Today’s show features Os Hillman, President of Marketplace Leaders.
“There’s a process by which God raises up His leaders. And usually, there are six stages God takes a leader through. The first one is recruitment. The number two stage is character development. The third is isolation. Then the fourth is the cross. Five is problem-solving. The last stage is network. Our understanding and knowing God’s processes can be very comforting and encouraging.”
Ray: Hello everyone. This is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, and if this is your first time joining the program, welcome to the program where the analogy we like to use is we’re going to lift the hood and we’re going to tinker around in the engine of Christian Leadership in the marketplace. This is where we interview high capacity, high performing, Christ following CEOs, authors, marketplace leaders and personalities that have been given a platform to glorify God in the marketplace. And so, if this is your first time, welcome. If you’re a regular listener here Bottom Line Faith, welcome back. Hey, check out our website gang at bottom line faith dot org. And you can subscribe as a listener to the podcast using Stitcher, the iTunes store as well as Google Play Store.
So check us out become a regular listener and a regular subscriber. Well, hey gang, I gotta tell you, I am so fired up about our guest today. You know, if you’ve listened in the past, you know, we interview CEOs and business owners and entrepreneurs and every once in a while we are blessed with a guest like today and this is an expert, a true expert, a true thought leader in this entire space of ministry in the marketplace and living out our calling as Christ follower in business. Folks, we have from the Atlanta Georgia area on the phone today Os Hillman and Os is the president of marketplace leaders. This is a global organization that’s purpose is specifically and uniquely to help men and women discover God’s calling for them in the marketplace. Os is an extremely prolific author publishing 17 books, including his latest book called The Joseph Calling: Six Stages to Navigate Discover and Fulfilling your Purpose. Os, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Os: Ray, so good to be with you. And thanks for all that you do as well to build a kingdom through the Marketplace.
Ray: Well, Os because we have a just a little bit of time and you have so much to offer would it be okay, if we just jump right into our conversation today? If that’d be all right.
Os: Absolutely. Let’s do it.
Ray: Let’s do it. I have really been looking forward to this because I’ve admired you from a distance and kind of being a person who likes to be in this space of marketplace leadership as well, it’s an honor to have you. So, tell us about marketplace leaders. Tell us about this organization. How and when, and why did you start it? And what do you do there?
Os: Well, it wasn’t really my idea. And, you know, I went through I had an ad agency for 12 years, and then was thrust into a major crisis in 1994 where I had some major financial business and personal losses that ushered me into a siege of seven years of adversity and two years into that adversity, the founder of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce, Gunnar Olson, spoke into my life and I was trying to make sense of that verse of and he said, “You know, you have a Joseph calling on your life.” And I said, “What in the world is that?” He said that was a marketplace called be a spiritual and physical provider to others.
And so he became my kind of spiritual father in the marketplace that very day and has since for the last 22 years. And it was two years into that I was actually hosting a meeting for a lot of leaders like yourself, that we were beginning to see how, you know, there was a move of God in the workplace and we had this meeting in Atlanta about 70 leaders. And it just so happened that I was doing that with Larry and Larry asked me to host it, but then he canceled the week before and I had to host it and that was the first of marketplace leaders.
Ray: Amazing how God had that in store. And all of a sudden you find yourself thrust right in an incredible position of leadership and influence there now, help us understand a little bit more about your organization, and specifically what you do and have to offer in the marketplace?
Os: Well, Ray I really feel like I’m called to teach and equip men and women in the workplace to really see their work as a calling and a ministry, the spiritual aspect of that, as well as the, you know, just the business aspect of that. And so, God allowed me to write a daily devotional during those seven years called TGI of today, God is first, and that goes to about 104 nations today, and seems to be kind of the spearhead for us, that kind of opened the door for speaking and doing workshops and online training. And so, our focus is really to pour into that leader and help him understand what it means to live the larger story of their life.
