Monday, May 13, 2013

Marketplace Ministers Commissioning

Some of the ICM/ATS team
This past week has been a busy week, with catching up after a two week absence from Kenya, as well as with the graduations at the Africa Theological Seminary.  Unfortunately, I missed the graduations, due to travel as well as trainings in other cities, but it has been nice to have the ICM USA team around Kitale.  We have shared meals, conversations, processed challenges, and gotten to know each other better.  One of the great things that ICM has been able to do is to give out motorcycles each year at the graduation.  Someone donated 30 motorcycles again this year, and current students and alumni are able to apply for one of these motorcycles.  They received hundreds of applications, and I'm so happy that three of the pastors with whom I am working were given a motorcycle!  I know that their work in the Marketplace Ministry was one of the factors that allowed for them to be a recipient, so I am grateful as well.  This will greatly aid them in moving about to visit with the business owners in their church, and encourage this ministry to move forward.
Motorcycles given away at graduation.  They were all dedicated to the two ATS students who lost their lives in ministry this past year.
Mary, and her prayer partner, Sheryl
Sheryl Giesbrecht, the Executive Director of ICM USA, is also visiting and sharing my room.  Sheryl is a widow as well - she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident just six months before Bob died.  So we have a lot to talk about when we are together as we share and process our loss, as well as our recovery.  Sheryl is also one of the prayer partners for two of the businesses in my Kitale class.  She went to visit them with me and pray for them in person, which was a great blessing. 

Next week Sunday begins the first of three Sundays in a row where we will be commissioning Marketplace Ministers in three different churches.  For the first time in my experience, this will take place in the church, during the worship services.  This is the main reason for my transfer to ICM - to be able to send out Marketplace Ministers with the support and accountability structure from the church.  The Church now will have the opportunity for partnership between pulpit pastors and marketplace ministers to impact the Marketplace for Christ.  Those who accept this calling will be held accountable by the church, as any minister would be, and will be encouraged, discipled, mentored, and prayed for by the church.  This is an exciting time!  Marketplace Ministers have been taught the principles of Business as Mission, and are encouraged to have a quadruple bottom line:  economic, spiritual, social, and environmental. They have also gone through the Basic Business Training, covering Ethics, Book-keeping, Marketing, Pricing, Cost Analysis, and a host of other topics.
Agnes and her "ground nut" (peanut) business.

Next Sunday will be the first Commissioning in Butere, with 70 Marketplace Ministers.  At this service, following the commissioning and prayer, we will be anointing each Marketplace Minister with oil, followed by celebrating communion with them.  Those who qualify will then receive their certificates (based on attendance and performance) and have a chance to share some of their thoughts with the church.  I will be sharing the Word at both of the services.  The following Sunday, May 26, will be the second Commissioning service with a church called House of Hope, in Kitale, with 22 Marketplace Ministers.  And the last service will be with the pilot project - the focal point of my work for the past two months - in the Friends (Quakers) Church, on June 2, with 50  Marketplace Ministers.  I am looking forward to these services and to see how God continues to use these business person to bless their communities, their churches, and the Kingdom of God.  Please pray with us for blessings on these new Marketplace Ministers as they seek to change the Marketplace in their cities and throughout the nation of Kenya.
Picture of the week:  What is this?  I saw this item in the Butere market this morning - it is something I have never seen before.  Each piece is about five inches tall, two inch diameter at the bottom, one inch at the top, and weighs close to two pounds.  Whoever guess correctly will be given a Kenyan gift when I return to the US!  Email me at if you want to guess.