Is Scheels A Christian Company? Examining The Retailer’s Faith Background

With over 30 locations across the U.S., Scheels is a popular sporting goods chain known for its giant stores. But is Scheels a Christian company?

Here’s the quick answer: No, Scheels is not considered a Christian business, though it was founded by a devout Lutheran family in the early 1900s.

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Scheels company history, leadership, employee culture, and practices to determine if Christianity plays a role.

While faith may have guided the Scheels family personally, we’ll analyze how the retailer has evolved over 100+ years.

Christian Origins Under Scheels Family Leadership

Founder was Lutheran immigrant in 1907

The roots of Scheels as a Christian company can be traced back to its founder, Frederick A. Scheel, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1907.

As a devout Lutheran, Scheel brought his strong faith and values with him as he established his first store in Sabin, Minnesota.

Throughout his life, Scheel prioritized his Christian beliefs, incorporating them into his business practices.

He believed in treating his customers and employees with respect and honesty, and this commitment to integrity laid the foundation for the company’s success.

Even in the early days, Scheels store was more than just a place of commerce; it was a gathering space for the community. Scheel often led Bible study groups and prayer meetings, fostering a sense of unity and faith among his employees and customers.

Shift After Sale to Non-Family CEO in 1989

When Scheels, the popular retailer known for its sporting goods and outdoor recreation products, underwent a change in leadership in 1989, it marked a significant shift in the company’s trajectory.

Prior to this change, the company had been led by members of the Scheel family, who were known for their strong Christian values and commitment to faith-based principles in their business practices.

Steve Scheel Retained Christian Values Initially

After the sale of Scheels to a non-family CEO in 1989, Steve Scheel, a member of the family, remained involved in the company and continued to uphold the Christian values that had been a cornerstone of the business.

Under Steve’s leadership, Scheels maintained its commitment to providing exceptional customer service and treating employees with fairness and respect, in line with Christian teachings.

During this period, the company also continued to support various Christian charities and organizations, demonstrating its ongoing dedication to giving back to the community.

Steve Scheel’s presence and influence helped to ensure that the company’s Christian roots remained intact, even as new management took the reins.

Expansion Led to More Secular Management

As Scheels continued to expand its operations and open new stores across the country, the company faced the challenge of maintaining its Christian identity while catering to a more diverse customer base.

With the growth of the company, there was a gradual transition towards a more secular management approach.

While the company still upheld many of its core values, including a commitment to excellence and providing quality products, the overt Christian influence that had characterized the company’s earlier years became less prominent.

This shift was driven by the necessity to appeal to a broader customer base and cater to the diverse needs and preferences of a multicultural society.

No Religious Affiliation as Major Corporation

Scheels, a well-known retail company, does not have any religious affiliation as a major corporation.

Despite being founded by Frederick A. Scheel, a devout Christian, the company has since separated itself from its founding family’s religious background.

While the Scheels family may have had Christian values, the company itself operates independently from any specific religious influence.

Company separation from Scheels family

Over the years, Scheels has evolved into a large corporation with multiple locations across the United States. As the company grew and expanded, it distanced itself from its founding family’s religious beliefs.

It is important to note that the separation is not unusual, as many companies undergo changes and adaptations as they develop into major corporations.

Caters to broad community demographics

Scheels is known for its commitment to providing a wide range of products and services to cater to diverse community demographics.

The company strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all customers, regardless of their religious background.

By understanding and meeting the needs of a broad customer base, Scheels has become a popular destination for shoppers of various beliefs and affiliations.

No indication of Christian influence in practices

When examining Scheels’ practices and policies, there is no indication of any specific Christian influence.

The company focuses on delivering exceptional customer service, offering a diverse range of products, and creating an enjoyable shopping experience for all visitors.

Their commitment to customer satisfaction and community engagement is not tied to any particular religious beliefs.

Focus on Giving Back, Not Christian Ministry

When examining the faith background of Scheels, it is clear that the company’s primary focus is on giving back to the community rather than engaging in Christian ministry.

While the company’s founders, Fred Scheel and his wife, were devout Christians, Scheels as a retail company does not promote or emphasize its religious affiliation in its operations or marketing strategies.

Philanthropy benefits various causes

Scheels is known for its extensive philanthropic efforts that benefit various causes. The company supports organizations and initiatives that aim to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

From donating to local food banks to supporting medical research, Scheels demonstrates a commitment to making a positive impact beyond religious boundaries.

Sponsor community and youth sports

One way Scheels gives back to the community is through its sponsorship of community and youth sports programs. By providing financial support and resources to these programs, Scheels helps promote physical activity, teamwork, and healthy competition among young athletes.

This focus on fostering a sense of community and supporting youth development is not limited to any specific religious affiliation.

Partners with non-faith groups

Scheels actively partners with a variety of non-faith groups and organizations in its philanthropic endeavors. These partnerships extend to organizations that focus on education, healthcare, and social welfare.

By collaborating with a diverse range of groups, Scheels demonstrates its commitment to making a difference in society, regardless of religious affiliation.

It is important to note that while Scheels does not explicitly promote its Christian background, it does respect and value the religious beliefs of its employees and customers.

The company maintains a work environment that is inclusive and respectful of all religions and backgrounds.


In summary, while Scheels had Christian roots from its founding family, the company has evolved into a secular brand as it expanded nationally.

Lacking any religious affiliation, proselytizing, or bias in its contemporary business practices, Scheels is not considered a Christian company today.

However, faith-based principles of community service and charity remain part of the sporting goods provider’s corporate culture.

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