May 3, 2023

Uniting For Impact – Salt and Light In Business – with Shannon O. Royce – [Ep. 167]

Uniting For Impact – Salt and Light In Business – with Shannon O. Royce – [Ep. 167]

Running a business in today’s culture is often challenging, especially if you are determined to do so while honoring your faith and moral convictions. Pressures to comply with mandates that contradict your faith can be overwhelming. How can...

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Running a business in today’s culture is often challenging, especially if you are determined to do so while honoring your faith and moral convictions. Pressures to comply with mandates that contradict your faith can be overwhelming. How can Christian business leaders and faith-driven entrepreneurs fully serve customers and employees while maintaining a commitment to honor God with their business? Linda introduces listeners to Christian Employers Alliance (CEA), an organization of business owners and leaders who boldly stand for Biblical values on Capitol Hill and in their local communities. Linda’s guest, Shannon Royce, shares the many ways CEA works to unite, equip, and represent Christian business owners to protect religious freedom and provide opportunities to flourish. As we unite, we truly can be salt and light in business, which will impact the world for Christ and bless our employees and others. Listen today to learn how you can participate in this important organization.

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Linda J. Hansen:  Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen, your host and the author of Prosperity 101- Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of the Breakroom Economics Online course, the book, the course and the entire podcast library can be found on Prosperity101.Com. I seek to connect boardroom to break room and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement and retention, and an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit Prosperity 101.Com.

Thank you so much for joining with me today. If you listen often, you know I regularly highlight issues, individuals and organizations that will help to educate, empower and equip you to stand for freedom. Whether you are an employer, employee or solopreneur, it is important for all of us to understand current assaults to our liberties and what we can do to protect our families, businesses and communities. Cancel culture and what is often referred to as law-fare has impacted thousands of individuals and businesses across America. What can a business owner do to protect themselves as they seek to live out their faith and not compromise their values? Today I'm introducing you to one of my favorite organizations, Christian Employers Alliance, or CEA. While I applaud all Marketplace Ministry organizations, I firmly believe CEA is a much needed Center Point to complement and support other Christian organizations and the work of other ministries. Here with me today to discuss this is Shannon Royce.

Shannon brings a wealth of experience to her role as President of Christian Employers Alliance. Her professional background includes government and private sector experience, and her personal faith in Christ compels her to honor God as she serves the Christian business community. She has worked in government on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration in the Department of Health and Human Services. In the private sector, she led the DC office of the Southern Baptist Convention and she also served as Chief of Staff and COO at the Family Research Council. Shannon is a cancer survivor and understands the challenges of serving a family member with special needs, advocating in her community to ensure that families with special needs have the supports they need to thrive. I found Shannon to be a wonderful leader, an inspirational woman, and I'm a proud member of CEA. I've done some consulting and writing for the organization and through that have become very good friends with Shannon. It's an honor and a blessing to have her with us today. On this podcast. Thank you, Shannon, so much for joining with us.

Shannon O. Royce: It's a joy to be with you, Linda. Thank you so much for having me.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, we've been trying to get this scheduled for quite a while. I'm glad it is finally happening, and I am so excited to let the listeners know about Christian Employers Alliance. I have mentioned the organization many times on the podcast, and I've encouraged people to check it out and become a member, but I look forward to providing them with more details today. So could you explain the mission of Christian Employers Alliance?

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely. So our mission really is twofold, and it's the core of who we are as believers living out our faith in the workplace. Our mission is to unite, equip, and represent Christian owned businesses to protect religious freedom and to provide opportunities for employees, businesses, and communities to flourish. So if you break down that mission statement, Linda, it really breaks down into two unique callings that we have as believers in the marketplace. The first is that Matthew 5:5 like calling to protect religious freedom, unite, equip, and represent Christian businesses to protect religious freedom. That's sort of the head part of our mission, right? That's what we do in the thinking space, the policy space, the legal space. That's the first part, the head part of our mission. But why do we do that? We do that because of the second part of our mission, which is that John 10: 10 calling and live our lives abundantly and help other people to do the same. And that plays out in that part of our mission statement that says to provide opportunities for employees, businesses, and communities to flourish. When we are living within the mission of CEA, we are protecting religious freedom in order for Christian business owners to be able to flourish and help other people to do the same.

Linda J. Hansen: I just appreciate the mission so much, and I applaud it. And can you give some examples of how the work of Christian Employers Alliance has really, truly helped some businesses to flourish when they otherwise might not have due to the cancel culture or law-fare that I earlier described?

