A New Era of International Ministry is Dawning
By Bill Zipp
CORVALLIS, Oregon – When the Apostle Paul went on three historic missionary journeys in the book of Acts, he traveled on roads built by the Roman Empire. When he walked into cities as diverse as Thyatira in Asia Minor or Athens in Ancient Greece, he was able to speak with people in a common language.
Historians refer to this as Pax Romana, an unprecedented time of peace, prosperity, and stability that allowed Christianity to spread throughout the Mediterranean. We live in a similar time. The roads we travel on, however, are digital and the language we speak is English, but these developments have allowed unprecedented opportunities for the Gospel as was the case in the first century.
But many, many challenges are emerging in our day: the challenge of rising nationalism, the challenge of religious fundamentalism, and the challenge of extreme poverty. These contemporary developments are closing doors to more traditional mission work and opening them to a new era of international ministry:
Business as mission.
Not business for mission. That is, businesses using their profit to support missions—a good and much needed activity— but the very process of business being missional. From interacting with employees and customers to supporting community projects, this nontraditional approach is breaking down barriers to the Gospel around the globe. “Large parts of the world are off-limits to professional missionaries. Business, on the other hand, has a remarkable capacity to touch virtually every person on this planet,” writes economist Steve Rundle and missiologist Tom Steffen in Great Commission Companies.
That’s why Bill Zipp, President of Leadership Link, Inc, and Peteris Eisans, Executive Director of Baltic Global Initiative, combined forces last month to launch the Great Commission Company Challenge.
The Great Commission Company Challenge is a year-long program focused on training Christian entrepreneurs in Latvia to start businesses that build relationships, create jobs, and support the development of national infrastructure—all in the name of the Gospel.
Participants will create both a business plan and a ministry plan and present these plans in person to a panel of Latvian Christian business men and women. First, second, and third place will be selected by this panel and a prize of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 will be awarded respectively.
“Starting a Great Commission Company is for countless Christian men and women in business who want to do more than watch the game of missions. They want to do more than dole out money to keep the game going. They want to be on the playing field,” Rundle and Steffen assert in Great Commission Companies.
It is our dream that God will use the Great Commission Company Challenge to send many players onto the field of missions using the medium of business to demonstrate and declare the Gospel.
For more information, please visit The Great Commission Company Challenge.
Bill Zipp | President, Leadership Link, Inc.
Leadership Link, Inc. is an independent consulting firm that helps leaders around the world transform the organizations they serve.
For the last decade, Bill has worked closely with Chuck Kelley and the Baltic Pastoral Institute on a variety of ministry projects. This was his seventh trip to Latvia.
Read the latest on leadership at Bill’s blog: billzipp.com
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