“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
(1 Timothy [6:17]-19)
At PAX Financial, our mission statement is infused into everything that we do. Even though this may have caused some backlash over the years given we are outspoken in our beliefs, it is clear now more than ever that it is crucial to keep our mission at the heart of our actions in order to be of service to clients in the best possible way.
In this episode of Retire in Texas, this subject is highlighted. Key topics shared include:
-The thoughtful reasoning as to why the scripture 1 Timothy [6:17]-19 is integral to the PAX Financial mission statement.
-Perspective from CEO Darryl Lyons as to why he once felt the need to shy away from speaking his beliefs when under the public eye.
-How Judeo-Christian values have enabled PAX to truly be a firm that puts our clients’ best interests at heart, every single time.
-A breakdown of the three chapters of the PAX journey to becoming comfortable saying that we are fiduciaries who honor Judeo-Christian values.
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Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and Co-Founder of PAX Financial Group. Thanks for tuning in today. Remember, this information is general in nature only. It’s not intended to provide specific tax, investment, or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. Thanks for tuning in. I’m really encouraged by this show because it’s a response to some questions I have been getting lately regarding the makeup, the Judeo-Christian makeup of PAX.
So, I’m going to unpack that story a bit today and I believe you’ll find application either in your business or in your life that’s worth replicating. Or maybe we can be a model or an inspiration regardless. I think after this show you’ll understand how we arrive at a place where we express our faith openly. The first question is, Are you a Christian business?
It just reminds me like when everyone was asking the band, the nineties grunge band, Creed. Are you a Christian band? And I feel like I’m getting kind of that same question. Are you a Christian business? And our business is a limited liability company. It doesn’t have a soul. Salvation isn’t an option for a limited liability company. So, to say we’re Christian business, I scratch my head.
In fact, I could even tell you with a degree of certainty that, you know, not everyone at PAX is a Christian. So, what are we? We are a firm that’s a group of fiduciaries. A fiduciary is an organization that puts the client’s interest above theirs. And here’s the key element who honored Judeo-Christian values. So, we’re group the company, we’re fiduciaries, who honor Judeo-Christian values, and externally you’ll see that on a lot of our content.
But internally we actually have a mission statement. A mission statement is important not only for an organization, but oftentimes for families. I have my own personal mission statement, but our company mission statement defies academic and textbook. Even my own content and formalities of how you develop a mission statement. Ours defies that. Here’s our internal mission statement. It’s hard to express on all of our website content, so we just express it internally and it guides us in our decision making.
And here it is. Our internal mission statement is we exist to first Timothy [6:17] through 19. I know it’s kind of a head scratcher. We exist to first Timothy [6:17] through 19, so I’m going to read that for you. And first, Timothy is a New Testament book and uh, we’re in chapter [6:17] through 19. Here it is.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
And that is our calling at PAX Financial Group. But it didn’t start there in 2007. In fact, not at all. I had grown up in a Christian environment, um, read the Bible and very, very much attracted to the relationship with my Creator, but really repulsed by the plumber that put a fish on a card only to kind of screw the little old lady.
You know what I mean? And we talk about, like, businesses doing that, all of the time, putting a fish on a card or putting a fish on your bumper and then flipping the guy off because he passed you, you know, that kind of stuff repulsed me. So, the idea of actually transforming our organization to reflect Judeo-Christian values was just something I was not interested in even adopting.
Fact He goes a level deeper. If we look at even the Ten Commandments, we look at the third commandment says, do not use the Lord’s name in vain. And oftentimes we think of that as “G-D” in a Bruce Willis movie when he stubs his toe. But it’s really much more than that, if you think about it, using the Lord’s name in vain, which can be expressed, you can see it throughout the Word of God is even much more beyond using his name in vain in a movie, or when you stub your toe, it’s using it in the context for your own selfish ambition.
So, when you use God’s name for your own selfish ambition to make money, that’s the very essence of using the Lord’s name in vain. And I don’t want to be on the wrong side of our Creator. And so, expressing who we are in our faith for our own selfish ambition is very dangerous territory. It’s very dangerous territory for me.
It’s one that every day I have a degree of fear if I’m doing it sincerely or not. And that’s a healthy fear. I never want to leave because I don’t want to use the Lord’s name in vain. So how did we get here? So how do we get to the place where now, you know, if I was so repulsed from the plumber with the fish on his card said today, we fiduciaries who honor Judeo-Christian values.
How did this come about? Well, there’s three events that I want to mention. Let’s call them chapters in our story. And there’s many more to be written, but three chapters, I think, that are worth unpacking briefly. And each of them have a lesson that I’ve learned one years ago, and I’ve talked about this a little bit in the first book, Small Business, Big Pressure, The Relationship that Joseph Schuetze, our Co-Founder and I have with a guy named Bill Loveless out of Bernie, who has a ministry called Crisis Life Ministry.
And Bill had walked alongside us to help us unpack some of the realities of the Word of God that weren’t really expressed in the pulpit, that were kind of lost on us. And we unpacked it in such a way that it was just like the light bulb went on. And so, Joseph and I just really started living this thing out, this content that Bill was kind of sharing with us again, straight from the Word of God, but just was never heard.
We never heard this from the church. We started living this out and really started transforming the way we thought and even behaved. And so, I wrote a book on how to run a business. Joseph read the book and says, hey, you, you kind of mentioned your faith in this book, but I know your faith is much deeper than what you expressed in this book, and that really pained me.
