Torch, Spring 1986

I •• I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 10 Another Hartco distinctive is its use of part-time labor. "Our goal is not just to meet increased production needs," explained Hartenstein. "We hire part-time people to meet their special financial needs. It's a way for us to give them money. We hired one Christian woman whose non– Christian husband had died. The hir– ing of the 'unhireable ' is an accepted practice at Hartco ." This gift of work and wages cer– tainly follows the high value God places upon earning a living. "There is nothing better for a man . . . he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I say, that it was from the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:24). " . . .to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:19) . Furthermore, Hartenstein re– ported that one of three people who start as part-time help eventually be– come full-time employees. An additional Hartco practice that separates it from the business norm is its purpose to become debt-free as soon as possible and stay that way . "People debate both sides of this issue ," stated Hartenstein . "But , there are basically two reasons why we feel impressed to lead Hartco out of indebtedness . First, we believe it will honor God . "One Christmas season we needed $28 ,000 to carry us through to the end of the calendar year. Work was slow during these months . Jim, our controller, told me we had paychecks due and not enough cash flow to cover them . The next expected income check would be coming from Canada, but he knew from past ex– perience that it would not arrive on time . Mailed on Wednesday , it was predicted to arrive four to seven days later. So we got together and prayed that God would miraculously bring it in sooner. During the company's Christmas luncheon on Thursday, Jim came in with tears in his eyes and told me the check had arrived . A next day delivery! God just made it hap– pen!" Hartenstein said he could easily have covered the need another way . The bank down the street would have provided them with a short- term loan on Hartenstein ' s signature . "We'd have paid a little interest and then re– paid the loan when the check arrived from Canada in the expected time - this is common business practice . But we would have missed the ex– pression of God ' s mighty power. "A second reason for becoming debt-free, " Hartenstein continued , "is because if nationwide economic hard times should come again , we could take a 40 percent loss in busi– ness and not be concerned about tak– ing care of our people . That' s just plain good stewardship ." Last year the management team started daily Bible study in the morn– ing . Soon some people in the plant expressed a desire to have their own study. Hartenstein eagerly agreed and told everyone who attended to clock in first. "It did cross my mind that we might lose some production time ," Hartenstein remembered. "And the studies were well attended. But God made up for the ' lost' time by increasing the overall productivity of our people. God honors those who honor Him. " Another way that Hartenstein is attempting to meet employees ' needs is through "Breakfast with the Boss." Each month Hartenstein takes three individuals to breakfast where he and the workers talk about Hartco , their work , and their familie s. "My goal is to learn a little more about what' s happening in their Ii ves," he said . Not only does Hartco take care of its employees, it al so ministers to others outside the organi zation . "We have a purchasing agent who is a dy– namic Christian ," according to Hartenstein . "He 's just super with suppliers. John puts a gospel tract in each purchase order. That' s hi s thing, not corporate policy . He feels it's part of his ministry . And when he talks to a supplier, he asks how the person's family is and ifthere is any– thing the Hartco management can pray about." This attitude of Chris– tian love results in excellent supplier relations and opportunities to counsel and pray for others . The Bible supports this kind of concern for others: " . .. ever follow after that which is good , both among yourselves, and to all men" (I Thes– salonians 5:15). "Walk in wisdom towards them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt , that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colos– sians 4:5 ,6). What God has done for Hartco He may not do for someone else in exactly the same way , cautioned Hartenstein . "I want God to use Hartco as an example but I don't want people to think they have to do it just our way to glorify God . It's an indi– vidual thing, even in the corporate situation. Each company has its own fingerprint. God has had to take us through many of these surface acts of stewardship to prepare us for a deeper ministry. It has been like the Israel– ite~ wandering through the wilder– ness . These acts of obedience simply were to prepare Hartco for the cross– ing of our Jordan and the subsequent battles which lie ahead ." Hartco is like many small busi– nesses in this country and yet is distincti ve in its own way . In common with others, it enjoys the freedom to succeed through our free enterprise system . And in an uncom– mon way, it is succeeding according to a set of standards whose source is the Seriptures. Ron Coriell is Di rector of Public Relations at Cedarville College and Managing Editor of TORCH. He is a 1969 graduate of Cedar– ville College and has a graduate degree from Wright State Uni versity.