Have you ever made a tent? Probably not. You may have put one up in your backyard or even gone camping and put one up. However, actually making one…well, that’s not something 99% of us would know the first thing about.
If you’ve read the New Testament, you would know that Paul made tents as a means to support himself during his missionary journeys.
Tentmaker.biz defines today’s tentmaker’s:
A TENTMAKER IS A MISSION-MINDED BUSINESS OWNER, EMPOWERED BY GOD TO USE THEIR SKILLS AND RESOURCES TO PROCLAIM CHRIST IN THE WORKPLACE.
Tentmaking in evangelical circles is not a foreign term, but usually brings to mind a person supporting themselves while doing missionary work. The Business as Missions movement is working to re-define tentmaking as not just a means to support yourself, but as a means of evangelism by bringing paying jobs to a village and setting a remarkable example of Christian entrepreneurship. The daily exposure to a boss that personifies Christ is changing lives all over the world.
Despite large donations to missionary efforts, businessmen have often been put at the bottom of the spiritual totem pole. The fact that their primary aim for doing business is profit somehow carries with it a negative spiritual image regardless of their character or personal beliefs.
Granted, there are many, many, greedy businessmen (and women) whose focus is only on the bottom line, but let’s put them aside for now. Let’s talk about the people that deeply love God and have a gift for creating jobs and meeting needs through business.
I have personally known pastors that have left successful businesses to become a pastor of a church or a missionary, thinking it is the only way to truly serve God. Unfortunately, many of these same men found they weren’t cut out to be a pastor or missionary and returned to their businesses – unfortunately with a deep sense of failure. God had yet to reveal how business can be a ministry!
Are you called to pastor a church business?
If those same businessmen could have networked with other men like themselves, they may have discovered their calling was to pastor – not a church, but a business. Think about it, not only could they use their gifts for the glory of God, but they can meet some of the deepest economic needs of an individual while giving them opportunity to offer the gospel to people that would never set foot in a church. Called to be a pastor of a business – quite a paradigm shift, isn’t it?
The Business as Mission Network, (now called “Work As Worship”)started by Justin Forman, is at the forefront of this movement, and we have featured several blog posts on the BAM Network. I believe Justin said it best:
The most overlooked opportunity in the Church today is for Pastors and business leaders see work as an opportunity for worship. And sadly, I think too many business leaders have grown accustomed to “outsourcing” their faith to “professional pastors” and paying the pastor to do “real ministry”. We’ve lost sight of the simple idea that God is glorified when we use our God given passions and skills with excellence.
The essence of Business as Missions has been (so far) starting businesses in areas overseas, bringing the gospel along with much needed jobs and commerce. The day to day exposure of a town to a business that is run by Kingdom Principles for the purpose of bringing glory to God will appear nothing short of amazing to the locals.You will have evangelical opportunities that often take traditional missionaries years to develop.
Your Backyard Mission Field
Homeschool Entrepreneur would like to encourage you to consider the mission field in your backyard. That could include your neighbors or your townspeople and anyone else that you could help by giving a job. With the most basic skills and the smallest business, setting the example either by being a Godly boss or working with excellence is a witness that shines brighter than any of the most carefully chosen spoken words.
How Does This Apply To Me?
By now I am sure you are wondering how this applies to you and your homeschooling family. No, I’m not asking you to go to Uganda with your family and start a business. How many of you have shyed away from doing missions work because you can’t bring yourself to the necessary “business” raising of funds? I thought so. You are not alone.
Have you considered starting a home business for the sole purpose of raising funds for missionaries of your choosing? Consider it an ideal homeschool project, teaching entrepreneurial skills while raising funds for spreading the gospel-and giving your family an experience that they will never forget.
As Christian parents, one of our main objectives is to raise children to the glory of God. Entrepreneurial training will give them tentmaking skills in whatever path they follow. Starting a small home business to raise funds for any worthy agency or church will ‘train up’ their view of business with a new focus.
Education To The Glory of God
A focus on all work as “Kingdom Work” is the core of what we consider the “Entrepreneurial Mindset”. It’s not facts or figures or coursework forgotten the minute the assignments are finished. It’s a way of life, a way of looking at the world through a different lense.
If your family isn’t ready to start a business yet, doing a unit study on the Business as Missions concept is a great alternative. The Business as Missions Network has an excellent list of the top 25 books on the subject and can be found at: http://www.businessasmissionnetwork.com/2007/07/top-25-business-as-mission-books.html
Business as Missions Training
There is another website by the BAM Network that offers training in this area you can check out here:
I hope to continue this discussion soon with more ideas and ways can use to start a BAM and tell you about some of the work that Youth With a Mission is doing in this arena.
I would love to hear comments on this paradigm shift in evangelism – do you think it’s a viable means of spreading the gospel? Or do you think it’s an ideal not easily applied to real life? Comment below!
Update April 2016: Check out >>“Work As Worship Network”