Ray: And that is really, really exciting. So the core is this devotional and you’re speaking and such, and you’ve really been a thought leader in this area. God’s really given you a platform, you know, and reviewing some of your experience here, you know, you’ve been featured in New York Times, and CNBC and NBC and LA Times, I mean, God’s really opened up an incredible platform for you, has he not?
Os: Well He has you know, I never would have imagined very He was taking me to major 26 countries. And when I look at kind of what I was doing at the time, you know, God turns those valley of acors, which means trouble, into doors of hope for ourselves and for other people, you know, he uses our adversities to encourage other people. And that’s kind of what I saw. I see myself as helping a lot of those people just like myself trying to make sense of the adversity they’re going through. And I never would have imagined that God turned a shy Southern boy into a speaker and a writer who barely got out of English class.
Ray: That’s right, that’s awesome. Well, let me let me let me just take just a moment here gang, if you’re just joining us, we are speaking with us, Os Hillman is the president of marketplace leaders and if you want to learn more about Os and his ministry we want to encourage you to check out his website at today God is first dot com. That is today God is first dot com and Os we’re going to talk in just a moment about what you’re seeing God up to in the marketplace and we’re going to have you give some advice to Christ followers who are in business and so forth. But you have a very, very generous offer that you would like to offer to our listeners. You’ve just released a new book I mentioned it earlier, The Joseph Calling: Six Stages to Navigate Discovering, Fulfill Your Purpose, and you have a very generous offer for our listeners today, would you mind taking a moment sharing that?
Os: Yeah, we we would like to just make the first chapter of our book available to anyone who would like it as well as a day. First, we actually have a 12 week small group study, it’s an E-book, and all they have to do is send a text message to 54900, that’s 54900. Send it to that number, and put the word Joseph in the message area. So 54900, and then put the word Joseph, then they’ll get a link to be able to download both those resources.
Ray: Very good, thank you. And we’ll cover that again in just a few moments before we end the program. So thank you that that is incredibly gracious folks, there’s a great chance to kind of get a sneak peek the first chapter of the book, as well as a 12 week Study Guide to really help you live out your faith in business and in the marketplace. Well Os, let’s learn from you now, you really have a lot to offer. So, Os, you had a chance to travel the globe, particularly over the last few years, and communicate with and work with 10s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Christ followers globally. How would you summarize what you see God doing within the body of Christ and business and that intersection of faith in business? So, if you had to summarize overall, what you see going on tell us about that.
Os: Well, I think we saw in the 1990s just an awareness for the first time it seemed that, you know, people were getting a better understanding of what you know, that their work life had a spiritual component to it, and they were, and this sort of spread and spread around the really around the world. It wasn’t just a US thing, but it was actually around the world. And so, in the last, I’d say, last few years, I see where pastors are starting to get a little more awareness of this area. And God is beginning to move in their lives. And so, I just see, you know, it hasn’t been moved to the degree that we’re seeing it, you know, on a broad scale, but certainly the early adopters are, are there and we’re seeing a lot of good things happen as a result.
Ray: So, I’m gonna speculate here, part of what I think I’m hearing is that you sense God even moving in the hearts of church and church leaders and pastors that this old bifurcation, the, you know, keeping work and our faith separate that that’s really not the heart of God, is that part of what you’re sharing with us here?
Os: I think the local churches has not understood the value of equipping men and women, I call it the church in the workplace. Because church really means a iglesia. It’s the people of God. It’s a movement of people. And when people understand that they have a spiritual value, and the work life that really impacts everyone, and it actually makes the church much more effective as well. And so we try to help pastors especially understand how to effectively equip the church in the workplace. And there’s one pastor group actually doing a great job called Made to Flourish and that’s just a group of pastors committed to better understanding how to equip the church in the workplace. And so, you know, so that’s one person would have never seen 20 years ago,
Ray: Right. And so then as you as you kind of, you know, travel and you talk with these pastors and these, you know, this conversation that we’re talking about right now, what advice you know, say, I’m a pastor listening to this program right now, what advice or word of encouragement would you have for me to pass along to my business leaders? What would you say to me as a pastor?
