there is no quick fix.
“Whenever there is great opportunity, there is also great responsibility, and you can’t find an easy way to get this done. Our conviction and trust in God has to go to a new level, and we have to get back to His Word. While I’m excited about the use of new methodologies, techniques and technologies, nothing replaces getting our noses in the Word of God every day and then freely wanting to give it away.”
Leading the Next Generation
Terence continued, “We have to be much more willing to give of our time and have a perpetual desire to reach and mentor the next generation. As leaders, we have an amazing opportunity to mentor the next generation and teach them how to lead the generation that follows.” He identifies four pillars that are essential to become a Kingdom Leader and Kingdom Company – transformation in life, business, community and nation.
"All this is too large for any one organization to do. There is an unprecedented opportunity to unite business leaders worldwide, and see Christ honored in the workplace as never before. But, we must have collaboration and cooperation with other organizations and churches if we are to achieve this transformation."Terence Chatmon
Terence identified specific opportunities in three areas. First, there is a growing market of Baby Boomers who are becoming entrepreneurs. Second, there is a huge opportunity to reach and mentor the Generation Y market. And third, there is a vast potential in the international market. In all three of these markets, there is a need for equipping and encouragement and a need to make it accessible.
“China is open because they want business.” Terence observed. “They will turn their head to the fact that we are preaching the Bible and Christianity, because they want to learn business. Other markets in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa that were closed in the past are now open to us. The Lord is at work in a mighty way in these countries.”
FCCI has a goal to reach and equip one million new emerging leaders over the next 10-12 years and plans to do that through internships, mentoring and coaching.
Terence explains. “We want to allow the next generation of leaders to walk with legacy leaders and let them experience a Christian CEO who is leading his or her company through Christ. We want to expose them to business leadership groups and be mentored by these men and women who are talking about business issues and integrating Biblical principles in their business and personal lives. We can put young people in environments where they can see the love of Jesus demonstrated on a daily basis in business.”
Leading by Example
Believing that Christ can change our world through how we do business, Terence is committed to serving with excellence. “God has given us gifts of business to train His shepherds. So Christian businesses must lead by example and set the bar high. We are not better than any other organization out there, but we should operate with a level of excellence greater than any other organization. We have to raise our expectations as non-profit marketplace ministries as well as marketplace organizations to not be standard or substandard. We need to be operating at a level of excellence. We must demonstrate that you can lead a company through Christ¸ operate with excellence and be successful.”
Terence speaks confidently about how Christian businesses can truly transform this nation. “We have to be bold, courageous, and lead with integrity. We have to understand humility, compassion, dependency, and sacrifice. When we leave this ‘me’ mentality and worldview and really think about Christ and what He’s done on the cross, that will change lives – one company and one leader at a time.” This nation and other nations will never be the same!
By: Terence Chatmon
Terence brings a diverse, 20-year background in corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit ministry leadership. Mature in his faith, he is a visionary and strong relationship-builder with a proven track record of integrity and fruitfulness. Humility and passion are hallmarks of his leadership, someone who will genuinely lead FCCI by daily Christian example. In the non-profit arena, he serves an elder at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, and a teacher for Bible Study Fellowship. After authoring a popular Bible-based family enrichment course, Focus on the Family brought him on staff in Colorado Springs as Vice President of Community Impact Outreach. Terence’s workshop materials, “Charting Your Family’s Spiritual Course” is now a Focus on the Family product, distributed globally. More recently, he served as President of Urban Ministries in Chicago, the largest independent African-American publishing and media company in the United States.Read More Articles by Terence Chatmon