Business has often been something of a dirty word among Christians, but I believe it can play a vital role in building God’s kingdom on earth.
This is nothing new – Paul’s business was making and selling tents in the cities he ministered and taught in. He worked and ministered in partnership with other tentmakers, Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18).
If we have skills in business and expertise in industry, we can respond to the needs of the community, be an instrument of hope and realise our Godly ambitions “to preach the gospel where Christ is not known” (Romans 15:20).
Business run on Kingdom principles can bring God’s blessings in the UK or abroad, be it a Fairtrade shop, a local social enterprise bringing hope to the unemployed, a consultancy in the Middle East full of Christians who can share their faith and influence the business community, a woman’s co-operative in an Indian slum or a business bringing a new avenue for employment amongst sex workers of Southeast Asia.
These businesses are not about raising money for missionaries, nor is it about getting visas for a Muslim country and then setting up a phoney business as a cover.
It is about helping establish - or standing alongside those who are running - genuine and relevant businesses which meet real local needs, often among the poorest, and the unreached. Through this, business leaders and others employed in the business can model and communicate the gospel of Jesus.
If you have skills in finance, retail, manufacture, services, administration or any other area of business, you could play a key role in bringing in God’s Kingdom.
Perhaps you could set up a business or be employed in a company in a closed country, showing others how you live Kingdom values work and finding natural ways to share your faith? Perhaps you can visit as a short-term mentor, passing on your business skills to slum-dwellers in Africa, bringing hope as you teach them that they can bring change? Perhaps you could invest in the Far East and help transform neglected communities?
In the early 18thcentury Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf of the Moravian Church sent out teams of missionaries, principally to the Americas and Africa, which included Bible teachers, evangelists and business people. The business people could earn their living in business, support the work, share their faith and be a good example to new believers.
Shoemaking, trade and shipping were favourite trades which they taught to the new believers. Self-supporting Christian faith communities were established to preach the gospel, advance God’s Kingdom and impact the nations in very practical ways.
If they could do it, why can’t we?
By JM Bell, Frontiers: www.frontiers.org.uk
JM Bell is a pseudonym. He has a passion to see all fulfil their part in God’s global plans. He has worked in the Middle East, West Africa and cities in the UK.