Monday, November 21, 2016

188 Marketplace Ministers Join the Mission Field In Tamale, Ghana

Koinonia Baptist Church Marketplace Ministers
On Saturday, November 19, Discipling Marketplace Leaders (DML) in partnership with Hopeline Institute, commissioned 188 Marketplace Ministers in Tamale, Ghana.  Tamale, located in the Northern Region of Ghana, is a city of about 350,000 people, made up of 95% Muslims.  When we went to Tamale this past June, we trained about one hundred pastors and church leaders in the theological basis of Business as Mission and challenged them to do "Thirty Days in the Marketplace" where they spend one month with their church preaching and teaching on the call of God for all of us to do our work "as unto the Lord" and not compartmentalizing our faith.  A number of churches responded to this challenge and by mid-October five churches had completed their "Thirty Days."  It was the business members of those five churches who were trained and commissioned, equipped and sent out to do their work with a quadruple bottom line:  spiritual, social, environmental, and economic.  The classes varied from micro businesses to
Faith Baptist Church Marketplace Ministers
SMEs (small and medium entrepreneurs), from those with an MBA to those who couldn't read or write, from those with a doctorate degree to those who hadn't even attended a year of school in their life, from those with multiple degrees to those who received a certificate from DML as the first certificate in their life.  Some openly wept when given their certificate, as it gave them such a sense of affirmation in who they are and what they do.  Pastors attended the training along with their parishioners.  Baptist churches dominated this particular training for some reason, and other churches are getting close to completing their "Thirty Days in the Marketplace."

Half of the group in training.
As usual, our two most lively classes were Biblical Worldview versus Cultural Worldview and Boundaries.  It is striking to hear how the beliefs in the ongoing role of ancestors is still so prevalent.  For this it was good for the pastors to remind people that "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" and that God is in control, not ancestors.  Additionally, as a warm culture, community comes before individuals and so saying "no" is usually not culturally allowed.  However, as we taught that God is the owner and we are the managers, you could see people begin to process the need to establish boundaries. 

The women bow so low...
One woman in particular, named Lily, gave a testimony about action that she took the day of that class.  Lily was spending so much on food and provisions every month and it was beginning to break down her business.  She knew that the main cause was her sister who would always come to her house and help herself.  Lily couldn't figure out how to tell her sister "no," but after this class, she decided to pick up a padlock on her way home to lock her fridge.  She decided that she needed to better manage her resources, to love her sister but not enable her.  The next day as Lily was on her way to our training, her sister called and declared she was on her way to Lily's house. Lily didn't say anything to her about the padlock and we all wondered what the reaction would be when Lily came home.  But in an environment that is somewhat conflict avoidant, there ended up being no conversation about it and Lily gave a testimony at the end of the week that she feels so much better about being able to protect her business and even have a healthier relationship with her sister because of this boundary! 

At the commissioning service, which was such a joyful event with so many people, the Marketplace Ministers made the following personal commitment verbally in the presence of many witnesses.  I think this is something that many of us could also take, whether we own a business or work in a business:

The Marketplace Ministers

Personal Commitment: 
  • I will do business with joy and thankfulness because it is a means of providing for my family.
  • I will seek wise counsel and work to implement what I learn.
  • I will do research before starting a new business to make sure I am able to meet a real need in the community.
  • I will treat others in the same way I want to be treated.
  • I will look not only to my interest but also to the interest of others.
  • I will learn everything I can about my potential market.
  • I will be faithful in the little things.
  • I will be actively involved in my community and look for ways to bless it.
  • I will have competitive and fair prices. Repeat business is my goal.
  • I will be truthful.
  • I will keep good records and nurture the business.
  • I will seek to do everything with integrity and excellence.
  • I will remember that people are more important than money.
  • I will plan realizing there are factors beyond my control that will benefit and hinder the business.
  • I will witness and reach out in love and respect to my Muslim neighbors, friends and customers.
  • I will use the business as a bridge to reach Muslims so that they can see the love of Jesus Christ in my all-daily life.