Missions Catalyst 09.14.05 – Practical Mobilization

In This Issue: Readers Respond to ‘Working in the Most Wonderful Places’

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Practical Mobilization by Shane Bennett is published once a month.

Readers Respond to ‘Working in the Most Wonderful Places’

By Shane Bennett

In the August edition of Practical Mobilization I asked about the possibilities of Christians intentionally pursuing their profession in cities full of unreached peoples. The feedback was varied and insightful. Turns out a lot of folks have been thinking about this and working on the issues surrounding this idea. Here are some of the particularly helpful responses.

In the area of wise caution and warning, Mert says, “It takes time to make disciples, time to pray, study, seek, encourage, meet, and travel. For new life to occur, life must be given. A reproduced life requires intimacy, first with God, then with the world. We are the seed. No time, no fruit. No fruit, no point. If the seed isn’t in the soil, it will never bear produce. If the seed never dies to self-survival, it will remain alone.” This taps the huge question, “How does our use of the precious time God’s allotted affect his kingdom?” Is there work and ministry? Or are they connected more than we imagine. These are fascinating ideas to consider, but beyond the scope of this blurb. Google “business as mission” to begin or further your wrestling match with this.

Chelsea offers this sage advice from Berlin: “Working overseas is a wonderful and challenging experience that I believe many people should try at some point. But please, seriously, do your homework beforehand on the country and culture you are wanting to move to. Don’t make assumptions that can set you up for major discouragement and failure.” Chelsea’s husband is working on a construction contract in Berlin, but she’s seen people move, hoping to find a job, only to return home discouraged in a few months.

Part of the homework we should do, according to Sean, formerly of Indonesia, involves considering what relational opportunities your job will allow. He says, “I know of one person in Indonesia who has background and skills in agriculture and who has a visa working with a government agency as an agricultural consultant for farmers in a large rural area. This is a fabulous job because the people he wants to minister to are all around him and he has contact with them almost every day. And his job helps make their lives better, so just doing it well can minister to people’s needs.”

And while warning us not to forget peoples who live where outsiders will never be employed, a friend in Burkina Faso (gowestafrica.org) illuminates the next mobilization dimension to our seeking jobs overseas, “Once you’ve touched the lives of West Africans in a world-class city, please, please, please, send them back here to share with family and friends! Yes, yes, yes! May God give us grace to connect so deeply with representatives of under-evangelized cultures that we can consider with them the joys, concerns, and godly opportunities of returning to their own peoples.”

Justin wisely points out, “If we want people to succeed in these areas, I think we [should look for] them in the business schools and education arenas of our universities and less in the already tapped seminaries and mission groups. We will need to look for a whole different set of qualifications and possibly a different person than the average person on a two-week trip overseas. We will find ourselves looking less in the traditional mission committees of each church and more in the professional networks of business leaders inside our churches.”

Several readers mentioned resources to help pursue this discussion.

• Walter pointed me to Global Opportunities. If you’re reading this while connected to the web, go to this site right now. Forget the rest of this article. I love this site. Thank you, Walter. Just last night, digging through it, I was tempted to apply for a job in Turkey. If you’re on your way to cross-cultural work, go straight to the “Indepth” section you’ll find on the left side of the main page.

• You may also want to check out IDEAS, an organization facilitating and supporting efforts to help communities of forgotten people via transformational projects and businesses.

Prefer print? (All these books are available from Amazon.com.)

• Consider Great Commission Companies by Rundle and Steffen, and The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

• Werner (Mission ONE) recommends World On Fire by Amy Chua, and The New Global Mission – The Gospel from Everywhere to Everyone by Samuel Escobar.

If you’d like to drink coffee with others considering these issues, consider burning some frequent flyer miles to go to Intersection in the greater Seattle area October 21-22, 2005. If you read Missions Catalyst the moment it drops into your e-mail box, you may still have time to beat the early bird discount registration deadline of September 15.

One final note: Steve writes from Turkey, “Football jobs are good to get here.” Oh, that I had learned to kick as a kid!

Questions? Problems? Submissions? Contact publisher/managing editor Marti Smith.

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