If two heads are better than one, imagine the force of a dozen like-minded CEOs, company presidents and business owners coming together to solve a problem. Add the benefit of the power of prayer, and you have a recipe for certain success.
Stewart, the chief executive officer of a technology company, experienced the value of this formula firsthand. In the early days of his business, Stewart learned that two of his employees had started a competing business on the side. Challenged by the anger, hurt, and fear of the discovery, he brought the problem to his C12 group—a Christian peer advisory board—for advice.
“You’ve got to fire them!” was the advice. Responding to Stewart’s concern about how he was going to serve his customers, his C12 group came together and said, “You’ve got to do the right thing first, and let God handle the tough part.” The group stopped right there, prayed and asked God to send two new people to fill the positions.
Within two days, Stewart had an answer to these prayers. In what appeared to be random coincidence, two people, with the exact required skills and were looking for a job, presented themselves to Stewart. Ten years later these two people are still working for him. All of this was possible, because Stewart was encouraged to do the right thing and give the rest to God.
“Plans made after advice, succeed; so with wise guidance wage your war.” - Proverbs 20:18
There are countless success stories like Stewart’s that validate the benefit of wise and godly counsel. In fact, the C12 Group, founded in 1992 on Biblical principles, has produced many of these types of success stories. C12 is all about leading thriving, profitable Christian companies. This practical focus is combined with a commitment to a Biblical perspective and coupled with like-minded peer counsel and accountability. Monthly, C12 members meet to discuss best-practice business topics through a Bible-centered lens. Hard-hitting, real-world content is integral to the C12 lifelong learning experience. In addition, members benefit from the wisdom and insight of a trusted C12 “peer board,” which helps them keep focused and accountable to their principles and core values.
“The principle behind the C12 group, or any type of small group like C12, is that they work, because they are based on the model and design of the Church,” said Buck Jacobs, Chairman and Founder of The C12 Group, LLC. “God has created us all with different gifts, talents and abilities. In the Church, He is calling us to work in an interdependent way where one’s strengths complement another’s weaknesses and vice versa.” The C12 design is based on this principle and recognizes that combined strengths are exponentially greater than any individual strength, and that is what produces the success.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures.” - Proverbs 19:21
Part of the C12 philosophy is that business done right should thrive, and there is no better guide for doing business right than the Bible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you commend your business to the Lord and try to follow Biblical principles you are going to have financial profits.
“We don’t believe the prosperity Gospel,” says Jacobs. “I think many people believe that if they give their business to God and try every day to live by Biblical principles, have a quiet time, tithe, go to church and do all the things a good Christian should do, that God is going to make things easy for them. That is unrealistic, it doesn’t happen and certainly isn’t a Biblical promise.”
He is quick to add, “We don’t want to imply that just by joining C12 you are going to make a lot of money, or if you give your business to God you’re going to become rich. Life runs in cycles. There is good, and there is bad. There are difficulties that come into every life no matter how obedient you are to God or how righteous you are in living a disciplined life.”
“The way of the fool seems right in his own eyes, but he who listens to advice is wise.” - Proverbs 12:15
The challenge is that during difficult times, economic and otherwise, people are tempted to cheat, cut corners and take responsibility for the business back into their own hands. Buck observed, “Most of us deceive ourselves, and we get into trouble because we don’t seek godly counsel. When we don’t, we rely on our own understanding, intellect and experiences, and we believe that our ideas are good. We believe that we are making good judgments. But in reality, we have an enemy who is called ‘The Deceiver’ and he gets us to lie to ourselves and deceive ourselves.”
To battle the power of self-deception, C12 provides a built-in accountability group. But accountability is only a piece of it, Jacobs says. “Accountability needs to be coupled with transparency and authenticity to be really powerful. In the book of Proverbs, there are twenty-two exhortations that give advice in wise and godly counsel. To benefit from a group, it needs to be a small group of like-minded people that you can trust. It can be C12, a church small group or any format really, but it has to be grounded in authenticity and transparency. You can be in a C12 group and play games and stay on the surface and never really reveal yourself. If you fail to be honest with the group, you lose the benefit of accountability. True accountability can only happen in honesty and trust.”
“As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” - Proverbs 27:17
The C12 Group provides the forum and format for open, honest and Christ-like discussion to sharpen a leader’s decision making and strengthen his or her faithfulness to God. The forum also supports a greater business purpose—to glorify and honor God and to be a witness in the marketplace. Jacobs says, “Some of our greatest opportunities are when things get tough, and we don’t cave and do what the secular world would have us do. We can be a witness in good times and in bad times, but probably the most effective and powerful testimonies are what we display during trial.”
“The eyes of the Lord safeguard knowledge, but he defeats the projects of the faithless.” - Proverbs 22:12
Another benefit of seeking godly counsel is the encouragement needed to stay the course and remain faithful. Jacobs observed that, “One of the difficulties people have when things get tough is thinking that they’ve done something wrong, or they’ve been disobedient to God, and God is punishing them. The temptation is to think ‘I’m having this problem, because I’ve done something wrong.’ In reality, what God looks for is faithfulness. He looks for people who will give their hearts totally to Him. Then, He provides all they need to do all He asks.”
“Those who love me I also love, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.” - Proverbs 8:17-18
The movie “Chariots of Fire,” depicts the story of Eric Liddell, a British Olympic athlete who refused to run his best event—the 100-meter race—in the Paris Olympics, because it was scheduled on a Sunday. Instead he trained for the 400-meter, a race in which his performance up to that point was modest by international standards. Just before the 400-meter race, an American runner, Jackson Scholz, gave him a piece of paper with the quote from 1 Samuel 2:30. “I will honor those who honor me.” Liddell won that 400-meter race and broke the Olympic and the world records.
Comparing C12 results to Eric Liddell, Jacobs reflected, “I think that when you look at the success we typically see, that is the reason. God honors those who honor Him. If God has called you to be in the business, and if you dedicate the business to God and follow God’s lead, then no power in heaven or on earth that can knock you out of business.”