Thursday, March 23, 2006

Business As Mission Reading List

Below is a reading list (most with a short review) I've compiled over the last few years surrounding the topic of using business as mission. I hope you will find it useful if you are interested in this topic. Have you read any of these books? If so, which one did you like best and what did you like or dislike about it?

God is At Work: Transforming People and Nations Through Business by Ken Eldred

This book is the most recent (2005) encouraging the movement of Business as Mission. It lays out a good biblical basis and history for this movement and discusses the prime opportunities for using business as mission in the world today.

Business As Mission: Occasional Paper No. 59 (2005)

This extensive paper was produced by an Issue Group for this topic at the 2004 Forum for global evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. This group identified Business As Mission as one of the primary issues / topics to discuss and emphasize in evangelizing today’s world.

On Kingdom Business: Transforming Missions Through Entrepreneurial Strategies Tetsunao Yamamori (Editor)

This book is what inspired me to write up a case study of the work my team and I did in Jinja, Uganda (that I shared at the workshop) The book proposes a new model for using business in missions: kingdom entrepreneurship. Kingdom entrepreneurs are "job-makers," starting for-profit businesses of all sizes--real businesses that meet real needs. This book provides a conceptual foundation for kingdom entrepreneurship and explores its contemporary development using case studies of kingdom businesses and reflecting on the lessons kingdom entrepreneurs have already learned. Yamamori has other good books on this topic as well.

Kingdom Business: The Ministry of Promoting Economic Activity by David Befus

Befus has a lot of Latin American economic development ministry experience and shares it well in this book

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider

This book gives a great Biblical basis for why Christians should be concerned for the poor in the world. He provides lots of great stats to emphasize the disparity and lack of justice throughout the world. Sider has been highly criticized as an economist though.

Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen

Won Nobel Prize for this material. Approaches development from the perspective that we should strive to give access to appropriate “freedoms” to the poor of the world. Political freedom, freedom from hunger, lack of healthcare, etc.

Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development by Bryant L. Myers

Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster

Great book that encourages Christians to strive for the spiritual discipline of simplicity and to ensure our comfort is based on God and not material things. This is important both in the developed and developing worlds.

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

Friedman contrasts the world as it existed in the days of the Cold War to that of the phenomenon of today’s globalization.

When Corporations Rule the World by David Korten

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits by C.K. Prahalad

Great book! For those interested in more of the “how to do business in the developing world” aspect of this topic, this is a great start to that field. It discusses the vast opportunities available but how businesses will have to completely rethink business models to be successful in the developing world. And by doing so, it not only benefits the business but those in poverty as well.

Economic Development: Theory and Practice for a Divided World by Stuart R. Lynn, 2003. Introductory textbook for multicultural economic development field that I've used teaching Harding on-line MBA classes.

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else by Hernando DeSoto

DeSoto raises the idea that one of the key differences between the developed and developing capitalistic countries is that the developed countries have access to capital through a formal legal property system and developing countries do not.

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs

Sachs is world renowned for his global work advising world leaders and economies in crisis. After 25 years in the field he has put together this vision for the keys to economic success and his steps necessary to achieve that success.

Additional Websites / Organizations Bono of U2’s organization. Bono spent a couple of months at an orphanage in Ethiopia that inspired his work of today. Specific info on debt in developing countries More on debt relief Recent U.S. Government enactment for responsible international development This is my former mission team’s website that has been reconstructed recently with lots of good new information. It has a few articles I wrote from my involvement in Christian economic development initiatives there. Missions’ websites and newsletters from developing countries are generally a great resource to learn more about the daily struggles of those in developing countries – a more micro level look at poverty. You can find several good Missions links at

Team Expansion is a Christian Church based missions organization focusing on unevangelized countries and not afraid to use business as part of their missions approach.

Christian Missionary Fellowship, International is also a Christian Church based missions organization with a great and successful history. It encourages and looks for opportunities for business, medical, or any lay Christians to do what they are good at on the mission field.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tulsa Workshop

Next week is Tulsa Workshop. It is an amazing event with a 3 decade plus history now. I attended the 2nd Tulsa Workshop as a 6 year old. I hung out at my Dad's booth and had a blast running around the massive Expo Building at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. Those first few years I enjoyed being the son of the lead singer of the Lighthouse Quartet. I still have their 8 track stashed away somewhere. When I was 12 I heard Ronnie White preach on Friday night at the Pavilion and I decided that I wanted the same God that was on David's side against Goliath on my side for the rest of my life. I confessed Jesus and was baptized that night. Over the following years through high school and college I was always inspired by individuals who would dream big in their serving God throughout the world. Tulsa Workshop was a big influence in me going to Africa. What's so amazing to me about the workshop is how so many people from different backgrounds come together focused on Christ and absorbing the fellowship as best they can. Not everyone agrees with each other on everything but I'm convinced that the Spirit of God has been present and will be present again this year. Whenever people meet in God's presence good things are going to happen. I'm excited to be with thousands of people again this year "for the good of the world and to the glory of God."

This year also marks a first for me at the workshop. I' ve been given an opportunity to speak about these things I've been talking about here on this blog. My title is "God is at Work: Business People on the Mission Field." I intend to share about recent non-traditional business missionaries that have made and are making a difference in the world. We need to be more intentional about getting Spirit led people good at business, engineering, IT, even lawyers to go and preach Christ through their actions. What a great way to complement those that are so good at preaching Christ through sermons and traditional church work.

Over this next week I'll be posting on this site several resources I have found that speak to this idea. If this interests you, please check back in.

