There are still over two billion people hidden from the gospel due to barriers of culture and language, not only in Africa and Asia, but also within the immigrant communities here in the UK.
Business as mission can be one way of opening doors into these hidden communities.
Many mission teams are setting up businesses to bless the communities they serve, but questions can arise such as: Doesn’t business take so much energy there is no time to see communities of believers form?
We believe it is entirely possible both to run a good business AND see churches planted as a result. If well thought through, businesses provide a meaningful context to share our lives and opportunities to engage with the community in a readily understandable way.
One CEO of a language school, a worker with Frontiers, took an integrated approach to engage with the Muslim communities he worked among in Asia. He introduced himself as an "Integrated entrepreneur who wants to bring godly values into the business arena."
With God on the table from the word go, and especially among Muslims, this often leads to further conversation.
All his business policies were aimed at relating to families in the community. For example, he had a practice of meeting with the families of prospective employees during the interview process, using a phrase like: "I want your family to know us, to know we have your best interests at heart and will honour you, because God loves families."
The phrase "because God loves families" gave him a simple, appropriate way to reveal himself to be a spiritual person. This often opened the door to deeper spiritual conversations.
The church-planting team worked in the business between half and full-time, giving them time to build relationships and run Bible studies that resulted from the business-facilitated engagement with the community.
They found that the key is integration.
If business and church planting are well integrated, then the business entrepreneur can be intentional about church planting, and both material and spiritual transformation can thrive.
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.