Archive for the 'Business & Mission' Category

Business for Mission

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

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Wholesome Bakery is a business for mission project that Enterprise International - the CRM business for mission arm – has sponsored in a township outside of Pretoria, South Africa.

The benefits reaped from such a local, for-profit venture are substantial.  Not only do profits go toward sustainable ministry in the context, but people are employed.  A valuable, life-sustaining, and quality  product is produced.  And the entire community is served.  There are also a multitude of intangible ministry and relational results from the presence of such a business.

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Business for Ministry in Romania

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

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Begun 15 years ago by a restless entrepreneur and his family, the Little Texas complex in Iasi, Romania is an amazing example of what business for ministry is all about.

Now a 125 seat Tex-Mex restaurant with accompanying four star hotel and business center, in 2007 this thriving complex will provide several hundred thousand dollars from its profits for ministry throughout Romania. Funds from Little Texas go toward support of Romanian families serving as missionaries, church plants, and a nascent church planting training center in Moldova. In Romania, it provides local, indigenously generated funding for a church planting movement, sports ministry, theological education by extension, work among teen-age orphans, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, several effective ministries among the abject poor, one of the largest and most respected Christian 1-12 schools in the nation, and an array of evangelistic and discipleship initiatives led by Romanian nationals.

The array and diversity of creative, effective ministry that swirls around Little Texas is dizzying and a little hard to get one’s arms around. Besides the direct support for this broad array of kingdom work, the presence of such a business enterprise that is done with excellence and without corruption produces huge amounts of social equity and helps redefine what it means to be authentically “Christian” in this setting.

What God has led Jeri and Gloria Little to accomplish through Little Texas is nothing short of remarkable. Hopefully, the full story will be available in book form this coming year.

We’re under no illusion that Garth Brooks on the CD and the life-size poster of John Wayne that adorns the wall are not necessarily replicable around the world. But the function that Little Texas represents has profound implications for missions and how such ministry efforts are supported in the decades ahead.

Summary Thoughts on Business and Ministry

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Exponential Functions
A few clarifications:

Because the businesses created by CRM Enterprise are actually owned by the CRM entity in the respective nations, profit distribution is a decision that entity makes, i.e. ministry perspective dictates use of money earned.
The profit stays in the country/region where it has been made. These businesses do not suck resources out of the local scene. They are not exploitive.
While CRM entities own the businesses, there are a variety of ways individuals – nationals and ex-pats – can participate as equity partners in the ventures.

Business integrated for ministry purposes is part of the future. It is one of many practical means of dismantling the unhealthy modern wall between sacred and secular.

For more information on how CRM is doing this through Enterprise, check out the stories on the link or connect with Colin Crawley at colin.crawley@crmleaders.org

Business Leverage

Friday, June 30th, 2006

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When business people get a chance to see, touch, feel and experience CRM Enterprise, they get it.

First, they understand the concept of leverage. A dollar invested in such a way earns a significant return because, as Stephen Covey puts it, that dollar is invested in “production capacity,” not just “production.” It keeps on earning.

Secondly, these business oriented individuals usually begin to salivate because finally they have discovered a way whereby they can put their own expertise and business skills directly to work for ministry purposes. Their abilities are valued.

Involvement with Enterprise is a real life illustration of the old adage about giving a person a fish or a fishing pole. What results from the fishing pole is exponentially more effective.

Objections to Business for Ministry

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

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I can already hear some of the back room comments on my last post (June 27):

“Profit? How mercenary?”
“This just smacks of western capitalistic opportunism.”
“Make money? What’s that got to do with ministry? Why can’t they just trust God?”
“I can’t believe they are mixing business and ministry …God’s work will be the loser in such an unholy alliance!”

Please spare me the hate mail. I’ve heard it all before.

I’ve heard all the arguments from my friends on the left about the inherent evils of capitalism and likewise, know all the arguments from my friends on the theological right who frown on such “worldly” attention to lucre which they believe can only corrupt the purity of the gospel.

The sad fact is, when it comes to money and the wise even shrewd use of resources, Jesus’ admonition that “...the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves …” seems strangely applicable.

To our detriment, others have historically done a better job at this than those who have been followers of Jesus. For example, the Mormans have done it for years while most of those committed to historic orthodoxy have sat on our sanctimonious hands.

There is no biblical, historical or missiological reasons why business, wisely operated, cannot be utilized for Kingdom purposes.