Os: Well, you know, I’ve said, I was meeting with the pastor’s a few years ago. And while I was on a committee with them, and we were friends, and so forth, but he didn’t really get what I did. He didn’t see the value of what I did for his own local congregation. Until one day they the light kind of came on for him and he came to me, this was after two years of a walking, you know, and the friendship and he said, to me “Os, I finally got it, I got it, I got what you’re trying to say to me.” And what he realized was that his role is no more important than the role of his members as it related to the spiritual calling of the lines. And so, he started a affirming their call. And when he started doing that, he saw an amazing response. In fact, he says, you know, my church doesn’t do this, but they actually stood up and started clapping. And he says, the reason was for the very first time, they felt affirmed in their call. And I would say, that’s the big thing in the workplace.
Ray: As I’m listening, I’m thinking, if I were Satan, and if I were the enemy of Christ, probably one of my key strategies would be to do all I could do to convince the majority of the body of Christ, those who are in the marketplace, not in full time vocational church in missionary type ministry. But I think I would try to do all I could render that body impotent, powerless, and not seeing their call. So what I hear you saying is, this really is igniting the body of Christ to do what it was called to do. And, and that spiritual warfare at the core, is that correct?
Os: That’s right. And I think that, you know, we’ve talked over the years about the influence of the seven cultural mountain that had the most influence and impacting the culture because it forms people’s values and beliefs around those areas. That, you know, there’s no other institution whereby these people who actually operate in those spheres come together weekly. So a shepherd really has the opportunity to equip men and women like no other person. But unfortunately, the mistake that is often made if they tried to equip them to do the work of the ministry inside the local church building instead of their ministry outside the local church.
Ray: Yeah, so we’ve talked a little bit, you know, some of that advice and encouragement that you might offer along to pastors to help affirm the marketplace and business leaders in their church. And I absolutely love that. I think that’s extraordinarily important. The other side of that equation, then is, you know, the business leaders themselves. And so if we could just transition a little bit, I’d love to learn from you and hear from you, maybe some best practices that you’re seeing out in the marketplace as you’re traveling and speaking and talking with Christian business owners and leaders globally, actually What are some best practices that you see being implemented, that are building companies, leading companies, how they’re running companies, to the glory of God, just share with us some things that you’re seeing out in the marketplace.
Os: I think that some of the things, like what you guys do at Truth at Work, you know, where you have these mentoring groups and business leaders coming together once a month, those are very powerful groups, because as we all know, they might get in those groups for the purpose of, you know, making the business more successful. But what they really in the valuing is the relationships that they have. And I think that’s really key that those leaders who have effectiveness in the marketplace for Christ are those who are walking with other people.
And, you know, I talk a lot about William Wilberforce who was from England and he was credited for abolishing slavery after 30 years of work. And he walked with 18 other individuals, they call them the Clapham group. And Clapham was a city in England, but they went to church together, they were all reformers, and they just leveraged their various talents and resources and influence for the purposes of God. And I think that when Jesus talked about John 17, he prayed that they would be one as being the Father of one that they might believe in me. And so, when leaders began to kind of roll up their sleeves and do things together, it’s very powerful, because they end up doing things on a much greater scale than by themselves. So, Clapham group they did about 69 world changing initiatives that went way beyond England.
Ray: What I hear in that is one of the best practices for these Christ followers is to is to get and stay in meaningful community with peers who are going to be change agents along with themselves.
Os: Exactly. Yeah, and be part of a small group where you have some accountability with each other, and it’s iron sharpening iron, you began to, you know, leverage each other’s own influence as well as just being able to encourage. I mean, it’s tough world out there, you need when crisis comes up, where are you going to turn. You know, Daniel had his three friends, you know, when he had a crisis happened and, and the king said, you better interpret my dream and tell me my dream or you’re gonna die along with your friends.
Ray: That’s good incentive.
