Are Brethren businesses owned or controlled by the Church?

Q. I’ve heard it said that brethren businesses are owned and/or controlled by the Church, is this correct?

A. Not at all, all businesses of members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church are owned by private individuals and have no financial, legal or controlling interest by the Church.

24 thoughts on “Are Brethren businesses owned or controlled by the Church?”

  1. Laura M. says:

    I’m a member of the PBCC in Jamaica and yes! Tertiary education is very much encouraged. I am currently doing an online course in small business management and earning money at my job at the same time. AND I do not have to pay as my employer pays for the course! Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Ben says:


    In response to your question,

    “We object to the university campus lifestyle”? Can you explain what that means?

    This means we object to the style of life you would be influenced by if you were to attend a university. Therefore doing post-graduate by distance education preserves you from defiling influences which would our purity.

    Trust that helps

  3. Dave says:

    Hi There,
    I just have a question about consuming food in front of a Brethren member, some time ago I was offered a cup of tea at a business who were Brethren which was very nice if them, then the chap said you understand that I can’t have one with you, I said that’s okay don’t worry about it then and we completed our dealings and I left. Can you tell me that IF I had accepted the drink would I have been left alone while I drank it OR would the Brethren chap been able to stay in the same room with me? I mention this now because I noticed a Brethren lady in a supermarket drinking a coffee today. Thanks Dave

    1. josie says:

      There is no problem at all with eating/drinking if front of/in the same room as a brethren member-we just don’t sit down and have fellowship with those with whom we don’t take part of the Lord’s Supper with. You would have been very welcome to still carry on business had you accepted the cup of tea.
      Hope this helps!

    2. granny says:

      Dave, the answer is fairly simple. Eating or drinking “in the presence of” or “alongside” someone is not a problem, whoever is doing the eating or drinking. We just don’t eat or drink “with” someone as we regard that as having “fellowship” with them.
      Hope this helps

  4. Phil says:

    Hello Lewis

    One is very thankful to be a member of the PBCC. Prior to leaving school I was encouraged to do some further studies. As I had selected Accounting as an elective subject in Year 12, I chose to take that further.

    I commenced Advanced Accounting Certificates Stages 1 & 2 through a TAFE (Training and Further Education) Institute. The course duration was approx. 4 years and was very involved with 34 different units.

    Since then I have since gone on to complete the following:
    • Advanced Diploma of Accounting
    • Diploma of Financial Services
    • TIA (Tax Institute of Australia) Foundation Tax Certificate
    • TIA Applied Tax Certificate
    • TIA Diploma of Australian Taxation Law

    Throughout the completion of these courses, I have had good full time employment since leaving school. This enabled me still save up and purchase my first house at 22 years of age.

    Currently I am studying the ‘Diploma of Management ‘. This course is fully paid for by my current employer who is also a member of the PBCC.
    Therefore I can certainly confirm, that not only is Tertiary education allowed, it is also very much encouraged within the community.

  5. Auline says:

    In response to Anonymouses question regarding University Campus Lifestyle – I would think that most true Christians of any denomination – would actually agree with this view! Universities are almost without exception, hotbeds of sexual depravity, anti-Christian humanism and unsuitable for young people who believe in upholding right moral principles – chastity, purity, holiness – are they practiced ‘on campus’? I don’t need to go to University to find out! And I can get a degree by correspondence from the safety of my workplace or home, without being subjected to drugs and depravity! That’s the short answer – would be interested to hear what John has to say.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I think most Christians would agree that Universities do not promote Christian thinking and views and there are many things within university life that are contrary to the gospel. HOWEVER, that does not mean that God is not at work within universities and colleges, it does not mean that the students are beyond redemption. Christian unions around the country do a fantastic job in encouraging Christians to live a life worthy of the call, and in reaching out to other students who have never heard the gospel. For many people university is where they really entrench their faith because they are faced with many different lifestyles and temptations. Yet they say “I choose Jesus” and they follow him, demonstrating that life can be different. They bring the light of Jesus where they go, and their friends see the difference. Doesn’t the Bible ask us how they will hear if no-one tells them? You assume that the darkness will always overcome the light but I say this is not the case. The light can shine and overcome the darkness. Our God is not weak, unable to break through. There is no-one beyond His reach.

