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I am an Amway baby. My grandparents, Doyce and Nadine Dodd, went Diamond in 1979, back in Amway’s heyday, when you stocked SA8, Nutrilite bars, and Artistry products in your own garage and chatted casually with downline every week when they came to pick it up.

It was cool!

A single-digit kid at the time, I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of what my grandparents were trying to accomplish, but I admired their passion and ability to see and move with confidence and unrelenting commitment toward a vision they believed in, but had not yet experienced.

Fascinated, I watched them conduct business and interact with people. Closely. If pressed, I could probably still “draw the circles” and explain PV and BV if you’re interested!

Always charming, always kind, my grandparents made me proud and taught me much about serving others, working hard, and dreaming big.

Why bring this up now? Well, judging by the number of business-related posts and messages filling my social media feed and inbox these days, the waters of network marketing are currently at flood stage, and the current is strong, making it that much more important for followers of Christ to stand out from the crowd by navigating them with discernment and integrity.

That being the case, this seems like the perfect time to pass along just a bit of what I learned from watching my grandparents way back when and what I continue to see in so many of my friends in network marketing today.

1. Maintain your eternal focus.

Network marketing is unique in that it requires those who participate to leverage personal connections and relationships for business growth, a sensitive dynamic with great potential for misunderstanding and hurt feelings. Be careful! Remember, God has bigger plans for the connections and relationships he’s given you than a simple business partnership. More than people need to buy in to your business plan, they need to buy in to the Gospel. Don’t allow your mishandling of the first to prevent the second and don’t sacrifice Gospel presentations for pitch sessions. Your business helps, but Jesus saves!

2. Promote freedom, not materialism.

Remember, Jesus preached eternal peace and security through the cross, not temporary happiness through earthly possessions. When casting vision and/or helping your downline set personal goals, help them focus on freedom, financial AND spiritual, over simple wealth and material gain, looking for and taking every opportunity to verbalize your faith and model biblical stewardship as God blesses your efforts.

Understand, there’s nothing wrong with making money! Like anything else, money is a tool, and, managed according to the guidelines laid out in Scripture, it can be used to further the Kingdom in amazing ways, but it can also easily become a stumbling block. Don’t let it drive you and don’t dangle it like a carrot in front of others. Instead, try to focus on the end goal more than the means.

3. Don’t call your business a ministry unless it actually is.

People are pretty keen. Even if they don’t fully understand the abstract concept of doing something “in Jesus’ name”—which means doing things the way He would as His representative—they can pretty much tell whether or not you actually are and don’t much appreciate your pasting Jesus’ name on something that’s really all about you and your own desires or goals.

Not sure how to label your venture? Examine your motives and method of operation. Do you want and work for people, or do you want and take from people? If it’s the latter, you probably shouldn’t call your business a ministry.

On a related note, friends, please don’t tell people that God told you to do something, gave you a message for them, laid them on your heart, or gave you a burden for their situation if He didn’t. Sometimes, He does, but just because you think something is a good idea, doesn’t necessarily mean that God thinks so. Likewise, just because your business is a part of God’s plan for your life doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a part of God’s plan for every life.

As I see it, doing business “the right way” has less to do with strict adherence to methodology taught at business meetings, trainings, and seminars and more to do with the application of biblical principles of stewardship and servanthood to human interaction.

God can do much through businessmen and women committed to His purposes, and although He made it clear to Todd and me early on that He had other pursuits in mind for us, I have nothing but respect for those of you who are taking full advantage of what you believe to be a God-given opportunity to fund God-given dreams in a God-honoring way through network marketing.

I want you to succeed.

Serve well! Work hard! Dream big! Keep giving God all of the glory, and I will keep cheering you on.