What is Marketplace Ministry? Part 2
A few weeks ago we shared a blog post titled ‘What is Marketplace Ministry? Part I’ (if you missed it you can read it here). In it we discussed the primary importance for each of us to understand that our work matters to God and God matters to our work! This is key as we begin to explore what Marketplace Ministry is all about. Marketplace Ministry seeks to connect the work that each of us does throughout the week with the work that God is doing all around us each and every day. In a recent post by our colleagues Duane & Carin Guthrie, Duane shares that “if a person spends their whole life gathering weekly with other Christians they will have spent over 8000 hours of their lives in church or connected to church related activities before their 80th birthday. That same person will have spent over 94,000 hours at work before their 65th” (You can read Duane’s entire post by clicking here). With this in mind, we believe it is vitally important for each of us to wrestle with what it means to connect our work with God’s work.
With a commitment to Integral Mission (spreading God’s love through word and deed), Canadian Baptist Ministries works with local partners to assist in bringing God’s transforming grace which leads to hope, healing and reconciliation for all people. CBM recognizes that the marketplace (our places of work) provides countless opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus, and as such is working hard to establish strong partnerships within the context of the marketplace. In Part I of this post we shared that Marketplace Ministry involves very broad missional activities which include (but not limited to): Faith at Work initiative, Business as Mission, Christian Social Enterprise, Microcredit Finance & Business Development, just to name a few. Here are some brief definitions to help unpack what each of these activities seeks to do.
- Faith at Work Initiatives – This is when individuals intentionally seek to integrate every aspect of their Christian faith within the context of their workplace. Regardless of what type of work, these individuals are committed to living out their faith at work as a way to demonstrate the reality of the Gospel. Faith at Work is about workplace discipleship.
- Business as Mission – These are businesses that seek to be profitable and sustainable while being intentional about making an impact for God’s Kingdom in the lives of people (their employees, their customers, etc.) and in their communities. These are businesses that are focused on holistic individual and community transformation through the use of multiple bottom lines that seek to make an impact on economic, social, environmental, and spiritual outcomes. These businesses are often concerned with the poor and least evangelized.
- Christian Social Enterprise – These are for-profit businesses that seek to use their entire profit’s for a ‘Social’ benefit for their neighbors, communities and the world around them. They are not concerned with making profits for their own gain but rather seek to be profitable and sustainable solely for the benefit of others.
- Microcredit Finance – This is the lending of small amounts of money at very low rates of interest usually to impoverished peoples for the purpose of new business start-ups in the developing world. As funds are repaid they are then loaned out again to help someone else. There is a great need for this type of lending in the developing world as many are taken advantage of by loan sharks who charge excessive rates of interest with unmanageable repayment amounts.
For CBM, Marketplace Ministry is not any one of these things in and of itself but rather it is a broad missional strategy (which includes these things and more) that affirms the importance of all work to God and seeks to strengthen the impact of individuals in the marketplace in spreading the Gospel. To some extent CBM has been involved in many of these mission activities for years. For example, together with our partners, CBM offers small business grants to families in India to start income generating small businesses (with these grants comes business skills training). CBM is continuing to help Somali women living in Kenya in the formation of self-help groups which seek to save and loan funds to members to assist in the start-up of small businesses. Again, within these self-help groups members receive training, encouragement, accountability and support for their small business. CBM is also involved with supporting youth in Rwanda who help provide for their family by offer vocational skills training in areas such as sewing, carpentry, computers, driving, or mechanics. This helps them earn adequate income with dignity. If you are interested in supporting any of these initiatives you can do so through CBM’s Gift Catalogue Hopeful Gifts for Change.
One example of Marketplace Ministry from our visit to the Philippines earlier this fall comes from a visit we made to the Missional Business Center (MBC) run by a man named Bronno. The work of MBC is focused on helping individuals (by using Kingdom principles) develop ideas for business start-ups, write a comprehensive business plan to ensure the idea is sustainable and profitable, prepare a budget and secure start-up capital (if required), and finally assisting with the start up of the new business. The new business owner then receives mentoring and support for one year to ensure his/her success. This type of missional work has the potential to have a huge impact in the lives of individuals and bring about lasting change for the entire community.
Some of you have asked us if we will be starting our own business or working in a business when we move to the Philippines? The answer to this questions is ‘No‘. We, along with our colleagues and partners, will be working alongside of people as they seek to provide for their families and make a positive difference in their communities as they become more aware of the connection between their work and God’s work. Our work will primarily be centered on discipleship as we walk with people in all types of business and circumstances of life.
Stay tuned for Part III where we will share some of the highlights of what God is doing in the Philippines (and Southeast Asia) as Duane and Carin continue to develop new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.
We need your support, both Prayer and Financial!
If you would like to become a Partner in Mission with us please contact Barbara Keys at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Partner-in-Mission page at http://www.cbmin.org/who-we-are/field-staff/michael-melanie-waddell/