What constitutes a missionary call? A deep inner feeling? A burning bush experience? Something just for the spiritual elite? Popular but misguided notions can confuse and hinder your discernment for God’s call. Drawing from Rev. Mack Stiles’ message at the 2013 Cross Student Missions Conference, let us clarify the fundamentals, then illustrate them with Mitch and Zoe’s story
When we think of tentmaking missions, we think of bi-vocational men and women, who transplant themselves from the comfort of their home country and way of life to an alien land and culture in order to make Christ known. But wait! They don’t go alone. Many bring their children, who share the challenge of making the new language and culture their own too. They are the “Third Culture Kids.”
This fall, we organized an Entrepreneurship Workshop for students at a university in a Central Asian country. It was a great success.
The students’ English was better than expected so that translation was not necessary. One of our team members had taught at top Chinese universities and found the Muslim students even more engaging. Like young people in the West, they dream about becoming entrepreneurs. So our team brought them what they want.
In 2000, half of the world became city dwellers. In 2012, China’s urban population surpassed its rural counterpart. Economic migration is a global phenomenon. Over the last few decades, hundreds of millions in China have left the countryside for the cities with millions of Christians among them.
Recently Lance and Donna were tagged in a photo from friends in the US that said, “We love spend- ing time with this family from East Asia”. After ten years abroad, it makes sense that they are seen as from Asia and not America. China is home. It is where they work, do life, and serve as missional professionals.
A Long But Rewarding Journey
By the time Dave and Elsie got married, they were certain about their call to bi-vocational missions.
During Dave’s post-doc years, he underwent additional training in a related field to broaden his career options. His mentor connected him to an opportunity to consult for an international organization on their China projects. Dave and Elsie began to pray for an overseas assignment with this organization. They were headed in the right direction, but there were many bureaucratic obstacles.
As we celebrate 30 years of ministry, it is time to revisit and reaffirm our mission. This is important in order to sharpen our objectives, develop new strategies, align our teams, and mobilize others to join us while staying focused and relevant in this rapidly evolving world scene that is changing the landscape of missions.
Despite suffering and chaos, spiritual revival spread among young people across China during WWII and the Civil War that followed. Brave bands of evangelists felt called to reach the poverty-stricken Northwest. Without knowledge of each other, they went out from Shanghai, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong and Shaanxi.
China’s Back To Jerusalem (BTJ) missionaries in the 1940s were tentmakers by necessity, unaware perhaps of the legacy of tentmakers before them.
“You go to church because the foreigners pay you!”
“You’re a pastor because you receive money from America!”
These are common accusations from Muslims against Christian converts and pastors in Central Asia.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping announced China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) plan to connect Asia and Europe with a 21st Century Silk Road by land and sea (One Road) to create an expansive Silk Road Economic Belt (One Belt) involving 65 countries and 4.4 billion people. Instead of inviting foreign investment into China, she now seeks to influence global trade by investing outwards.
Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet state, became independent in 1991. It is separated from Xinjiang by the Tianshan Mountain. Like other Central Asian countries, 80% of her 5-6 million population is Muslim. 10-15 years ago, she was enamored with China’s successful transition from planned economy to market economy. She welcomed Chinese people and Chinese businesses. But such favor has been squandered away over time.
A few years ago, a Kyrgyz Christian entrepreneur started a cattle farm in his father’s home village, creating many jobs for the villagers. He also sponsors soccer teams for the village youth, gives out free coal to old people in the winter, and quickly became a respected benefactor of the community. His farm raised cattle for meat exports and milk for the domestic market. When there was a surplus of milk, he wanted to build a plant to produce powdered milk for the vast Chinese market. After China’s 2008 milk scandal, it would be easy to find Chinese investors. Moreover, the project would benefit the village. He went to China and returned with a business plan.
China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) vision promises to revive the Ancient Silk Road with a vast network of trade routes linking China with Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, serving as a conduit for diplomacy and economic expansion.
To what extent and how quickly OBOR will achieve its objectives is unknown. Regardless, this Titanic of the Chinese Dream has sailed. The July 2016 Economist devoted three pages to discuss its geopolitical and economic significance.
Business As Missions (BAM) is the cutting edge of the worldwide missions movement and becoming increasingly important as the least reached nations become harder and harder to access.
It was the last day of a camp in the backwaters of West China. The volunteers from America were offering an English program to teachers and students of a high school in a small town.
Over lunch, the school principal came up with an idea.
This summer, a team of Silicon Valley young professionals formed a consulting team to offer entrepreneurship training in a Muslim country.
Howard, Technical Product Leader
I found the local entrepreneurs to be bright and engaging people, super eager to learn. Several participants and volunteers asked why we took vacation and paid our way to be there...
As we review how trade and missions reached the ancient world, we need to discern how God may work in our time as China’s One Belt One Road initiative impacts the countries and peoples in this vast region of the world that is the heart of the 10/40 Window. In the June 2016 issue of Great Commission Bi-monthly, Dr. Kim Kwong Chan outlined the OBOR missiological implications.
Frank and Elsie moved to an OBOR country a decade ago, and raised their family there.
Frank taught part-time at a university, and recruited the best students to work for his small IT business. One of the apps developed by the company became very...