Monday, March 2, 2015

Take a look at these business you probably had no idea were started by Christians

Brands like Not of This World are popular among the Christian subculture, and it’s hard to miss religious companies with places like Family Christian Stores and Lifeway dotting shopping malls. But did you know some stalwarts of American culture are in fact founded by Christians and continue to operate on those principles to this day? Here, we look at seven corporations that still think to put Jesus first.

#7 Interstate Batteries 

With a corporate chaplain and support staff, Interstate Batteries is known to help employees live a daily work life with Bible study and prayer opportunities. In addition to these daily realities, Interstate partners with Angel Tree to provide gifts to needy families at Christmastime, has a “volunteer month” wherein an employee can use company time for a full day to do charity work, and partners with World Vision for global development opportunities. In supporting specific organizations, the company even has a page on their website dedicated to God’s love. 

#6 Tyson Foods 

One of the largest manufacturing companies in the world, Tyson is the #1 producer of meat in the United States. Not to be distracted by the company’s runaway success in the second half of the twentieth century, the Tyson family – founders of the company and still serving as executives and board members – holds their faith of chief importance. CEO John Tyson re-instituted a chaplain program originally started by his grandfather that provides 120 men of the cloth to workers in Tyson offices and factories. This will for the good of others is part of what spurred Tyson to start their kNOw Hunger campaign in concert with donating literally tons of food every year to America’s poor.

#5 The Anschutz Corporation 

You may have never heard of The Anschutz Corporation, but you’ve no doubt heard about their properties: Regal movie theatres, soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, the Staples Center sports and event arena and such publications as The Weekly Standard. Through these ventures, Philip Anschutz – owner of the private holding company corporation – has supported Christianity and culture over and over again. With The Foundation for a Better Life, Anschutz supports principled living, and with Walden Media has co-produced as well as distributed The Chronicles of Narnia films and Amazing Grace.

#4 Tom’s of Maine 

A darling of the organic movement, Tom’s of Maine has been providing all-natural hygiene and beauty products for over forty years. Founder Tom Chappell attended Harvard Divinity School and earned his Masters in Theology degree. Planning to enter the ministry and give up his business, he was convinced by a professor to view his business as a ministry opportunity. Ever since, Tom’s of Maine has provided grants to education, arts and religions institutions out of their corporate profits, as well as promoted stewardship alongside employee well-being. So important were these values that Chappell – who serves in the Episcopal Church still – insisted that Tom’s of Maine culture and guiding principles be left unchanged when Colgate-Palmolive bought a controlling stake in the company. Tom’s remains an independently operated organization so it can continue to do business on these principles.

#3 Alaska Airlines 

The Seattle-based airline has been known for its expansion and responsible budgeting that kept it out of bankruptcy even after the disastrous events of September 11. Their fairness to employees and customers is almost unparalleled – and it’s all built on Christian principles. In fact, up until February of 2012, any in-flight meal from Alaska Airlines came with a small paper card. It wasn’t anything fancy, but against the breathtaking landscape of their home region in the Pacific Northwest would be printed a verse from the book of Psalms. If a user flipped it over, a prayer of thanks would be available to say before the meal. Though the prayer cards were retired, CEO Bill Ayer emphasized: “This difficult decision was not made lightly […] It’s important that everyone know this decision does not change our core values.”

#2 Forever 21 

Christianity and trendy club fashion aren’t an immediate pairing we think of. But budget-conscious retailer Forever 21 has been doing it since 1984. Founders Do Won and Jin Sook Chang immigrated from Korea in the early 80s, and found much local support in their church and Jesus Himself. As a privately held company, profits still go to the Changs – who in turn have donated millions of dollars to their church and Christian efforts the world over. Lest a weary shopper miss the opportunity, every retail bag is printed with the most famous and succinct explication of the Gospel; it simply reads “John 3:16.”


It’s hard not to love a Double Double with fries, animal style. The fast food favorite of California and Arizona has long been a privately held staple that spurns the opportunity to franchise or take on investors in the name of quality and customer service. But what few know about the burger flippers and cashiers at In-N-Out is that they aren’t like their counterparts at McDonald’s or Wendy’s; In-N-Out, it seems, is committed to paying better than minimum wage in all its operating districts as well as providing benefits to part-time workers. What prompts all this? The Snyder family, founders and still owners of In-N-Out Burger, are deeply Christian – and they show it with Bible verse citations on their packaging.