This post originally appeared on Convene’s blog.
“…so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” — Acts 19:10
This may be one of the most stunning scriptures documenting the growth of the early church. In just two years, an entire province—of which historians calculate having a population of over 8 million people—was reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Was it through evangelists and disciplers of the likes of Billy Graham? Or a striking combination of the two—specifically the Apostle Paul and his young apprentice, Timothy?
I’d hard press you that is wasn’t just a few evangelists, disciplers, or a band of both who reached the province of Asia in just two years. A movement of God of this magnitude can only be traced back to the Body of Christ fully living out their unique God-given gifts and talents to see the Father’s heart for all people extend to their entire region. It was the day laborers, servants, stay-at-home moms, politicians, businessmen, and more who were so captured by the love of Christ that they couldn’t help but speak about Him to their far-reaching networks.
But this movement in Ephesus to the uttermost part of Asia happened in the first century, which begs the question: Is it possible to reach entire regions of the gospel in such a short time?
I believe the answer is a resounding, “yes.”
By surveying headlines around the world today, it comes as no surprise that large swaths of the globe are closed to Christian missions … but their doors are wide open for business.
Insert the blending of business and the Great Commission.
It’s here—by merging the abilities of believing business men and women and the heart of God for all nations—that the ever-growing world of exports and imports can be purposed to spread the gospel, make disciples, and plant churches. By leveraging business opportunities to deliver simple, biblical, reproducible tools to evangelize, disciple, and start churches, there’s potential for millions living in unreached areas to be impacted by the good news of Jesus Christ in short periods of time.
East-West is witnessing how business can and is paving the way to rapidly multiplying church planting movements through what we call “Business Accelerating Movement” or “BAM” for short.
A Modern-Day Case Study
Santoso was desperate. His son was held captive within his home due to a mysterious illness. Even with medicine, he rarely felt well enough to venture into his village.
Compelled by love, Santoso* was willing to go to great lengths for his son’s healing and visited multiple doctors, religious men, and spiritualists in search of a cure. None of them could identify his son’s disease … much less heal him.
After depleting his wealth and seeking help from people outside of his Hindu faith, Santoso’s only glimmer of hope came from a prophecy—healing will come to your family in 15 years.
So the wait began.
Seventeen years had passed when an East-West national partner and missionary entered Santoso’s unreached region of Southeast Asia and came searching for opportunities to pray for those in need—specifically people in search of physical healing. The plight of Santoso’s son was known throughout the local villages, and one man insisted he escort the missionaries to his home.
Miles later, they arrived at Santoso’s doorstep and were welcomed into his home. Santoso shared his son’s story and his deep desire to see him healed. The national partner and missionary entered the son’s room, laid their hands on him, and prayed for miraculous restoration in Jesus’ Name. Then they left the village.
The missionary team returned to Santoso’s home two weeks later. The sight before them was stunning. Santoso’s son was walking!
They eagerly approached the home and soon learned he had stopped taking his medicine. After nearly two decades, their wait was over. God had begun to heal the ailments in Santoso’s son … but that was just the start of a deeper transformation.
Prior to witnessing his son’s healing, Santoso was opposed to the Christian message. He was a devoted Hindu, but the miracle he witnessed firsthand opened his heart and mind to hear more about Jesus. The national partner and missionary sat with them to share the gospel. Days later, Santoso appeared at one of the field worker’s home in the city … sharing that he had come to believe Jesus was His risen Savior and Lord. And God wasn’t done healing this community.
Because Santoso and his son were known throughout the region, their story of healing spread fast—invoking curiosity and interest. The miraculous power tied to the Name of Jesus had caught the attention of their neighbors.
But a problem arose in continuing ministry in this region. Frequent visits from outsiders drew unwanted suspicion around their reasons for being in the area. After prayerful consideration, the missionary team determined that conducting business with Santoso’s community was the best way to ensure longevity in their work, so they partnered with local farmers to begin sharecropping.
Since then, the East-West national partner and missionary have been able to frequently visit Santoso for the purpose of discipleship and the first church has launched in his village.
A Sustainable Platform for Church Planting and More
Santoso’s story is just the start of what we hope blossoms into a vibrant church planting movement that changes his community and beyond. And it stands a chance to do just that because the community, missionaries and new believers all benefit from the growing farming business.
This is the ultimate goal of BAM: making disciples of Jesus and gathering them into church communities that multiply exponentially. Through leveraging business for missions, we hope to…
- Help Communities in Poverty: Locally owned and operated businesses give community members opportunities to earn livable wages and end cycles of poverty.
- Support National Partners: National partners and their communities are supported by the income generated by kingdom-purposed businesses.
- Access to Countries and Communities: Establishing legitimate businesses allows for long-term visas and gives missionaries opportunities to engage unreached people groups.
- Funds for Church Planting Movements: Profits from cash flow positive businesses are used to sustain church plants.
But the beauty behind BAM doesn’t end there.
One of the things that excites me most is how BAM engages all facets of the missions movement—from senders to workers. Believers in business can use their knowledge and skills to impact remote or bustling parts of the world. National partners can fund their ministry. Missionaries can have a viable and believable platform to stay long-term.
And through it all, the gospel spreads and transforms lives for eternity.