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September 29, 2011Missiology

Thursday is for Turkey: Interview with an M (Pt. 4)

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series.

This is my final post from the M in Central Asia. We've already seen the uniqueness of ministering in the secularized, nominally Muslim country where he is located. He also told us about how M's are required to minister across Central Asia: through business. Today, we'll look about how churches can be involved in partnerships across the area in general and his country in particular.

Tell me more, particularly how churches can be involved.

Yeah, here's a main point I want to make. The people we primarily need are the ordinary people in the pew of the churches back in the States. This is not a professional clergy undertaking. This is a well-trained professional kind of undertaking - teacher, professor, engineer, agriculturalist, medical worker, and businessperson. Since we've been here we've gone through stages of realization. The first stage was, "Hey we can get in, anything goes." That didn't last long. We went from there to what I would call the "House of Cards Non-Government Organization". That didn't last long, either. Then we went into solid NGO work, and that lasted for a while. However for many years now, we've been saying the day of the NGO is over. Governments are savvy. They know what's going on. They also have seen, for example, the fact that NGO's were used by the CIA as platforms for work in places like Ukraine and Georgia during the Colour Revolution. That's hardly a help for our cause, huh?

What we've seen now, though, is that for-profit business is acceptable, as long as it's real. It can't be a sham, it has to be a real for-profit business.

So if somebody wanted to adopt a UPG in your country, and build a relationship there, ongoing, leading to the establishment of a congregation, would they have someone come in doing business? Is that even doable?

Yes, absolutely. Let me just give you some examples. Most people simply don't grasp what we actually do out here. The sorts of things that we have people doing - on the side, I'm coaching a sports team, and we have people here who have their visas through sports. We have somebody else coming to be a hunting and fishing guide down on the coast. So, that works perfectly well. We have other people who are doing import-export. We have other people who are doing various kinds of teaching, in a variety of places. We're looking into even something as big as energy production as a way of doing business as mission. We've got professors at universities. In some places, particularly in Afghanistan, we're doing more traditional NGO operations like medicine and education.

But for most of the areas where we are English, tourism, import-export, and sports have the biggest impact. Just like in the states, sports are huge. We could do so much more with sports than we are doing because it's readily accepted. Now, when I say that, there is no point in anyone wanting to come to this part of the world to teach soccer, because they're better than we are! On the other hand, one of the things that I've promoted in Latin America is that if I could get a Brazilian to come teach soccer, that's golden. That would be like an NBA player coming to work in a high school basketball camp.

What we need also are skilled business people, because we have folks who are already here who are not necessarily business savvy. The ideal thing for us would be solid real businesses in America, run by believers from our churches, who would be willing to open branch offices in some of the places we need to get workers.

You're really talking not just about a Great Commission Company, but a company on the Great Commission.

Absolutely. And what we're looking at is, as a business, we need to at least break even. We're not looking to keep something going artificially, because government officials audit just as well as anybody else does. They know if something shouldn't continue to exist. So, we need stuff that actually works, that's real business. I am of the personal conviction that it ought to be normal for the average businessperson in the average church to be fully capable of sharing the gospel, discipling believers, and training leaders. They ought to be as solidly theologically trained as anybody, and as ministry trained, because what I see here, as a businessman here in this country, is that I have far, far more opportunities to share the gospel than I ever did as a pastor in America.

If you are interested in connections in Turkey, please contact Larry McCrary at info@theupstreamcollective.org. For a business as mission network you may also want to look at www.skybridgecommunity.net.

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Thursday is for Turkey: Interview with an M (Pt. 4)