Insights on Ministry & Business with Bishop Dale C. Bronner Part 1
In Part 2 of The Pastor & Businessman Series, hear from Bishop Dale C. Bronner—a 4th generation pastor and 4th generation businessman—as he shares insights gleaned while navigating both worlds.
Bishop Bronner is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, with over 19,000 members in the USA. He is also part-owner of Bronner Brothers Manufacturing Company, a multi-million dollar family-owned corporation which has been in the hair care business for over sixty years.
Bishop, can you tell us how you became both a pastor and a businessman?
You know that was a genetic predisposition for me because I am a fourth-generation minister, and I’m a fourth-generation businessman, one on the mother’s side of the family, the other on my father’s side of the family. I never have found that there was a conflict between the two. But I grew up in the business world and then as a very young person, I received a call of God and I never found one to be in conflict with the other.
The only challenge that people have is if you make money your god. You choose God or money, but you can have God in your life and being in the business world never really conflicts with that when you become a God-person who lives out kingdom principles in the marketplace.
Did you ever encounter any challenges being in both realms of ministry and business?
The challenges that happen are when you have unscrupulous people in ministry or unscrupulous people in the business world. And so in the business world, if somebody is untrustworthy, they taint the image of business people thinking that you are dishonest as a business person, or that you are shady as a pastor and it comes from the images of other individuals.
It’s not really a conflict of whether you are a pastor or a business person because when you think about the disciples of Jesus, they were bi-vocational. These were business people. The apostle Paul that wrote two-thirds of the New Testament was a maker of tents. He had a tent manufacturing business, and yet he preached the gospel and there was no problem with that. Peter and John, professional fishermen, they never stopped their fishing industry, but they were used as evangelists. So it is not an either/or, it is just finding that you express the character of Jesus Christ in the marketplace. And that’s what I found very, very natural to do because it was modelled for me by my parents.
Any advice to those who feel called to be in both ministry and business?
You work as unto the Lord, when you start something, you pray as though it is all up to God, but then you work as though it’s all up to you. You have to have this whole idea where it is faith and works.
I look at them as two wings of the same bird. You want to fly, you want to mount up with wings like eagles. And you can’t fly if you’re only flapping a faith wing; if you’re only flapping beliefs. It’s works. It’s faith and works, never faith or. It’s both of them working together, that I pray and I plan and I get this thing off the ground because I’m saying, God, you help me.
So what we do in the world, we ask God, God help me to thrive in this marketplace, and be salt and light in the world for you. Let me model the character of Christ and the values of Christ because we don’t want money or these external accoutrements of success without having the character because that’s what gives us peace at the end of the day.
If you have money and don’t have peace, you don’t have success. It’s being able to like yourself at the end of the day, and that’s what having Jesus Christ in your heart as a business person gives us the capacity to do. So you sharpen your business tools, but then you keep your spirit sharp because you’re still an instrument in the hand of God.
I think of people like Joseph in the Bible. Joseph served in secular government all of his life, but he was an instrument in the hand of God, to Pharaoh to the governor to the leader of the nation. He was a God-man inspired by God-given dreams. He used the work of ministry in civil government all of his life so he was wise because the anointing of God makes you wise, not weird.