Restoring Enterprise to its Place in the Body of Christ

Business as Mission, Kingdom Business, Great Commission Companies, Purpose-Driven Business, Enterprising Ministry, Kingdom Entrepreneurship - It goes by many names, but there is a new, and yet very old calling in the Global Body of Christ. Many believers are called to walk out their calling in the marketplace. A subset of those believers are called to plant and grow businesses that serve God and the rest of the church. It is their ministry, enterprising ministry, that we describe, support, and explore here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Calling to be Both Leader and Follower

The Holy Spirit's strategic vision comes by inspiration to those leading in their place of calling. In most other places in the Body of Christ, everyone is called to wash feet, in skillful and excellent ways, at the direction of others. It is rare that any believer is called to be the head of  the body in many different places of service.

Watch what happens when a business Shepherd tries to create a strategic vision for a Church Shepard, or a Church Shepard tries to create a strategic vision for a Business Shepherd . Discord  and Chaos.

I Corinthians 12:7 -27: Lays these principles out....

The problem is I see my own calling and gifting as being the main effort that advances the kingdom of God, and that all others are called to support me, as their most spiritual opportunity, now and in the future. I am unintentionally spiritually self-centered.

I am called to lead in one area, and wash feet in another. This myopic view of ministry can be seen, for example in the differences in world views between Church shepeherdhip and Business Sheperdship.
I believe there is a subtle-but-significant difference in worldviews between those believers called to Church Leadership and those called to Business. This has caused division that has been exploited by the enemy . The result is that business leaders don't understand why their Spiritual leadership can't see the business person's calling. It has also resulted in Church leaders who don't understand believing business peoples' resistance to their attempts to enlist them in church service.

For Two generations back, on both sides of my family, and even among my younger cousins, we have been predominantly called to be pastors and missionaries, sometimes both. I am a pastor/missionary kid. Yet I am called to business; and am deeply passionate about church leadership.Threfore, as a beliver firmly planted in both groups, I see this division  arise time and time again, and I believe it is a result of both God-given differences and unintentional human spiritual self-centeredness.

Believers newly called to "the ministry"  those called to or aspire to "full-time Christian service" believe they have set aside any idea of gaining material possessions, and that God will give them unique insitght to advance the Kingdom of God. (I am not talking about those who choose the clergy as a profession, without a calling)Those called believe that they and their families are likeley to pay a high price to do that service.

Believers newly called to business, (I am not talking about those who choose business as a profession, without a calling). They believe that they and their families are likely to pay a high price to develop business, putting their financially futures at risk on a daily basis, and  that they are personally called to advance the Kingdom of God. While they volunteer at church, their purposeful ministry is to the lost and estranged, and support of  other believers in their workplace ministry. Their passion is for the workplace, for creating business as a means of, not a platform for advancing  Gods kingdom.

Anything as a "platform" to share the gospel in difficult places seems to irritate those called to business. This suggests that the church-based leadership who uses this phrase consider the platform itself is just a means of carrying the real workers to their place of ministry.  It is unintentionally spiritually self-centered. I have see church leaders at high levels, in their writings using phrases like "business armor bearers" for mission and church ministry work. They see their ministry  as the main force for moving God's kingdom forward.
Believers called to business love their pastors and church leaders, and volunteer to help support the pastoral staff in their ministry inside the church building, and are often called upon and willing to provide financially over and above the tithe in significant ways. But their passion will always be to create and expand enterprise as a core means of  deliberately spreading gospel..

Those called to business often feel alienated from the work of the ministry inside the church. They see  churches growing larger and larger, and see what they consider inefficiencies in church that would never survive in business. Those called to work as Church staff tolerate the business person's input, but they are carefully to put boundaries on the business person's efforts. As Shepherds of the flock, church leaders see that they must protect the body from what may be a distraction. Business people, who's leadership is valued in the workplace, find their leadership at looked up with wariness by church leaders, at best, and unwelcome or a threat at worst.... And rightfully so.

The business leaders call is to serve and support the work of the Church's shepherds, but their real ministry call is in enterprise. The Holy Spirit's inspiration comes to those leading in their place of calling. In most other places of leadership in the Body of Christ, they are called to wash feet, in skillful and excellent ways

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

- Lee Royal


There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

- I Corinthians 12:7 -27 NIV

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Call of Christ to Business

I recently read a great statement of the enterprising ministry of a beliver called to business.

"My business is my mission. It is not a cover to sneak in someplace it is an expression of who I am. In the process of doing business with excellence and being genuine, I will have influence in whatever culture I'm in.
As people observe our Christ-like behavior they will ask us why we do things the way we do them. This will lead us into a natural conversation of our faith. Our business behavior, that is, fair prices, integrity in our advertising, going the extra mile and being willing to take a loss rather than take advantage of someone, will lead to natural opportunities to share our faith.

Jeff Testerman

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moving Through The Valley of Tears and the Matt 6:1-4 Group

Moving through the Valley of Tears, one outpost at a time on pilgrimage to the city of refuge. God has provided natural springs along the way, and unexpected Autumn rain from a group named Matthew 6:1-4.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.

Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I thank you, who ever you are, and pray that indeed, God will rewar you.

When I pray for understanding, so that I can cooperate with what he is doing, God always answers, one way or another. Recently he gave me this verse:

.... Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the Autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion....

-Pslams 84: 5-7, Biblegateway, NIV

A little background:
The Valley of Baca, also called the Valley of Bochin in Judges, was the only passageway into the high hills where Israel’s Cities of Refuge were located. Some scholars state that the Valley of Baca was also representative of the valley that led up to the city of Jerusalem where the temple of God was found. A weary traveler, searching for safety from those who were pursuing him because of an accidental death or some inadvertent sin that he had committed, would have to travel this valley to find refuge and safety in the House of God or the Cities of Refuge.

The Valley of Baca was part of the desert country. The valley was filled with thorns, wild animals, pitfalls, vipers and all sorts of danger. In addition, there were wells of water but they were often far apart and hard to get to. It was nearly impossible to travel this valley without facing extreme hardship and suffering. That is why the Valley of Baca was named because it literally means “Valley of Tears”.

-Sermon Central

-The Word "Strength" in verse 5 as in Blessed are those whose Strength is in You is the Hebrew word  "oz", meaning mighty fortress, a loud powerful stronghold.     
-The Word "Strength" in verse 7,  as in "Strength to Strength" is the Hebrew Word  "chayil" meaning brave, capable, efficient, excellent and substantial warriors. It also is used to mean substantial worth resources.
This verse speaks to me about where we are right now.

(Holman Exhaustive NASB Concordance)

For me and my house, we follow the way, Jesus Christ, who God gave to reconcile us with Him. As we walk through this current valley, He is out fortress, our statement, our place. It is impossible to walk through this valley without him. As we become more dependent on Him, he is an ever increasing source of might strength and resource as we move from one point to the next.  Some sources have been like the wells; rare but naturally provided by God. Some have been like the Autumn Rain, unexpected, and supernatural.

The most notable unexpected way of his provision has come by the hand of an anonymous group called the Matthew 6:1-4 Group. Though I don't know who they are or how they know about our pilgrimage, they sent substance by mail; resources, and even more importantly, encouraging words. I will likely  never know who they are, but they were used by God to provide  pools of Autumn rain in my  family's pilgrimage through the valley of tears.

So I praise God because of this group's sacrifice; may God reward them with peace and every spiritual blessing.