Sunday, November 11, 2012

Faith in the Market Place

If you follow the work of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, you'll hear the term "Pushing Back the Darkness" quite often.  Simply put, the C&MA seeks to have a white-hot passion to take the good news of Jesus (the Light) to the least reached parts (darkest) of the world.  About 2 billion people in the world have not heard.

Bob Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries, says, “I want to use The Alliance as never before to push back the darkness with a sense of urgency for lost people, that those who have not yet been told about the Light will see and those who have not yet heard will understand. This calls for radical engagement and obedience.”

How is this done?  One way to gain access to places where the doors are closed to traditional missionary efforts is through "Marketplace" ministries- believers using their vocational skills (business, medical, social works, etc.) to establish efforts.

Here, in Gabon, a maturing church is starting to consider their role in these efforts.  During a recent visit from Kim Cole and Rodger Merkle, both business owners from our sending church (York Alliance Church- PA), there were several occasions for local believers to engage in forums to discuss this combination of faith and marketplace.

Kim (right) and Rodger were greeted by some national leaders and given a tour of the Bible Institute campus in Libreville.  Pastor Sangoye, the business agent for the international workers, is in the center giving the tour and translating.

On the 30th of October, we had one forum hosted by the Assistant Secretary of the National C&MA church.  Here are some of the participants.

The next evening, we hosted another forum at our home.

We discussed Biblical teaching for business people to consider in their work as well as sharing ideas and advice for very specific business ideas such as transport services and the hotel business.

Everyone present at both events felt that we had just scratched the surface regarding "marketplace" ministry.  There will be great interest in developing this effort and taking things to the next step.

We agreed to take everyone's name and contact information present and to develop a report regarding the meetings we took part in, as well as a plan for the next steps!  The Bureau National will facilitate these initiatives and we hope that there will be additional visits from people like Rodger and Kimmy who will do some idea sharing and praying about how we can Push Back the Darkness with the LIGHT of Jesus.
By 2007, most of the traditional, church-planting, international workers had transitioned from Gabon to other countries.  The maturing national church in Gabon was ready to take the reigns and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be at the point in following the head of The Church, Jesus.  They have, indeed, responded- now sending their own missionaries abroad (5 countries) and to corners of Gabon to people groups where "Light" is needed.  Embracing the "marketplace ministry" paradigm will, again, flow with the move of Pushing Back the Darkness initiatives, with a vision of raising up Gabonese, equipped with vocational skills, to take the light to places where Westerners cannot.

Please continue to pray for disciple-making efforts like this and Bongolo Hospital (medical training)- the Gabonese church is at work revealing the only true Light in a dark world.

No comments:

Post a Comment