Os: We rarely get those kind of challenges here in America. But you know the point is, we need people in our lives.
Ray: We have a saying around here at Truth at Work and of course, here at Bottom Line Faith that most Christ followers in business field at times, if not most often lonely, isolated, or overwhelmed. And you’re really talking about the importance of coming together and community. And that’s true for all of us as followers of Christ. That’s exactly right. So, you really have an opportunity as we’re talking about to talk with a lot of business owners and leaders. And this is probably just a continuation of what you were just saying about getting around community. So just as a few moments ago, you had some advice for pastors in affirming and calling forward their business leaders and their congregations. So just let’s just imagine for a moment that right now, there’s a Christ follower, who owns a business, runs a business, perhaps they’re a manager and a key decision making position in their organization. And right now, they’re feeling discouraged. Right now, they don’t see themselves as really living out God’s call on them in the marketplace, or they’re feeling discouraged, or they’re just confused. What words of encouragement, Os, would you have to pass along? What words of life could you share for that person who’s listening right now? Even if it’s just one person that this can make a difference for? What would you say?
Os: Well, you know, back in 1994, when I went through my crisis, I was thrown in a time of real questioning, confusion and not knowing what God was doing and now 22 years later, I can say that I understand that there’s a process by which God raises up His leaders. And usually there’s six stages that God takes a leader through, and I’ll just briefly share those with you. And that the first one is recruitment, and usually guides recruitment into the larger story through life is through some type of crisis. The number two stage is character development, he usually takes you through a season of character development, just like he did with Moses, or excuse me, Joseph. And then the third is isolation, you often isolates that lead here in order to turn messes into messages and messengers. And then the fourth stage is the cross.
So often, I see that most leaders go through some type of betrayal, in their life to find out if they’re going to wash the feet of the Judas. And then number five is problem solving, that God always makes a leader, a problem solver. And Ephesians 2:10 tells us that he does in fact have something for each of us to do that. That there’s a purpose and destiny. And then the last stage is networks. And so, by understanding those things, no matter of what condition or situation you find yourselves in, knowing God’s processes can be very comforting and encouraging. And that’s what we unpack in the Joseph calling book. We go in detail and each of those six stages and so you know that was very helpful. I saw that that pattern in every leader in the Bible. I had it in my life and even modern day leaders, can pretty much say, Yep, went through that, that, and that.
Ray: Let me just say, folks, once again, our guest today at Bottom Line Faith is Os Hillman. He is the president of marketplace leaders, you can check out and learn more about us and his incredible ministry by visiting today. God is first dot com. And one other thing that he shared with us earlier, he’s got a new book out called the Joseph Calling. And he is offering up some and a free chapter in the book as well as an E book, a study guide. So, all you need to do is on your mobile device, go to text and enter 54900 is the number put Joseph in the subject line. There’ll be a link there after you submit that text and Os and his team will send you some great complimentary resources. So, thank you for that generous offer. Can’t believe it, as we’re starting to get near the homestretch of our interview here. And we say it’s a fastest 30 minutes online here. And because God blesses us with great guests, such as yourself. What’s the best advice, Os, you can ever remember being given? How’s it impact your leadership today?
Os: Well, I think the best advice I got was that the adversity that I had was going through back in the 90s was a consequence of the call of God, not something God was doing to me, you know, that I did something wrong, but it was an actually consequence of the call. And that really changed the perspective on adversity because I kind of walked into that meeting in 1996 as a victim of my circumstances and living in a lot of shame and defeat and he said, “You know, Os you probably made some mistakes but what you need to realize is the call is bigger than the mistakes.” and that just gave me a new level of faith to be able to embrace the process and to press into him to see how God would restore me. And you know the seven years, just like Joseph seven years and another seven years, seven years into my process to the very few restored all the day long and birth that international ministry.
Ray: You’re really finishing strong here on this Os, this is fun stuff. Let me make sure I wrote this down correctly, that you said that, yes, you’ve made mistakes, but your calling is bigger than those mistakes. Did I catch that right?
