Business as Ministry
Pastors, elders, pastors’ wives, evangelists—11 attendees of the “Kingdom Business” class as diverse as their denominations! But all were there for a common purpose: to learn to use their skills, gifts, and resources not merely to put money in their pockets and food on their tables, but to advance Christian outreach in their community. From a simple village bakery stall to a well-established textiles shop, from the visionary stage of an agro-vet start-up to the first washing machine load of a laundry business!
“Kingdom Business” kicked off with several classes in which solid business practices were discussed in light of Scriptures. We wrestled through the application of difficult principles, not willing to skip over what the Bible says, but struggling through living a Heavenly culture here within the earthly context (poverty, tribal prejudices, government taxes, cultural expectations, etc.).
When the class was finished, one-on-one coaching was launched. Each came to realize I had no intention of guiding or advising them. Rather, my job was to be with them, to see their steps, to strategize through blind spots or fearful paralysis, and to celebrate the victories.
One such leader was simply called “Pastor” by the villagers. Despite his growing desire to put Kingdom principles into practice in his textiles shop (not merely talking the Gospel, but living it too!), Pastor and his wife were skeptical about God’s direction in the face of a “cheating tax collector.” We struggled in prayer—on the one hand, Jesus spoke very directly about bribery, theft, taxes, and generosity to the poor; on the other hand, “I’m sure that God didn’t know what this country’s culture is like. We can’t live that way!” But to their surprise, when they fully followed Godly principles, God took care of the obstacles. In fact, the next time the tax collector came to town, Pastor’s wife bravely welcomed him, even sharing the love of God (and a soda) with the offensive authority! The next week, when I sat across from them, tears welled in Pastor’s wife’s eyes as they praised God with joy! The previous “enemy” has turned into a friend, and they believe he will cheat them no more!
Praise God as well, for strong relationships were forged as we faced these challenges together, took courageous steps forward, and dared to envision how God would bless their business when in full alignment with God’s ways. Now I have a strong brother in Christ! We laugh together, we cry together, and we know that we are partners “for His Kingdom come, for His will be done, on earth as in Heaven.”