We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better.
(For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)
Because of 4.3 billion unreached–requiring more manpower than traditional missions–we’re devoting an entire month to marketplace missions, or BAM (Business As Mission).
You might be amazed by its effectiveness.
Today, we’re grabbing a soy hazelnut latte with MDE (Marketplace & Development Enterprises)–even though they’re not your typical agency.
TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Well, first off, we should tell you we’re not a missions agency. We’re actually a service organization.
We specialize in providing business, vocational, missional, and personal services to fellow believers who want to make money and make disciples in unreached communities around the world.
We are passionate about
- serving fellow believers—helping them get the support they need to achieve those goals.
- marketplace missions, and how quickly believers can develop deep, authentic relationships with those who don’t know Jesus by working alongside them in their marketplaces.
- community—building networks of fellow Christians serving one another in the workplace and at home.
HOW LONG HAs MDE BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?
We are young! We just celebrated 4 years of serving marketplace workers.
But we’ve got hundreds of believers in our service network supporting our 30-40 client members working in multiple countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
We don’t focus on countries per se–because we’re not recruiting people to place them on our teams, but rather build networks to support them where God is leading them to go.
God’s allowed us to build a support team around our members no matter where they’ve landed (or intend to land).
TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.
A young engineer was transferred to Germany for a six-month stint. She joined us at MDE, received some quick training (because she was heading out in four weeks), and was connected to our support system.
While there, she met a co-worker from China and invited her to church. After developing a relationship, she gave her an English/Chinese Bible and corresponds with the co-worker to this day.
Reaching those who don’t know Jesus starts by simply going and working with the unreached in their world.
5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE MDE’s CULTURE. GO.
WHAT’S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT YOU GUYS?
Being a service organization rather than a missions agency means we consider each member to be a client whom we serve—not an employee to serve us. You don’t join MDE’s team. You hire us to join yours.
Our focus is providing individualized services to each person who employs us to help them.
Another key distinctive is that we connect our member clients to service providers:
- accountants who provide accounting services
- marketers who develop marketing plans
- lawyers who draft needed contracts
- graphic designers who create business logos
- …you get the idea.
They not only provide advice on how to do something. They’ll either do it for you or with you.
LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON MDE’s APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.
MDE approaches this differently, too.
Our application process consists of a form designed to give us basic information about our applicants and to confirm that their values align with ours.
Basically, we are 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—taking both the presence and the message of Jesus to their co-workers and neighbors.
We’ve had numerous people apply, be approved, and start partnering with MDE in less than two weeks.
As for training, we don’t have an MDE built-and-run program for our members. Instead, we have identified key components that we have found to be important to help people be successful in business, in being disciple-makers, and in being good disciples.
MDE partners with a variety of training organizations and works to match our members with the needed training that fits their schedule and budget. There are hundreds of great training programs out there with a vast array of materials that cover every aspect of cross-cultural life and work. We don’t need to reinvent this wheel.
WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.
We are looking for people who
- love our Lord and are committed to building relationships with unbelievers and being intentional about loving them and sharing truth with them
- desire support and accountability
- want to work hard at their job and be willing to push themselves to be the people God wants them to be, doing the things God wants them to do. Our members do not need to have any particular skill or experience.
WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
We really are only a good fit for someone who wants to travel down the marketplace/business/vocational side of life and who want to do so in an unreached community. (This could be in a reached country, but in a community that isn’t yet reached.)
MDE’s entire system is built to support those passionate about making money and making disciples in and through the marketplaces of unreached communities. If a BAM business collapses, the ministry possibilities usually do as well.
If someone does not want to do both, we are not the organization for them.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?
Go for it through the marketplace!
The world has changed dramatically over the last few years. Living globally has become significantly easier. With all the advances in travel and communication, going to live overseas is not the dramatic or traumatic event it used to be.
It’s still hard and has numerous challenges, but it is definitely easier than the get-on-a-boat-and-pack-a-trunk days.
Starting your career down the marketplace missions path is almost always a benefit regardless of your final destination.
Living and working overseas has gone from being frowned upon by employers to being an asset.
From a personal perspective, if you go with the right attitude and support, it can be life changing.
One young woman fresh out of college taught in and helped develop a BAM venture in northern Africa. She told us she “grew up…a lot”—learning to become an advocate for herself, to develop a support system, to find community, to know and trust in the power of Jesus.
And you don’t have to make a life-time commitment: Two years is usually long enough to learn and grow and make a difference if you are working and seeking to be missional in the business world.
English is the recognized international business language. While learning the local language is a huge benefit that we highly recommend, you don’t have to become fluent to get involved and make an immediate impact.
LIKE THIS POST? YOU MIGHT LIKE OUR WHOLE MEET AN AGENCY SERIES! CLICK HERE!
AND DON’T MISS…
- “Reaching the Unreached = Danger” and More Missions Myths Debunked
- Your Career, Globally: What Could I Do with a Business Degree in Overseas Missions?
- Unreached People Group Focus: Japanese
- Unreached People Group Focus: Han Chinese, Xiang people
- The Generation Who Can: Reaching the Unreached with News They Can’t Live Without