Brethren Family Businesses

A high proportion of Plymouth Brethren members operate family businesses. They recognise and follow through on their responsibility to provide for their families financially by earning an honest living. This also allows them to serve the community by communicating with and distributing to those in need, as well as contributing to the Church.

Members’ businesses include a diverse range of fields, such as distribution and sales in clothing, architecture, rehabilitation aids, food and manufacturing. Plymouth Brethren members are also involved in the import and resale of hardware for industry, such as welding equipment.

Plymouth Brethren members serve their local community by collectively employing within their businesses thousands of people, many of whom are non-Brethren.

Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in business

Independence from the Church

All businesses owned by Plymouth Brethren operate independently of the Church and do not fund the Church. Likewise the Church does not provide any funding for businesses owned by Plymouth Brethren members. Belonging to the Church does not provide special exemptions, privileges, concessions, tax breaks, etc.

Use of Technologies

It is true that as a rule the Plymouth Brethren generally have been cautious in embracing new technologies brought about through the digital age. The prime concern has been how to use these technologies without any harm to the user. As the ability to do this has developed, tools have been embraced to enable Plymouth Brethren members to operate their businesses effectively, and in full accordance with financial and legal requirements.

Ethics and Transparency

In accordance with the guiding principles of the Church, Brethren are committed to ensuring that their businesses make a positive contribution to the local community, and operate in a completely ethical and transparent manner.

All Plymouth Brethren are required to live a lifestyle that is compatible with Scriptural teaching, one which is based upon key principles of simplicity, humility, and charitable giving.  Plymouth Brethren assist each other to establish businesses and provide sustainable employment in full compliance with all legal obligations.

Plymouth Brethren businesses would typically be considered good corporate citizens.

23 thoughts on “Brethren Family Businesses”

  1. Lou says:

    I am a young brethren employee of our family-owned business. For the past 50 years, our family has run this small, but profitable business, currently employing about 15 brethren, and 10 non brethren. we have employed many more over the years, coming and going (both brethren & non-brethren). Some of the 3rd generation have done tertiary studies in management, accounting & law and the 2nd generation are helping to educate them to continue the business on. Our business has been in no way ‘stunted’ because we are brethren & our relationship with other brethren businesses (both customers & suppliers) does not give either an advantage over their non-brethren competitors. We are honest & open, give good pay & bonuses (even in hard times), train & educate staff, provide good working facilites & operating hours, give to charities such as the Red Cross/RFDS, do our best to serve our customers well and look after our suppliers.
    I am sure you would find this typical of many other brethren businesses, and surely similar to many small family-owned business in the world

  2. James says:

    The brethren are amazing people. If only i could be part of what they are doing.

  3. Gerald says:

    Can brethren work for non-brethren firms?

    1. Uncle Steve says:

      Yup, been there, done that, hope to never do it again but if I had to, I would.

      The trouble is, when at non-brethren companies I ran into an awful lot of shop-wall corruption that I’d say was damaging to me and extremely demeaning to women. As far as I can tell this is pretty widespread in non-brethren industry, so I’m doing what I can to ensure my kids never have work outside the church.

    2. John says:

      Yes, some do, although generally they prefer to work for other brethren and brethren employers feel a responsibility to employ brethren who are out of work, if they can.

  4. Paul says:

    Yes, the brethren owned company I work for has two non-plymouth brethren married women and some others who I think are single mums. When some staff have hit hard times the business has helped them out.

  5. Guy says:

    I work for a small but profitable brethren business in UK. There is 14 staff, 9 non-brethren and 5 brethren. The office staff work in a modern open plan office alongside each other. We are all very happy and the below information shows that brethren accept all types of people, in all types of married status and shows they are just like any other company (except they are a lot more honest and open!!)

