We talk a lot about faith-based investing, and it’s been our investing focus for the past 25 years. But many Christians are still unfamiliar with the term, so what is faith-based investing?
Simply put, faith-based investing is the process of aligning your investments with your faith values. Among Christian investors sometimes it’s referred to as Biblically Responsible Investing since the faith values that are guiding our investments choices are those set forth in the Bible. Kingdom Advisors says that it’s “Investing that seeks to please and glorify God as an act of worship.”
Becoming a faith-based investor begins with acknowledging some key truths:
First, that God owns everything not just our tithe or giving and we need to honor him in how we invest. There are several Bible passages that make it clear that everything belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 is an example:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Second, as a Believer we are to do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says,
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Everything that we do can be done as an act of worship to glorify God. This applies to investing as surely as it does to every other area of life.
So how do we invest for the glory of God? Since God owns it all, including our investments, we can seek to invest God’s money in things that align with His heart and purposes as revealed in Scripture and trying to avoid things that don’t.
For example, a common theme in Scripture is the preciousness of humans who are created in God’s own image. So, investing in a way that honors God’s care for life might mean seeking companies that are trying to find cures for diseases or have products or services that help people flourish. Conversely, we would seek to avoid investing in things that don’t honor life like companies that make abortifacients or provide abortions.
Today, there are three ways many investors pursue faith-based investing:
- Exclusionary (negative) screens – This is the process of seeking to avoid owning or profiting from companies whose products, services, or business practices oppose our faith values. For the first 20 years of the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement, this was the primary emphasis.
- Positive screens – This is the process of proactively investing in companies that’s seek to use their business and influence as a conduit or platform for blessing. Exemplary companies whose goods and services as well as their business practices themselves, create a positive impact in the world. This is a more recent and exciting development in the BRI movement.
- Corporate engagement – This is the strategy of investing in companies to influence and engage the companies as shareholders. The goal is to proactively engage with companies to influence them to stop harmful business practices or products or to help them grow their positive impact.
Does God care about these details? We would say yes, He does. The Bible indicates we will be held accountable for how we have managed God’s resources (Matthew 25:14-30). The problem is that with investing a lot of people don’t pay attention to or understand the details.
Part of the problem is that the opaque nature of modern investing can make knowing what you really own difficult. Do you know all the companies held in each of your (God’s!) mutual funds or ETFs? Do you know what your advisor or investment manager is investing your (God’s!) money in?
Do your investments align with your faith values? If you’re not sure, today is a great day to find out!
You can have your current advisor run your current holdings through a screening tool. There are several faith-based screening tools available to advisors. While each tool is a little different, they all will give you helpful information to start with.
If your advisor doesn’t provide that service, we’d be glad to help with that ourselves. Request a portfolio screening here.
Once you know the results, you will be equipped with the knowledge of what you ae currently profiting from in your portfolio and you can pray about how God wants you to respond to this new knowledge.
At Beacon Wealth Consultants, faith-based investing is our focus. But each advisor and member of our team started at the same place you are today. We each have our own BRI story of how God showed us a more faithful way to invest His resources.
If you’re ready to begin your own BRI story, give us a call today!