The Center for Christianity in Business at Houston Baptist University is dedicated to challenging and equipping present and future business leaders to integrate biblical values and principles in their personal and professional lives.
The Christian Business Review is an annual publication edited by Center director, Dr. Ernest Liang. The organization is also known for a podcast featuring some of the best in business. The CCB organizes a number of conferences, seminars and networking events each year to help equip business professionals and students to become shrewd stewards, effective leaders and bold witnesses in God’s economy.
Recently, the Center released the book, “Christianity in Business: Applying Biblical Values in the Marketplace,” edited by Ernest P. Liang.
Dr. Ernest Liang, associate professor of Finance, has brought a wealth of experience with him as a leader in HBU’s Archie W. Dunham College of Business. Before he came to HBU a dozen years ago, Liang worked in the business world for more than 25 years. He served as a chief economist, financial planning manager, chief financial officer and director of a corporate finance group for business sectors including retail, travel, energy and finance. His resume includes Montgomery Ward, United Airlines and Halliburton.
He was an investment banker by day and an adjunct professor at a local university when Rita Tauer, HBU associate provost for Academic Operations, called Liang to tell him about a full-time teaching position at HBU. Being a professor wasn’t something that Liang initially had in mind, but he decided to pray about it.
“One of the things that attracted me to HBU is the opportunity to run a center,” he said. “God planted it in my mind to integrate the academic institution’s approach to learning with how we actually practice God’s mandate in our lives. The world of commerce can be dark and cutthroat and merciless, but God has a mandate for every sphere of activity in the universe.”
Liang envisioned a resource by which current and future businesspeople could be equipped with real-world knowledge for carrying out their work with integrity and wisdom. “I’ve been a Christian so long and I’ve seen a lot of things in the business world. I have a lot of anecdotal evidence I can talk about,” Liang said. “If Christians are not equipped to handle what God has placed us into, we’ll be much less effective witnesses for Him. That kind of training is needed for every Christian who is in the business world. I call it ‘lifelong learning experiences’ for Christians.”
Early on, Liang conducted research to see if there was a comparable center or resource; he didn’t locate anything like it in the world. As a full-time faculty member at HBU, Liang began work to establish the center. A matching gift moved generous benefactors to give, and the Center for Christianity in Business began with a $110,000 endowment. From there, Liang formed a Board of Advisors, and the Center began.
In 2019, the reach of the Center is global, with people in 70 countries receiving material. The Center produces resources including a podcast in which experts weigh in on topics ranging from workplace culture to mission work. There have been more than 20,000 downloads of the CCB podcast.
Liang and the Center produce a beautiful annual journal, The Christian Business Review, a top-notch publication featuring bright minds and respected leaders in business. The Review is available in print and online. The CCB offers luncheons three times per year featuring impressive speakers who have carved a niche in the world of business while living their Christian faith.
Additionally, the Center offers a Business Executive Training Certificate Program, conferences and seminars. The content and camaraderie are sought out by many who value it, Liang said. “There’s a huge demand for this kind of thing. We’re always trying to find a way to reach out and inspire,” he said. “We give practical hints and ideas to businesspeople.”
The thing about business is that it is versatile and applicable in every sphere, Liang said, including healthcare, education, law and even ministry. “The world of commerce is basically in every line and fabric of society,” he said. “Uniformly, people are very appreciative of what we do. Many of them walk away with a better understanding of how they can be effective. They’re hungry for this kind of thing.”
Recently, the Center released the book, “Christianity in Business: Applying Biblical Values in the Marketplace.” It contains compelling essays which answer some of the questions that the business environment and culture pose. In 2019, the CCB will offer a series of seminars on topics like human resource management and leadership.
“In business school, you probably learn about negotiation and leadership, but we try to fill in some of the gaps. How do you develop and manage teams for example? How do you become an effective servant leader?” Liang asks. “Our objective is to use God’s resources to build up the body of Christ.” Learn more at HBU.edu/CCB.