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely so. We were founded around that, the issue of Christian business owners who out of a sense of deep conviction, did not want to pay for abortion and abortion inducing drugs in their health care. You probably remember the Hobby Lobby case that came down many years ago. After the Hobby Lobby case came down, the Obama administration decided, okay, well, we'll just create what they called an accommodation. So it would be a backdoor way of still covering contraceptives, some of which were abortive patient in nature. And this small group of business owners came together and said, we're not doing that. We're not paying front door, back door, side door. We are not going to pay for abortion and abortion inducing drugs through our employee health care. It violates our conscience and we're not willing to do that. And so they filed a lawsuit, and we won that lawsuit in May of 2019 that says that any present or future member of Christian Employers Alliance does not have to have abortion or abortion inducing drugs in their health care, no matter who their health care is with. They don't have to have that as a part of their health care.

Most recently, about a year ago, we filed a very similar lawsuit addressing the issue of transgender health care. And probably many of your listeners do not realize this, Linda, but the EEOC currently says if you are an employer with more than 15 employees so not the tiniest employers, but those more than 15 employee companies, they're required to pay for transgender services, from counseling to hormones, all the way to life altering physical surgeries. They're required to pay for that in their healthcare plan and if they don't, it's deemed discrimination. And so we filed a lawsuit on that as well that said, it is a violation of Christian conscience to cover transgender services in healthcare because our employers believe what the Bible teaches, that God created them, male and female, and they don't believe that gender is fluid.

Linda J. Hansen: This is so inspirational in the fact that these employers took a stand and decided to stand up for what they believe in, what their convictions are, and they found a way to do so. They're not discriminating in the sense that they're telling people they can't do those other things if they choose to. They're just saying they're not going to pay for it. And I think that's a wonderful way to provide freedom for employers who really have these firmly held beliefs. And can you give some examples of how these laws have impacted some businesses in America? I know we have talked in the past about some businesses who were not members of CEA. You may not need to list the exact business, but I mean some examples of how these businesses were impacted and what the difference would have been had they been a member of CEA.

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely. Unfortunately, it happened very recently, Linda. We had a new member join in January, and they came to learn about CEA from the law firm representing them. One of our partners of CEA, First Liberty Institute, based in Texas, pro bono religious freedom law Firm and First Liberty told this company about CEA and the protections that we provide to our members. But unfortunately, it came a month after an employee filed a complaint against the company because this employee was experiencing feelings of gender dysphoria and wanted to transition to the opposite sex. And this Christian owned business did not want to cover that, saw that as a violation of their conscience. So they came to CEA and joined CEA, but unfortunately, they already had a complaint filed against them on this very issue. So we encourage people to join CEA before they have that kind of complaint filed against them because if they are a member of CEA, they would be protected in those kinds of way.

Linda J. Hansen: I have tried to explain to people that CEA is like an umbrella. I feel like it is an umbrella that can protect business owners from the storms of the culture that as these pronoun cases. If you use the wrong pronoun, you can be sued. If you don't want to pay for transgender surgery, you can be sued. If you don't want to pay for abortions, you can be sued. All these different things that are so detrimental to conducting business and making a steady bottom line income. Not only that, the stress it puts on families and individuals and the press, it is just a horrible experience for anyone to go through. So listeners out there, I really encourage you to go to and go read everything in there. You can read about these lawsuits. You can read about all the work they're doing behind the scenes to be proactive, we don't want to be reactive as believers or as business owners. We want to be proactive and we want to share the love of Christ. We want to do business ethically. We want to add value to our employers, employees, anybody that we're involved with and in our communities. But we need to be able to live out our faith and follow through on our convictions to do so. And many of these businesses are Christ centered businesses, not just in the way that they operate, but they may be a Christian bookstore or they may be a Christian apparel industry or something. So it's even more than just the business itself, but it is so much about the testimony of Christ. Yes. And so what do you find is the biggest challenge in helping people to understand the importance of CEA and why their membership would be so valuable to them?