And I appreciate Joseph for painting me that way because I hadn’t expressed in the book my faith in the way that I really believe. And so, I rewrote the book to be courageously vulnerable. But I couldn’t help but hear this song in my head by DC Talk. It’s an old nineties band, I reference 90s bands a lot because I like them.
And there’s this one Christian band called DC Talk and he mentions What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose myself and make a fool of us all? That’s the song. What If I stumble? And so that was in my head, and I said, okay, if I write this book and I put my faith in there, how I really believe and how I really live.
What if I stumble? What if I’m a hypocrite? That really, you know, that really bothered me, but I did it anyways. And I think the idea was I think I got to the point was like will perfection ever exist in my life to where I’ll get comfortable writing a book that expresses my faith.
I’ll never meet this place of perfection. So, in the midst of my hypocrisy and my broken nature, I’m going to write a book that just kind of is courageous and courageously vulnerable, like Brené Brown might say. So, I went ahead and wrote it. And so, I think the first lesson there for us was, hey, look, even in the midst of our hypocrisy and our imperfections, leaning into our faith.
So that was the first chapter. The second chapter was there’s this guy in our community that was I was competing with him in the marketplace and then losing business and that’s fine. You know, if we don’t have a competitive product, then I just have to figure out a way around that. And we work hard to create competitive products.
But this guy, I was losing business to him and that was really frustrating. But things weren’t matching up in my head either, because if I’m losing business to somebody, I’m stalking you. I’m like learning. I’m like, okay, what’s going on with this guy or girl, what product are they using or what marketing tool? And so, I’m looking everywhere, and things were not adding up.
I don’t know. God gave me a little bit of an ability to maybe you call it discernment where it maybe it’s a sniff test. But if somebody is in the marketplace, specifically in the financial marketplace and there’s some disconnects, I’ll sniff it out really quick. And I’ve caught like six or seven con artists over my years just sniffing them out.
Well, this guy was a con artist, a complete sham, and he was using the church to get in front of people with money. And it was disgusting. It was using the Lord’s name in vain. And I have clients today that were refugees from him that have permanently lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And these are good people who sacrificed time and money to squirrel money away over their lives, only to see it be swindled away by some crook that came through the church.
It’s disgusting and it still bothers me today. And even this year I found one and my team knows I kind of went into a rage. It wasn’t pretty Jesus like, and I ended up getting the guy fired because I will not tolerate somebody coming within the church using the Lord’s name in vain like that, stealing from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I just won’t do it. So, the case was one of the early ones that I had come across. And when those clients started coming to us after he was indicted, I recognize I’ve got to start putting ourselves out in front of the Christian community as a resource, not only because I want to protect these really good people, but frankly I enjoy working with them.
The values connect when we talk about giving and we wrestle with theology, I just enjoy that commonality. So not only did we at PAX started saying, okay, let’s start making ourselves known in this community as a resource and being okay with it. Let’s have fun and enjoy leaning into it. So that was our second chapter is where we started saying, okay, let’s let the community know that we’re available and not hide anymore.
And then the third one was tough. Again, I just really messed up here because we had something called the Giving Challenge. You can look these up on YouTube. There’s two videos, one of which was done several years ago. But the premise behind it is we gave our employees some money for them in turn to give to a nonprofit of their choice.
And we videoed this experience and it was a fun experience. It was inspiring and it gave some great organizations some publicity. So, we loved it. And the first one I did, we did collectively. I was very open and vocal about our faith in that video, and I did it authentically. There wasn’t any need to kind of profess to make a point.
I was just talking and somehow, I expressed my faith. I watched it again. I was like, Yeah, I express my faith. I didn’t plan on it, but it worked out that way. I had one of my clients come up to me. She goes, Man, I love that video, but, you know, it’s kind of little too religious. I was like, oh yeah, I don’t want to.
I did. I thought about that. I don’t want to offend people. God, forbid I offend people. So, I was like, okay, we’ll do another we did another video like the next year, the year after, and I did and I was like, okay, I’ll make sure I don’t offend people, so let me make sure I don’t share the God thing in this video.
And I know some of you guys like really? You did that early. Yes, I did that. I did. I went ahead and I created a video and, I guess I got kind of canceled, so to speak. I decided not to express my faith in that video because I had pushback because I was too religious.
And I camped on that a lot. And I was like, you know, you read Revelation. It says, you know, you need to be hot or cold, but if you’re lukewarm, I’m going to spit you out. And so, I’m reading the word of God. I’m like, man, I was totally lukewarm, maybe even cold. I don’t know. But I was just completely appalled by that behavior.
And so that was, you know, just a third chapter saying, you know what, I’m going to have to be okay, not pleasing everyone and, you know, just being a person that appreciates being like just like everyone else, you just have to get over that and realize that, you know, if everyone likes you, then you were just lying somewhere.
And that was a big step in the chapter of our journey at PAX. And so those are three chapters of who knows how many more stories or more chapters that will be told in this story of PAX. But that’s how we’ve gotten to this place where we became comfortable saying we are fiduciaries who honored Judeo-Christian values and our mission is to execute 1 Timothy [6:17] – 19, and I am sure that will stumble.
I’m sure that will fall. I’m sure that will make mistakes but will continue to lean into being a financial home. For those who are looking for a firm, an organization, and a group of people who honor Judeo-Christian values. So, thank you again for tuning in today. I hope that helps express our heart where we’re going. And I want to remind you, as always, you think different when you think long term.
Have a great day.