For now, I'd love to hear who is coming to the Workshop this year and where you're from or if you can't come, maybe you can share a Tulsa Workshop memory you have from the past.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Adam Langford

Adam Langford, a Kibo fellow, has now been in Uganda for over 2 months. Below are Adam's insights to adjusting to daily life in Uganda.

Greetings from Jinja, Uganda

I am beginning to feel settled. Life and ministry are starting to slow down a bit and I am beginning to find my rhythm. I have been blessed in the month of February with no major events. I have had numerous days that I think I can now call normal. I want to thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement as I have been hurrying to get life to slow down to a normal pace.

While my life has been relatively uneventful, Uganda as a country as been very eventful. Uganda has been experiencing a serious drought for the past several months. This has lead to receding water levels in Lake Victoria, which has lead to a decrease in power produced by the two hydroelectric dams here in Jinja, which in return has lead to a lot of very dark and boring nights for all of East Africa. Since February 1st the electricity at my brother Ben’s house (where I have been living) comes and goes every 24 hours. Every other night we have been scrambling to cook dinner before the power goes off (which happens anywhere from 5:30-9:00pm). We have had several nights where we have to throw away half browned meat or almost
baked chicken. I did the same load of laundry four different times because I keep getting caught in the middle of the spin cycle. We find ourselves sitting around candle light, wondering if we can justify going to sleep at 8:05pm. It has been horribly frustrating and incredibly boring.

However, my view on the power situation was changed a couple of weeks ago when my teammate Mark Manry and I were talking to two Ugandan friends of ours. They were asking us what we were going to do that night and Mark said that it depends on when the power goes out. Both the Ugandans instantly burst into laughter. Confused, Mark and I inquired into what was so funny. Tom, one of the Ugandans, stopping laughing long enough to ask, “You let the power dictate your program for the evening?”

Suddenly the contrast between Tom and I’s perceptions of the basics in life hit me like a load of bricks. Americans are blessed to the point of being cursed. The luxuries that I experience as everyday norms have lured me into utter dependence upon them. Dependence to the point that when they are taken from me I don’t know what to do. TV, computers, cars, planes, healthcare, retirement accounts, education, money, and even electricity are all luxuries that I depend on where as most of the world goes without. The lack of power still irritates me, but every time it goes out I am now reminded that there are only a few things we really need to survive on earth, and there is only One that we need to truly live.

Uganda held there Presidential elections last month. This was a very exciting and anxious time for the entire country. In America, during Presidential elections we live under the assumption that the worst thing that can happen is a scandal that will lead to angry protests that could get violent and media overexposure that might make Larry King tired of talking (see Bush vs Gore, Florida 2000). In Uganda, it appears that America’s worst case scenario is the norm when it comes to choosing a President. Which means the worst case scenario here goes something like this; coup d’etat, civil war, and ending with a tyrant dictatorship for almost a decade (see Idi Amin, 1971-79). While most of the hype around this election was in fact hype, our team laid low during election day and a couple of days after. God blessed this ountry with a peaceful election. Was it fair? I don’t know. Did the right person win? I don’t know. I do know this though, before the elections I asked a friend of mine, who is a very intelligent man, who he was going to vote for. He told me he was voting for useveni, the incumbent. I asked why. He said, “because Museveni doesn’t kill eople.” To which I replied, “Well, that’s an interesting political platform.”

I hurt daily for this country. How can they ever pull themselves out of there current impoverished state when they base there reasoning for electing there most important leader on rather they think he will or will not kill people. May God bless his country as it struggles forward. May God continue to protect it with a blanket of peace. During the month of March, my teammate Mark Manry and I are taking over the responsibility of managing The Source of Life Café & Resource Center. The Source is a redemptive business that was started by our former teammates to be an outreach to the community and to create resources for the churches in Busoga. It includes an eatery, internet café, library, computer training center, craft store, and coffee business. Moses Kimeze, our current manager is taking a well deserved holiday (vacation). This will give me the opportunity to really learn the ins and outs of the business. I will then be more capable of working with Moses and other Ugandans to continue to improve the Source not only as a business, but as an outreach to the community and a resource to the entire movement in Busoga. I was very excited two weeks ago when Moses asked me and Mark if we could take over his responsibilities during March. My excitement quickly subsided after I followed Moses around for a couple of days so he could show me the enormous amount of responsibility he carries. However, I still welcomed the challenge. That is until Mark reminded me that he would be out of town for the first 10 days in March, at which time my excitement turned into nervous panic.

On March 1st, my first day of work, I woke up early. Not to make sure I was there in time or because I couldn’t sleep. I woke up early because I was sick, really sick. My nervousness left me and panic remained. As usually happens, it worked out fine. The Source didn’t burn down, I got better, and things are going on as normal. I am now seven days into the job and I am still overwhelmed. Not with the work itself, but with figuring out what the work is. I find myself having entire conversations of nothing but questions. I am learning a lot though and forming great relationships with the employees. I can already see that this experience will greatly improve my ability to help the Source push forward towards its goals as a business and more importantly, as a ministry. Deep down though, I still hope I don’t accidentally burn the place down.

Things to pray for:

The Source of Life Café & Resource Center.
That God will bless new relationships that I am forming.
That I will learn Lusoga quickly.

God Bless,


Friday, March 10, 2006

Creativity and Hard Work

You've probably heard that power is a big problem in most of Africa. You've also probably heard that many Africans don't work hard, are unskilled and that they lack creativity.

That is not my experience, as this Kenyan man demonstrates.

From my perspective, most Africans just lack opportunity.