Shannon O. Royce: One of the unique challenges that I think we have, Linda, in trying to help Christian business owners understand the importance of CEA is that they're busy running their businesses. Right? They are running their businesses. They are loving their families. They are involved in their communities and their churches. They're doing lots of good things. And I think the reality is, as they're busy doing all of those good things, they're not really thinking about the kind of threats that you and I think about on a daily basis because we sort of more live in this space. But even if they are thinking about it and aware of it, I think the reality is they sort of see it like being struck by lightning. Is it conceivable I could be struck by lightning when I'm out on my run this morning? Yeah, that's possible. But do I really believe I'm going to be struck by lightning? No, I don't think so. I think I'm going to go run in the rain anyway. Right. And I think sometimes there's the group of folks who are just so busy living their lives and running their businesses, they're not paying attention to these kind of issues. As one group, to those folks, I say just pay attention just a little bit. I'm not asking you to stop all the good things you're doing. I'm asking you to add one small thing that is the salt and light part of your Christian faith. That's what we're calling you to today. And then to that second group of folks, those who think, yeah, I know about it, but I really don't feel at risk. I would just remind them that neither did that sweet Christian family who joined CEA in January, who've had a complaint filed against them in December. They didn't think it was going to happen either, and it did. And so our dues are crazy reasonable. Linda, as you know, the low end is only $600 a year if you have less than 50 employees, and the high end is $4,500 a year if you have more than 400 employees. So that span from 600 to 4500, depending on your number of employees, is really reasonable and would be a whole lot less than you would pay an attorney to protect you in these kind of circumstances.

Linda J. Hansen: Absolutely. It's a small price to pay. And in addition to just the kind of safety net, the umbrella, like I mentioned, the opportunity for fellowship, for Education, for Empowerment is incredible. Listeners, I encourage you to check out CEA Christian Employers Alliance and then sign up to receive the weekly emails because Shannon puts out an incredible weekly email. As business owners, you're busy. It's like Shannon mentioned. You've got your business, you've got your family, you've got extended family, you've got.

Shannon O. Royce: Pets, you've got coaching, you've got your church, your community.

Linda J. Hansen: Yeah, you've got life. You've got life. And your day to day is not filled with keeping up on all of the details of what's happening in our society as assaults on Christian leaders, Christian business owners and individuals. So it's so important for you to just take a few minutes each week, read through the articles, especially the issues that interest you. And she always includes so many articles and things that are a great resource for you. You can't possibly read them all through in one sitting, but there may be issues that interest you, but I highly recommend reading through a cross section of everything there, because then you can kind of get that 360 degree understanding of what is really happening in our culture. And as we're looking at the push to One World government, we're looking at the push for a cashless society, the digital currency. We're looking at all these energy mandates and things. I mean, they just want to control our lives so much. So that's one piece of it. But a real core of this is controlling our speech, controlling our faith, controlling how we can live out our faith and our purpose here. And that's where I think CEA comes in and so much if we can live out our faith and speak truth, beautiful things happen because people begin to understand truth and they begin to see things with more open eyes. And as Christians, we can do so and still love on everybody. We can still love everybody who has a different opinion or a different lifestyle. We can still employ them, we can still support them in so many ways. However, doing so should never have to conflict with our own commitment to Jesus Christ or our own faith and convictions. So I so thankful for what CEA does to help people understand how to walk that out.

Shannon O. Royce: Right. Thank you so much, Linda, and you articulate that so beautifully. That is the reality. We are encouraging people to simply live out their faith through love and good deed. Right. It's both. It's speaking that truth in love and doing the good deeds in their businesses and in their communities. So many of our businesses are the kinds of businesses that really care well for their employees. They do the health care, they do the kinds of supportive services, and they have chaplains involved with their employees. There are so many things that they do to live out their faith in everyday life. And we just would welcome your listeners to come and explore CEA and see if we might be of service to them as well.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, I'm confident that so many of my listeners would love CEA. Now, there's another event coming up, the CEA Summit, which is this fall. I'd love for you to tell the listeners about the CEA Summit. And listeners, I'll be there, Shannon will be there. There'll be some really great speakers and opportunities to network and get to know other leaders, other Christian business leaders who are walking this out in their daily lives, in their business, they're supporting one another. And you can hear testimonies of people who've been helped through CEA. So when is the CEA Summit and how can people find the details?

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely. So our fall summit is September 28 and 29th at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. That's a Thursday -Friday. We specifically planned it that way so that if you want to bring your family and stay the weekend and spend a couple of days visiting around the beauty and the history of Washington DC, you can do that. The September 28 and 29th, it is a great opportunity to interface with other members and prospects of CEA. So we always encourage this is not for members only. It's also for those who are exploring the idea of membership. And we always have a handful of folks who join immediately after coming to the summit because it really encourages people. So, as Linda mentioned, you'll get a good cross section. 20% of our members are nonprofit organizations, nonprofit Christian organizations. And 80% are for profit businesses who are Christian owned and Christian led. So you'll get that cross section, you'll have the opportunity to sit across the table and have a meal with folks and have those private conversations as well as having some really interesting conversations led by various panels and experts.