Os: That’s right. That’s right. You know, God has an ability to turn our worst situations into something for his purposes. And, you know, I had someone say, you know, only Jesus made Plan A for the rest of us, he turns our B, C, and D plans into his A plan. And, you know, that’s consistent with, you know, where in Corinthians, it talks about all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purposes. So, you know, we can’t turn out fail God, He will always turn something into something positive, it’s basically, allowing him to.
Ray: Great words of advice and encouragement, because, as we said, that is really a big part of what we’re trying to do here at Bottom Line Faith. And so there’s, I’m sure there’s many of our listeners right now, ours that are tuned in right now, they’re discouraged, they’re despondent, they’re confused. And your word today is really “Hey, God’s not taken by surprise. He knows what you’re going through.” And that’s part of your story. That’s part of your testimony. This adversity is really part of shaping our character. So good wisdom, brother, good wisdom. So my goodness, we are down near the end.
And as I share with you as I had, and all of our regular listeners know the last question, so you’ve survived the interview. You’ve done great here today, you survived the Bottom Line Faith gauntlet. But the last question that we like to ask every guest is what we call our 4:23 question based out of Proverbs 4:23, these incredible words of Solomon that says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it determines the course of your life.” And so as much as the wisdom and insights that we got from Solomon, he was really calling out above at all this one thing, guard your heart. So, Os, let’s fast forward. Let’s say it’s towards the end of your time on Earth, this side of eternity, and you have a chance to gather your friends and loved ones, what is the absolute most important critical piece of advice that you would pass along and that would be the piece of advice that you would want to pass along to our listeners here at Bottom Line Faith?
Os: Well, I think it’s probably Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you.” You know, the Bible says in Jeremiah that if you’ll seek Him with all your heart and call upon Him, He will answer you. And I’m finding that to be really true that God has a plan and purpose and you know, and we don’t want to settle for the smaller story of our lives but ask God to bring us into the larger story. And then in some ways that can be a dangerous prayer because you know, sometimes it takes us through some difficult seasons but we don’t want to get the heaven and leave any part of our inheritance on the table. We want to receive everything he has planned for us. And so, as a result, I think it’s all about seeking Him in every area of our life so that he can be glorified in those areas.
Ray: Fantastic, Os. Thank you so very much folks. We have been talking with Os Hillman, the president of marketplace leaders. One more time if you want to learn more about Os, folks, this really is one of the thought leaders, one of the most sought after speakers and thought leaders in the whole space of marketplace ministry, not only here in the United States but on a global basis publishes a daily devotional that goes out to I think you said what 104 countries as is that correct?
Os: Correct, yeah. That’s a free devotional they can get it today.
Ray: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for investing this time with Os, here at Bottom Line Faith. You’re very generous and I’m just very grateful.
Os: Ray, it was a great time. Thank you for having me on and thank you for all that you’re doing for the kingdom, as well as your own ministry
Ray: Well folks, I believe you’ll agree with me that once again no disappointment here at Bottom Line Faith where God is allowing us to interview some of the top Christ followers in business and in the marketplace across the country. Today our guests has been Os Hillman. If this is your first time to check out this podcast. Please subscribe, check us out a bottom line faith dot org and you can subscribe. Scroll down to the bottom there it’ll show you and teach you and walk you right through how to subscribe as a regular listener.
Whether you’re on the iTunes platform, Stitcher or on the Google platform the Play Store there you can subscribe to the podcast and so forth if you are a Christ follower and you are a business owner president or CEO and you’re looking for that community that Os talked about on our interview today, that place to gather with Christian peers to really sharpen one another as followers of Christ in business check out our website at truth at work dot org truth at work dot org and learn about around tables. We have chapters on across the country. And if you’re in a market where we don’t have a chapter yet we sure would love to talk to you about what that would look like to establish one. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, the place where we lift the hood and we tinker around in the engine of Christian Leadership in the marketplace folks, until next time, thanks so much.