Missionary to Entrepreneur
April 14, 2011
I knew when I titled this blog “Journey of Beginnings”, it was appropriate for our lives. We are again embarking on a new adventure of starting a new business selling girl’s clothing to families in Taiwan. Having majored in Bible for undergrad and armed with an MA in Theology from seminary, the minor detail that gets shuffled away in my life is the fact that I got 40 credit hours of business classes in college. That’s right, I was a double major. Always felt the need to cram more than one project in my life. Thus the ulcer. But that’s for a different post.
There was this guy in our class at Wheaton College who always had a bright smile on his face and his love for Jesus was so vibrant and alive that we gave him the nickname Jesus Josh. Jesus Josh carried a Bible wherever he went, encouraged others with Bible verses, thrived in Student Missionary Projects, and was the poster boy for World Christian Fellowship. Well, I wanted to be Jesus Cindy, and having roomed with an amazing godly girl from China and dated a guy with a love for China, I decided being an “M” in China was my path. A path which was subsequently fiercely pursued and blazed in my twenties. My time in China and being outside the Wheaton bubble deconstructed some of the glorified ideals that were imprinted in my young mind through those mountaintop worship experiences at WCF (though my generation will always lament the fact we barely missed the revival). Namely, becoming a missionary was the epitome of the Christian experience.
Turns out being a missionary just makes you really socially awkward and odd. At least in our experience. What do you do for a living? Um, we, uh, hang out with people? How do you make a living? Um, uh, family and friends, uh, give money in return for newsletters. You’re how old and you’re still in language school? We, uh, see language learning as part of identifying with your culture.
As we thought about how to be relevant in China, we slowly came to the realization we will fight an uphill battle impacting the mainstream culture as long as we’re on the fringe. Our theology also continued to take shape as we pondered whether evangelism was the epitome of being faithful. Were we doomed to live this socially awkward, fringe behavior missionary lifestyle, if we truly wanted to be faithful to the Good news of Jesus? And from there our perspective of the gospel expanded to the model of bringing in the Kingdom of God. Is it possible that teachers, doctors, lawyers, migrant workers, vendors, non profit workers, businessman, and those in political office can be JUST as faithful in their role in the Kingdom of God as the almighty missionaries?
I think most people would agree the answer to the above question is a resounding yes, but there are not resources and literature to help equip this group of Christians. We’ve learned to be Christians on Sundays but not on Mondays through Saturdays. I hope our new adventure on being entrepreneurs will be a time of exploration in how to be faithful business people who see their vocation as an endeavor to participate in the Kingdom of God.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way saying there is no place for missionaries, pastors, and full time ministry workers. They are my heroes for doing what they do and I was honored to have been a part of that community. What I am trying to debunk is the myth one must be a part of that community in order to be a faithful Christian.