Business With a Purpose

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

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The Christian movement is littered with the intentions of well meaning visionaries who either would not or could not find the resources to make their dreams become reality.

The primary purpose of the businesses created through CRM Enterprise is to quite simply make money. Profit is the bottom line.

There are certainly other worthwhile byproducts of these businesses. For example they

Provide jobs, often in economies where employment can mean survival;
Model good business ethics and mores;
Contribute to the overall welfare and development of the local and regional economy;
Develop nationals as entrepreneurs and business leaders;
Can provide a platform to legitimize ministry, particularly in limited access nations;
In word and deed, function as authentic expressions of the presence of Jesus in the marketplace

While these are all important and worthy ancillary benefits, the primary purpose of these businesses is not job creation, evangelism, tent-making, or enriching nationals so they will eventually give or tithe to their churches.

In reality, and by design, all of these side benefit have happened and are happening. But just because they happen does not insure that profit flows as a result. At the end of the day, we have deliberately chosen for these entities to turn a profit that can in turn be invested in ministry. These businesses are to be an economic wellhead to help vision, given by God, become reality.

Missionaries = Bad Business

Monday, June 26th, 2006

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What is one of the best ways to screw up a business? Let the ministry types run it.

Of course there are some exceptions, but on the whole, those in vocational ministry are not good business people. In CRM’s Enterprise Division, we do our best to keep the ministry folks away from the operational aspects of the businesses because they rarely have the skills or the experience to know what to do.

Enterprise offers business men and women a unique opportunity to really go for it using all that God has entrusted to them. For some, this may mean taking a one or two-week trip a year where their unique abilities can be applied in the developing world. For others, it may mean packing it up and spending months or even years in locations around the globe pioneering such ventures.

And for many, it means being part of a Business Development Group which gathers other like minded and committed business people together to anchor such projects without leaving home, contributing advice, expertise, and even investment capital.

Missional Entrepreneurs

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

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Money can be corrupting, particularly when it crosses cultures and creates crippling dependency. Such misuse in ministry and missions is legendary.

At the same time, deploying missionaries from the majority world (also called the “developing world”) across cultural, linguistic and socio-economic barriers can be a daunting challenges when resources are limited.

One of the solutions …and there are multiple …is to create income streams within the localized economy dedicated to the support of nationals in ministry. It means creating profitable businesses to undergird their efforts and particularly to help those who incur the substantial expense of leaving their own culture to move elsewhere for the sake of the gospel.

Such an approach to alternative means of funding never excuses the local church or local followers of Jesus from giving with joy and sacrifice. But it does provide additional resources that can accelerate the participation of those in these nations as partners with dignity in the global Christian movement.

Over the past decade and a half, CRM has undertaken the creation of these types of businesses – owned by the CRM ministry entity in those nations – and they are proving very successful.

Called CRM Enterprise, this division of CRM starts and multiplies profit-making businesses for the support of ministry. The short film above, Worth It All, describes one such scenario in Ukraine.

Business as Calling

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Let’s get it straight.

Working in a business or a profession should demand just as much a divine sense of “calling” as being a pastor or crossing a cultural divide as a missionary.

Os Guinness in his volume, The Call, does as good a job of theologically unpacking this as anyone. At its core, the issue is overcoming the sacred/secular split of modernity and engaging a “whole life” spirituality. It means abandoning the artificial gap between the traditional church and contemporary culture.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus, in word and deed, in the marketplace is ministry. It is just as sacred …and in many instances, more sacred …than what may happen on Sunday mornings. It requires equipping, empowering and releasing this vast multitude of men and women to be the presence of Jesus in and through their business venues and relationships.

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Business People and Ministry

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

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Historically, the Christian movement has pretty much said four things to business people:

1. “Give us your money.”
2. “Get involved with the local church. But all too often in the modern era that may mean work as an usher, serve on a board, teach fifth grade Sunday School, or undertake some other task usually unrelated to your vocation.”
3. “If you really love Jesus, give up your business/professional career, go to seminary, and become a real person of the cloth.”
4. “We have this business manager’s job at the church or this CFO’s role in the organization and we really need someone to deal with the filthy lucre. Of course realize, that if you ever take such a role, you’re really not in ‘ministry’ and those duly ordained are doing the real stuff.”

How sad.

But there much better ways – when our messed up theology about vocation gets fixed- whereby those called as business men and women in the marketplace can make a huge kingdom contribution through the use of their gifts and business acumen. More to come.