One spring day in 2013 at The University of Texas at Austin, freshman business majors Tim Nelson and Chris Uhlig were hanging out, sharing thoughts about their first year of college. At one point in the conversation, they both realized that they shared a common concern about the spiritual state of the McCombs School of Business.
It seemed as though many McCombs students were searching for purpose and struggling with inadequacy. These struggles were brought to the surface in a business-like environment revolving around productivity, competition, and high-achievement.
Tim and Chris’ hearts were also burdened by the lack of Christian community within the business school, and they developed a mutual desire to bridge that gap in some way. Little did they know, God was preparing their hearts to start an organization that would give Christians the opportunity to talk about both business and Jesus in the same conversation.
The Birth of CIBO
In the fall of 2014, Christians in Business Organization (CIBO) came to fruition. Their first general meeting packed out a classroom in the University Teaching Center, as 50-60 business students gathered together to be in community for the first time.
“God continued to reaffirm this calling by raising up leaders to join, and gave guidance as to what the organization would look like,” Tim remarks. He and Chris had a vision to “create an organization that was geared towards students who were both passionate about business and passionate about their faith.”
During CIBO’s first year, the primary focus centered on the topic of what “success” looks like in the corporate arena. This year, business leaders are speaking to students about what it means to “work for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Tim points out that “CIBO wants to address the questions that Christians are struggling with about their future careers and life.” Many students are wondering if it’s possible to have a work-life balance while having a family and successful career.
These Tuesday nights are awesome opportunities to hear the perspectives of business leaders that have tried to juggle all of these things themselves.
CIBO has recently been declared a missional community, with more of an outreach focus being incorporated in the months ahead. While the organization focuses on discipleship of Christian business majors, they want to make sure that the environment is welcoming and engaging for nonbelievers as well.
CIBO also wants nonbusiness majors to join, as being a Christian in the workplace is a relevant topic for any Christian in pursuit of a job. In fact, this semester CIBO has seen a variety of majors represented, from the Communication School to Liberal Arts to Engineering.
Looking ahead, CIBO desires to make sure every Christian in McCombs has the opportunity to grow spiritually alongside their peers. They believe that McCombs is not just a place where students come to learn about the stock market, trade practices or brand management, but is an environment where relationships are built and personal growth is nurtured.
CIBO’s hope is that in the McCombs environment, where a pursuit of purpose thrives, the reality would be known that fulfillment, joy, and contentment is found only in Christ. The hope of this reality is being revealed to business students one Tuesday at a time.