      Your answer says play it safe, keep away… but being in the environment does not mean that you fall into the temptation. Remember Gods grace is sufficient – when I am weak, then I am strong. I know personally many current students at Universities who have been involved in missions reaching out to their friends and coursemates. They love God and they are desperate for their friends to be saved. They see the other lifestyle and they say “I choose Gods way” because it is the best way. Their friends see an alternative, they are the salt and light in that place. Do not be too quick to judge what is going on at Universities.

    2. jo says:

      Hello Anonymous
      I see what you mean about God working in Universities & am very thankful that he is there with many young people. But like you say, “Universities do not promote Christian thinking” and you also admit that the temptation of evil is rampant in the university environment.
      Does the bible not say “enter not into temptation” ??
      We can get the same level of education as those at uni without going there so…..we do not see the need to go!!

    3. John says:

      Anonymous, Since you are responding to my comment let me respond to yours. I wholeheartedly agree that there are many real and genuine Christians in universities and we would not “un-Christianize” any of them. As you say, many people undoubtedly entrench their faith by having to stand against the temptations that are there. The work they are doing in spreading the gospel and bringing people to Christ is valuable.

      Unfortunately, I’m sure you would also agree that that there are many others that find themselves unable to stand against those temptations and fall into various sad situations, some of which they are unable to ever extract themselves from. How many such casualties is an acceptable level? I think you would understand that my answer is, none.

      The Lord’s Prayer is “Lead us not into temptation”. How could we make that prayer and at the same time choose to go to places where the temptations are common knowledge?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am a PBCC member and completed ACCA Accountancy qualifications in the early 1990’s. So 20 years ago Tertiary Studies was a definate yes for me. i hope that helps

  7. Anonymous says:

    As a PBCC member I went to a basic Secondary state school which didn’t exactly push us forward. Now after several years of work, largely book-keeping , I am now working towards getting an academic acheivement to support my experience, with support from my PBCC employers financally and otherwise. I have NO DEBTS, unlike my work collegue (similar age) who went to university, has massive debts other than her government loan, and now does not use her degree for her current work. It raises a serious question as to whether university education is a financially viable option.

  8. Michael says:

    If the church did own businesses what would be the problem? Free world isnt it? Other churches own businesses.

  9. Eleanor says:

    What has the church got to do with your busineses???

    1. Andreas says:

      It’s a common misconception that there is a connection between the Church and our businesses – that’s not true it is totally the responsibility of the householder to provide for his family.

    2. Anonymous says:

      NOTHING!!!! 🙂

  10. Lewis says:

    Q. Is it true that brethren are not allowed to do tertiary education?

    1. Admin says:

      Tertiary education is encouraged, refer to

    2. Steve Fossey says:

      No, not at all. I am in fellowship with the Brethren in Canada and finished high school in 1993 and joined a family business. That didn’t work out and I was encouraged to go back to school, which I did.

    3. Heather says:

      Hello Lewis –
      Just for example, I’m a Brethren student graduating in about 6 months and my hopeful future employer is already planning on me taking courses in Accounting, EA, and Law… better than college, I think!

    4. John says:

      We object to the university campus lifestyle. Many post-secondary students take tertiary programs via distance learning – correspondence or online.

    5. Anonymous says:

      “We object to the university campus lifestyle”? Can you explain what that means?

    6. IT says:

      Hello Lewis i am 24 years old, been a member of the PBCC all my life, was positively encouraged to pursue my desired profession upon leaving school, and have just qualified as an Interior Designer – does this help at all??

    7. Mary says:

      No, Lewis, it’s not true! I was encouraged to take a full-time secretarial course after I left school in 1981, which led to a fulfilling job as secretary to two managers at the same time. Now two of my children, aged 27 and 19, are both in well-paid full-time jobs while studying for professional qualifications. This means they’re able to save for the future as well as contributing to the economy, instead of running up debts they won’t have a hope of repaying in years. My 19 year old’s customers seem to take it for granted that he’s been to a top university, so he’s obviously not missed anything!

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