By Mark Canada, CEO of Marketplace & Development Enterprises
During the month of September, Go. Serve. Love is tickled pink to share stories and thoughts from MDE, an organization providing business, vocational, missional, and personal services to fellow believers who want to make money and make disciples in unreached communities.
In light of the 4.13 billion unreached–and the need for the solution of an equal size–-MDE is looking for Christians who truly want to be in the workplace, either as employees or entrepreneurs, and who truly want to be intentional about developing authentic relationships.
They’re looking for a few good men (and women) to take both the presence and the message of Jesus to co-workers and neighbors.
Missed the first myth,
I get it–because I get this one all the time: If I go overseas and I’m hammering away at my job, ministry will be the one robbed.
The critical issue, of course, is defining the term “ministry.”
If you mean spending all your “working hours” sharing the gospel or running a church, then yes. Running a Business as Mission (BAM) venture or working a day job for pay cuts into that.
But if you mean spending time developing relationships that allow you to share the gospel? Relationships that demonstrate how God would have us to live our lives as regular peeps?
Then I strenuously disagree.
Ingredients for Sharing Jesus
There are a lot of ways to share Jesus, to display him. But most are more effective when done in the context of an authentic, trusting relationship.
People generally feel more comfortable giving and receiving deep, challenging truth in a solid relationship.
Many pastors I know constantly wrestle the difficulty of sharing the gospel with people who keep them at arm’s length upon learning the pastor is a “professional person of God.” Overcoming that series of traffic cones is a long, slow process.
Traditional missionaries almost always face the same barrier in the least reached communities.
If you are an American with no visible means of support (no job or successful business), there are some good possibilities about your seemingly innocuous presence. You’re probably a government agent, or a missionary there to convert them to your heretical religion.
Unreached people aren’t stupid. They catch on pretty quickly. If you’re not truly working in the marketplace, chances are decent you’re not up to anything good.
And you can’t be trusted.
Someone with a job or viable, successful business doesn’t face this barrier. In fact, that person will usually have multiple opportunities to connect with co-workers, employees, suppliers, customers and neighbors in very natural ways.
M was working with a Muslim community in Asia to help abandoned, “graduated” orphans integrate into society.
Those efforts were effective. So neighbors were curious, but supportive of her endeavors to help the community. They asked her why she worked so hard. She was able to tell them of the compelling love of Jesus.
I’m not bashing full-time traditional church planting by any means. But marketplace missions is effective.
Both M and Don from last week’s post would tell you their opportunities to do “ministry” did not diminish, but rather skyrocketed when they switched over to working in the marketplace of their adopted communities.
We’ve created a FREE self-assessment to help you consider whether marketplace missions (also known as BAM: Business as Mission) could be a good fit for you–and what you could do next.
Want to check it out?