Just this morning, Linda, I'm so excited about this because I just confirmed it this morning. And in the world that we've been living in in this last three years, since COVID the reality is that every business owner, whether they're a small business owner or a large, run a huge corporation, we are all being required to be entrepreneurial everyday life. You better be entrepreneurial and the day that we're living in or you're behind and if you're behind, you're not going to last very long. And I just confirmed this morning the final speaker or a panel we're going to have on what it means to be entrepreneurial in a changing world. And the world is just changing at breakneck speed. Around us, we have three great entrepreneurial leaders who will be speaking. Al Caperna from CMC Corporation in Ohio, Patrice Sagay, who leads the Nehemiah Project, which is an organization working with entrepreneurs not just domestically, but even around the world. And our latest confirmation came this morning from Luke Dooley, who is with Oceans Programs out of Ohio. Luke is a young entrepreneur. He's going to bring so much energy and excitement to our conversation. And this is just one panel of many expert speakers that we will have that we hope will encourage and educate the folks who come to our meeting.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, the CEA Summit is truly an exciting event and I never want to miss it. So it's September 28 and 29th in Washington DC at the Museum of the Bible. And for listeners, if you've never been to the Museum of the Bible, that in and of itself is a wonderful experience and being in DC at that time of year is always pleasant. A pleasant time of the year.

Shannon O. Royce: Beautiful. The beautiful time of beautiful time of year. Absolutely.

Linda J. Hansen: Yes.

Shannon O. Royce: The other thing is, when this program runs, Linda, by the time your program runs, we will have on our public facing website information about the Summit. If folks want to come and sign up right now, we have it behind the member wall, but we are making it public and that will be available for folks to come and sign up.

Linda J. Hansen: To join us at that's wonderful. And again, listeners, please check out and sign up to go to the Summit. And if you are interested in membership, please, one of the ways you can support Christian Employers Alliance and support this podcast and the work of Prosperity 101 is to use a special code. So when you go in and go through the membership portal to become a member, you can put in the promo code P 101. So you can just do a capital P 101. And that will not only support Christian Employers Alliance, but it will support prosperity 101 and all that I'm trying to do. And I've just so enjoyed not only being a member of Christian Employers Alliance and promoting it often, but to be an aligned partner where I just try to promote CEA as much as possible. Because I truly do believe that the way I've described it, I guess, is the center of a Venn diagram. And not to bring up Venn diagrams because people laugh about that now in the news because of some comments by a vice president, but a Venn diagram is a good illustration. And I see CEA being the center point of a Venn diagram where all these other organizations, these Christian ministry organizations and Christian Marketplace organizations can thrive. And we're not trying to replace any of them.

Shannon O. Royce: Right.

Linda J. Hansen: I truly believe that CEA is the complement, almost the completion of the work. It's like the little piece that's always been missing where we have these great discipleship organizations, great fellowship organizations, business networking organizations, marketplace chaplains, and marketplace ministry organizations, wonderful organizations that we support and applaud. However, to have this legal umbrella, to have this opportunity to have a health care program which oh, we should mention Covenant Choice. Yes, we briefly touched on it, but I want to make sure you mentioned Covenant Choice, but to be able to have a choice about a healthcare program and a way to protect your business or ministry from the assaults that are coming from our culture now. So we mentioned before how protecting employers who maybe don't want to provide funds for any type of abortive patients or abortions or transgender surgeries or things, but people may be listening going, well, how do I do that? My health insurance program doesn't work that way. So please explain the Covenant Choice program that is offered through CEA.

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely. So Covenant Choice is a unique program that was founded by CEA. It is a full blown healthcare plan. It's actually a healthcare captive where each employer has a self-insured plan. They work in cooperation with other employers, Christian employers who are part of the captive. And then there's a national stop loss provider that has an A plus rating. And it is a full service healthcare plan that includes your TPA administrator, includes prescription drugs. It is a full plan, not like a health sharing kind of program. They're great as well. That's not what Covenant choice is. So it is a values based healthcare plan that is fully transparent and serves the needs of our Christian employers. We started out only serving employers with more than 100 employees. We are now able to serve employers with 25 or more employees. Not quite down to the truly small business yet. Our goal is to get down to where we can serve even the smallest Christian owned business. But right now, we're able to serve employers with 25 or more employees and would love to visit with anyone about that who has interest in Covenant Choice.

Linda J. Hansen: Absolutely. And as I've watched this program develop and grow and serve people, it's just an exciting option. That again, that's another one of the value points for Christian Employers Alliance. So as we close this interview, what would you say to employers who want to help their employees understand how all of these issues not only affect the bottom line of the business, but affect the freedom of the employer to employ the employee and then the overall liberties of the employee?