    3 non-brethren married women
    3 non-brethren girls with boyfriends
    3 non-brethren married men
    3 brethren married men
    1 single brethren man
    1 single brethren woman

  6. John North says:

    Hi Simon in Australia
    I also work in a PB building business in Hamilton N.Z – on the Friday before Christmas holiday break our boss Peter gave everybody a generous hamper of food products – even to employees who had worked there for 1 month. We have 2 PB ladies at work who are awesome colleagues – even bring in a cake on employees birthdays…Enjoy your day.

  7. Joe says:

    Do married women work?

    1. Tom says:

      Yes, some do.
      Brethren mothers would see their children as their first priority and would normally stay home to care for them but there are many exceptions to this.

    2. Adrian says:

      I work at a place owned by PB and they have two married women working there – one is brethren – actually married to one of the salesman!

    3. Lydia says:

      Yes, I am a member of the brethren – my husband is now severely disabled and we have 3 school-aged children. I am our family’s breadwinner & work 5 days a week from home for a business owned by a member of the PBCC. As a PA to a Product Manager, my job is quite interesting & varied but as with any working mother, it is quite difficult juggling with caring for the children and housework.

    4. Homemaker says:

      Joe, if you’re married, please don’t let your wife see that comment, unless you do all the housework, cooking, cleaning, shopping, ironing, washing, looking after the kids, etc etc etc! 🙂 Bless you, I think you meant do we get paid to work! (And the answer is, yes, some of us do paid work as well as making a home for our families.)

  8. St Peters says:

    Why are people saying you call ex members evil and that you are told to hate the world? Is this true? Doesn’t sound very Christian to me.

    1. Admin says:

      We don’t call ex-members evil because they have left our church. Every person stands on their own merit and responsibility before God. Frankly it is not commonplace for us to go around calling people evil anyhow, publically or privately. Likewise, our hatred of the world is a theological use of the word world, eg John 17 and many other places in Scripture. It does not mean a hatred of men and women in society, you may find the Oxford Dictionery useful in relation to this.

    2. John North says:

      Hi St Peter – don’t bother listening to idle gossip and false rumours….I am an ex member of 35 years who is not evil and I hate the corruption and negative news of today’s world in which we live.
      The P.B have been very Christian, helpful and encouraging to me and I have a work colleague who is an ex member as well.
      Roll on the Rapture and Eternal Life with Jesus – Our Lord and Saviour

    3. John says:

      We don’t call ex-members evil. Some people are evil (think Sandy Hook) but that has nothing to do with being an ex-member, but their own individual actions. For us, the “world” is the world as a system – it’s the same “world” that put Christ on the cross. But even then, He said about the individuals, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” and that’s our approach to individuals. What we are told is to be “delivered from this present evil world” Galatians 1:4. It’s the people that spread those lies that don’t sound very Christian.

  9. Simon says:

    I work for a Plymouth Brethren business in Australia. They employ 17 in total a large proportion of them not part of the church. You could not ask for a better employer!

    1. Paul says:

      Simon,

      That’s great to hear! Little way to go but there’s a chance I could soon end up working for what I was told is an EB business in Victoria (Australia). I have an open mind on most things, conservative on some and more liberal on others, but what appears to be appealing (on face-value anyway) is the fact that under-pinning the operation of the EB business is a sense of family obligation and ethical standards. Having worked for several large corporates I have seen the ugly side – focus on politicking and gaining personal advantage: never sat comfortably with me.

  10. Peterson says:

    It is common knowledge that small business is the backbone of the economies of many Western countries. It seems as though the Plymouth Brethren speciallize in small business (or maybe not always so small) and therefore must make a vital contribution to the economies of the countries in which they live.

    1. Gerald says:

      Do your firms employ non-brethren married women?

    2. Rebecca says:

      Yes they do, I’m Plymouth Brethren and I’ve worked with other non-brethren ladies married, divorced, remarried, and/or separated 🙂
      Singles are employed too, I just haven’t worked personally with any that I can recall. Hope that helps.

    3. Romp says:

      I work near a large manufacturing Brethren business in Australia which i believe employs at least 30 non-brethren employees and 15 Brethren employees. In this large town of 25,000 people there are at least 14 brethren businesses.

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