Almost exactly 9 years ago I purchased an existing machine shop (Auto-Turn Manufacturing) from two men that started the business some 25 years earlier. The business had some good customers, old machines, and 41 employees. A common attitude and saying around the shop was, “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it”. As the new owner, I brought a new culture centered around, “if it’s working good, we need to make it better”. Some changes included: hiring efficiency experts, installing new management software, purchasing almost all new equipment, expanding the building, and going to trade shows. Weeding out the employees that would not make the necessary changes we needed to stay an industry leader in our area was probably the biggest change. Now our culture is a one of “continual improvement” and everyone in the company is graded on their participation or lack of participation in this culture.
I have been involved in missions for more than 40 years and see some great strides in the way missions is evolving but I ask myself, “what is holding us back?”, “are we even keeping up with the birth trends and able to reach the next generation?”, or “can we do better?”.
“IF we could do one thing to help accelerate our missions efforts, what would it be?”
The answer to this question seems to be, “we must help the nationals (and churches) in these countries become more financially self-sufficient”. Don’t get me wrong, money is not everything, but it seems like the lack of money constantly holds back our progress. Our old culture has our missionaries making their annual track back to the US to “drum up some more money”. About the time they are “fully funded” something happens to a major contributor and they find themselves short in their finances. At the same time, international franchise businesses are looking to expand into these same cultures with the intentions of making a profit. How can this be?
Is it possible that we are not sending enough businesspeople and professionals to help teach, mentor, and train? We have all heard the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life?”.
The strong churches in the USA are not just strong because the pastor can deliver a solid Sunday morning message, but they are strong because the congregation is filled with gainfully employed leaders in their fields and business owners that will stand strong on their Christian convictions.
If you are one of these business professionals or business owners, we need you. Our Bible schools are not expected to teach their students about income statements, sales technics, marketing strategies, or how to write a business plan.
We need you, Businesspeople and Missionaries, to be partners together for the good of the Kingdom of God! Come join us. Contact us, and let us help you see how you can take your next step.
Please share with us your thoughts. What do you think that is holding back our mission efforts around the world?