Shannon O. Royce: Absolutely. I think it's critical for folks to understand that when we live with liberty, religious liberty, religious liberty and economic liberty are just, as you know, Linda, they are just hand in glove. Our founders came to the United States for both economic and religious freedom, and that is what our employers are seeking today. They simply want to live out their faith. And as they live out their faith, see God bless their business economically as well. As they thrive and flourish, they are better able to grow and serve their employees as well, give security to their employees, allow their employees to provide for their families. This is what Christian business owners do. They have a business that seeks to glorify God in everything. They do have a product or service that meets a need in their community. And in so duly, they're supporting families who are living out their faith in their local communities. So it is the ultimate goal to flourish and support families and businesses through Christian business owner.

Linda J. Hansen: Yes, our vocations can certainly be ministries as well. And there may be somebody listening who wonders, well, what's a Christian business person? What's the difference? Or they might not understand what we're talking about when we're talking about being a Christian or whatever. And so if you're listening today and you're wondering where you stand in your relationship with God, or you're wondering what we're talking about in this relationship with Christ and how we seek to live out our faith and things, please reach out to me at or reach out to Shannon at Christian Employers Alliance. We want to help everyone have that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We want to help you to develop a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Our culture says anything is truth. People can just pick truth. But Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life. And we stand on that and we want to honor that and honor God in our work. And so if you are out there and you might be seeking, please reach out to us. And if you're hesitant to even reach out to us, you could just ask Jesus to come into your heart, help you understand. And that's the most beautiful thing. A relationship with Jesus Christ that impacts everything that we do is so fulfilling, but it's also such a blessing for ourselves and others and it has eternal significance. So we want to protect that freedom for people all over the world and just protecting that economic and religious freedom for everybody that we can live our lives in the way that we feel led. So I will just wrap up with a couple quick notes for the listeners again.

Now please go to You can go through, read all the information that is there. You can read about these lawsuits that we've discussed, you can read about what Christian Employers Alliance offers in terms of these umbrella services I mentioned, but also you can go there and sign up to become a member and I encourage you to do so. Like Shannon said, don't wait until you're struck by lightning, right? Make sure you get out of the path of the storm and you protect yourself. So you can go sign up to be a member. You can use the link P 101, capital P 10 one. And that not only helps CEA, but it helps Prosperity 101 and helps me produce these podcasts. So please do. But even if you couldn't help Prosperity 101, I would still be promoting CEA and I always have been because I just firmly believe it's such an important organization. And with the Covenant Choice program, the Health program, all these things, there's just nothing else like it in the Christian Marketplace Ministry space. So it's a great compliment. Again, we're not trying to replace other Marketplace ministries, but to complement and kind of complete that whole gamut of what can be provided to Christian employers. And listeners, I encourage you I did not give Shannon's extensive bio, but it is on the website. And I encourage you to go see that because she has just incredible experience and she is so well suited to leading this organization, has been doing such a great job growing it and just helping it to be so much more- well known. And I just am so thankful for what she has brought in the team at CEA. So Shannon, do you have any closing comments?

Shannon O. Royce: Well, I'm just grateful for my time with you, Linda. Thank you for sharing us continually with your audience and your encouragement to us. We would welcome interaction with your listeners and if they just have questions, they can reach out to us through our website and let us know what's on your mind and how we can serve you. And we would be delighted to meet you at the Fall Summit. So we would welcome you to join us to learn more about what we're up to.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, thank you, Shannon. And a reminder, listeners, the Fall Summit is September 28 and 29th in Washington, DC. And you'll have information of that on the website, so I encourage you to go be part of it. Maybe even God would lead you to sponsor it. So it'd be great. But please check out Christian Employers Alliance and make sure you can contact Shannon through there if you'd like to reach out to her personally. But again, just I really support CEA. And the work that they're doing all across America. So. Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon O. Royce: Thank you. God bless you.

Linda J. Hansen: Linda, you too. Thank you.

Linda J. Hansen:Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share, and leave a great review. Don't forget to visit to access the entire podcast library to order my newest book, Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheckor to enroll you or your employees in the Breakroom Economics online course. You can also receive the free e-book, 10 Tips for Helping Employees Understand How Public Policy Affects Their Paychecks. Freedom is never free. Understanding the foundations of prosperity and the policies of prosperity will help you to protect prosperity as you become informed, involved, and impactful. I give special thanks to our sponsors Matthews Archery, Inc. and Wisconsin Stamping & Manufacturing. Please contact us today at to let us know how we can serve you. Thank you.