Business as ministry
From a conversation by Business As Mission
How can we transform the views on business in the church worldwide? Some businesses are seeing transformation in communities, societies, through their companies, especially those started in difficult to reach areas of the world. Their owners are the church in action.
However, in the church, there some very deeply ingrained patterns of thinking about business and the vocation of business. They affect how we respond as business people and how the church response is to business. These are damaging and limiting. They've meant that business people have not been affirmed in their gifting, in the body of Christ. And business itself remains a largely untapped resource for global mission. How do we achieve the paradigm shift from a sacred/secular divide where Sunday and Monday are disconnected?
We need to celebrate and affirm and joyfully commission the work of Christian businessmen and women in the world. Business as mission is not a technique. It is a worldview and a lifestyle.
Let's hear from Dr Denis Tongoi from Kenya, who is an author and the CEO of Root to Fruit:
Africans are notoriously religious. So with the African contexts, we don't have the divide that you have in the West where you try and lead spiritual things out of your life. In East Africa is the opposite. In almost every company I've been to, meetings have begun with a prayer, functions begin with prayer. But there is the limit as to how people then integrate their faith to the business. Most would not know how to describe their impact to their faith of their business, beyond the formality of prayer.
That is why most Africans in business, do not feel at all that there's a relationship between their business life and their church life, although they do pray at business. We should also note that a lot of Universities actually begun as Bible Colleges and they've become sustainable. But the business department is separate from the theological department. The business people don't worry about theology, theology does not inform anything about business.
However, when one gets to link business with theology, that the business is valuable to God, that releases tremendous energy and motivation to business people in Africa.
I've found a lot of general business people feel very, very lonely. They assume they are the only ones who are trying to live right before God. They are looking for a place of safety and transparency where they can genuinely share their struggles and be transparent and be accepted and not judged. Because like we said earlier, most business people are being judged or sometimes described as corrupt.
The other challenge I see is when they see missionaries trying to come into business, they feel a bit cheated. Missionaries often come into the business environment, either through subsidized models or through business shells that are not really business. We've established a movement of missionaries trying to become business people, rather than helping business people who feel their calling in business and help them be missional.
We need a much bigger understanding what Jesus meant by saving the nations. God has called us to a much bigger thing than just running churches or being in silos. This isn't about putting more money into the tithe and offerings, which puts the business people off. We need to recognizing that business is their calling - God's calling and anointing.
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