We asked one of our partners in Cambodia, Scott, about the importance of business as missions. Here is what he had to say on the subject.
1. Why is business as missions important?
We have great ministry access to many people all around the world. Business as missions creates more avenues of Kingdom opportunity for those who may not be called into traditional ministry (pastoral, children, church planting, etc.). People skilled in business, administration, hospitality, along with countless other expertise come alive as they utilize their gifting for Kingdom work. We make a way for those that don't have a way by empowering local people who want to become sustainable. We go farther and deeper into closed nations that blatantly refuse entry to purely ministry organizations. Our revenue paves a path to the very ministry opportunities that may have closed down due to the lack of funding. We see it as a way of adding a stronger arm to our Kingdom body.
2. What is the difference between a Christian in business and a Christian business, if any?
The difference is the main focus of the business. Although many Christians currently run businesses, rarely do you see the primary focus of the business being Kingdom-centered. It is amazing to see many companies who give generously to benevolent ministries and contributing in a huge way. However, giving is just one aspect of Christ-centered businesses. Depending on the key focus of the business as missions company, the list ranges in the way they engage in Kingdom priorities. Some examples of Kingdom priorities include financial giving off the top (first fruits), sustainable development (empowerment and capacity building), pro bono/affordable consulting and services (providing for the poor and those in need), broader demographic reach for evangelism (guesthouse with people around the world at their doorstep who would normally not step foot in a church), among many others.
3. What is your strategic advantage with business as missions?
Of the many advantages doing business as missions, the word that comes to mind is versatility. Suddenly you have a need for all types of professions ranging from hotel operators, baristas, tech developers and many others who find a higher calling in their lives. They are not just allowed in closed nations but embraced with open arms and asked to lead with their giftings.
4. It seems like business ethics and Christian ethics are on opposite ends of the spectrum. How are you able to bridge that gap and successfully grow your profits without compromising your moral integrity?
The way you make money is just as important (if not more important) than what you ultimately end up making. If you are here just to make money and looking solely at profit margins, you're in the wrong business. I believe most people who are doing business as missions do not seek monetary gain as the primary objective. Priorities vary based on the primary focal points of the company or organization. When you build a strong foundation of spiritually aligned people, they are able to walk out their business as missions objectives without compromising their core Christian values. At the same time, they keep each other sharpened and accountable.
"The way you make money is just as important than what you ultimately end up making."
5. In what ways does your business help expand God's kingdom? Are you more focused on making a local or global impact?
We currently operate a guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia in an effort to love guests from all around the world, love our missions community as they walk out their ministry and overflow to the local community with the hope of creating sustainability that builds capacity to equip and empower. This is the first of twenty we want to build in the next five years. We hope God will bring the right people who can help us expand His Kingdom in progressive ways that create opportunities for many to come. Locally we hope to raise up the next generation and be sent out globally.
6. What advice would you give to a person who is conflicted over joining the business world as a follower of Christ?
If you are conflicted, you're in a good place. I remember the first time someone told me that being conflicted was a good thing. I became more frustrated at that someone more than the actual situation. Being conflicted in this manner is a good thing because it will lead to the right questions that they will hopefully take to the Lord. If you asked a majority of people in ministry in this capacity, they usually tell you that it amazes them how they got this far. It's rarely a linear path that outlines step-by-step instructions of Kingdom business. There's usually a point of conflict that leads to good questions, ultimately diving deep into dependence on Him who you learn to trust more and more with each step, every leap, and many falls. The question is... Are you willing to go there with Him?
To find out more about World Race, please check out their website.
If you would like to learn more about business in missions from Scott, he is looking for help from anyone with a 1 to 6 month commitment, please let us know.