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Business + Mission = Kingdom Opportunity

When Barry Moorehead embarked on a career in banking, he never envisioned he’d one day sit in a classroom on the other side of the world, helping a South Asian woman refine her stall-fed goat farm business. Or that it would be one of the best experiences of his life.

“It was powerful, even cathartic,” Barry said. “To think that what God has me doing in America, I can do in other places. There is actually a need for a Christian banker on the mission field. The potential for this type of ministry is huge.”

Business as Mission
In fact, Barry Moorehead and his friend John Boone, who also earned an MBA and works in commercial real estate, had no idea that such a ministry even existed. When their missions pastor at Oak Mountain Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Ala., invited the two men to travel to South Asia with MTW’s Business as Mission ministry, they expected that this missions experience would involve physical labor and rough living conditions. But this trip looked different.

While in South Asia last August, John and Barry wore business clothes, stayed in a hotel, and participated in a business course for entrepreneurs at the Business Development Center (BDC), which MTW recently launched in partnership with a major U.S. university and a local business. The business course equips South Asian entrepreneurs with solid business principles rooted in the Word of God, as well as hands-on field experience and one-on-one mentoring.

John and Barry came in as “visiting executives,” a title that made the two men chuckle, but one that earned them respect among the South Asian businessmen and women enrolled in the course. They spent their time meeting with local entrepreneurs (whose businesses ranged from a day care, to a window-washing business, to a website design company, and yes, a goat farm), reviewing business plans, and discussing how their faith impacts their work.

One of the highlights of the trip for Barry was working with a South Asian pastor/businessman who had never considered what it meant to be a businessman for Christ. “In [South Asia] they see their lives in segments: business, religion, family, and so on,” Barry said. “I asked him, ‘How as a window washer can you represent Christ?’ and then we talked about what that might look like. It was eye opening for the pastor that he could be a witness as a businessman.”

A Win-Win-Win The purpose of the Business Development Center is multi-faceted. First, it helps entrepreneurs develop businesses. That, in turn, helps their families and helps the community. And it enables believers to support the church financially so that it can one day become self-sustaining, while also helping them to employ other believers. One of the entrepreneurs already employs Christians and pays them a fair wage, and is working on hiring five unemployed men from one of MTW’s partner churches. And then there’s the relational aspect. Church members and missionaries are able to build relationships with nonbelievers who receive business training at the Center.

The Business as Mission ministry, is excited about the long-range potential for this ministry and others like it. “Business is ministry,” John said. “Doing your job with a kingdom mindset is ministry in and of itself.” John feels that believers both in the U.S. and overseas can do a better job of living this out. “We’re taking that principle and applying it to global missions.”

Combining Passions Both John and Barry are eager to go back. “We’d love to be an ongoing part of the BDC. It’s a fantastic tool to allow believers to minister and to thrive in business,” said John. “I could not recommend it any more highly. Not only does it challenge your faith, but what you’re doing is essential.” 

Barry said he’s never before felt so used of God. “In the short time we were there, I was able to make a meaningful contribution. I’ve been a banker for 27 years and I’ve never been able to mix my passion for missions with banking. This just fit so naturally,” said Barry. “Being able to use your profession for missions is a powerful experience.”

Another businessperson looking forward to what lies ahead is South Asian entrepreneur Asha. After reviewing the top five presentations, local judges declared Asha the winner of the BDC’s business plan competition. In addition to the course’s top honor, Asha also received a $6,000 interest-free loan she can use to help grow her business. This business will provide an income, which will help Asha support her family, which will enable her husband to devote more time to ministry, which will help grow the Church, by the grace of God.

It looks like God has chosen to use a goat farm to help build His kingdom in South Asia, along with a couple of businessmen from Alabama.

Share your valuable skills with up-and-coming entrepreneurs in developing countries, or with business professionals in more developed contexts. You don’t have to be an expert! Visit mtw.org/BAM.


Melanie Benedict Feb 12, 2013
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