Business Unusual: Surrendered to Jesus

Business Unusual: Surrendered to Jesus

Hastings Ford

Minnesota-based Hastings Automotive does things differently than most businesses — especially when it comes to incorporating faith into the workplace.

“I would rather have everyone know where I stand than try to walk a line without sharing the truth,” says Doug Erickson. His strategy is bold: “Tell them the truth and then let them make their own decisions.”

Doug has owned Hastings Automotive for 26 years, but it has been in the last decade that things began to look different in his professional life. After a 24-hour time of solitude with God, he made a decision: “I surrendered my business. I really wanted it to honor God, and I wanted others to grow beside me.”

It was when he determined to make changes in his company that Doug heard about Lead Like Jesus. The first LLJ Encounter took place at Hastings Automotive in April 2010, and most of the employees attended. “We’ve held five more Encounters, and we continue to use the principles of Lead Like Jesus,” Doug says.

It was also through LLJ events that Doug was reintroduced to Randy Strode, who would eventually become Hastings Automotive’s Marketplace Pastor.

“I attended the first Encounter and thought, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for,’” says Randy, who was a pastor and had always been interested in marketplace ministry. During a time of transition in his life, he contacted Doug. By 2012, he was being compensated for building relationships at the dealership and for leading men in Bible studies and prayer meetings — not an average sight at companies in the United States.

“I never saw this in my vision,” says Doug, “but God continues to do His thing. Like the pastor of a church, God has put people under my care.”

Choking up, he adds, “One day I’m going to have to stand before Christ and tell Him what I did while I was here. And if I truly believe what the Bible says, how could I look at the people around me and not want to tell them the truth?”

Lead Like Jesus curriculum is offered to every new employee at Hastings Automotive, but it is not required. Bible studies covering authentic manhood meet regularly, and small groups meet to discuss issues at a deeper level. Building a community of fellowship and spiritual growth is one of Doug’s foremost goals.

“I wish you could walk in here and see what happens,” he says. “We’re watching transformation. When you open the door and let God in, wild and crazy things can happen. Lives can change.”

In a culture where many businesspeople evade criticism by avoiding the line of political correctness, Hastings Automotive does not play it safe.

“I would rather honor God and offend a few than honor a few and offend God,” says Doug. “Jesus is making miracles happen here.”