How ready are you to be an effective tentmaker? What are your strengths? Where do you need to grow? The following questions have been found highly helpful in predicting tentmaker effectiveness cross-culturally. Don’t worry if you are not effective in every area. No one is. If you are strong in a few key areas and determined to keep growing, God will use you and empower you to keep growing.
These questions are most helpful to help you to see where you need to grow and to make concrete plans to do so. A few specific suggestions follow the questions plus links to more in-depth articles on how to prepare.
For every question rank yourself from a high of 5 to a low of 1.
5 very true 4 basically true 3 somewhat true 2 barely true 1 essentially non-existent
- I have a healthy daily devotional life (30 min or more of Bible study, meditation, prayer).
- I have a strong understanding of the Bible and of Biblical truth.
- I regularly see new insights into Biblical passages and can verify their validity.
- I practice fasting.
- I have a good marriage (spiritually, emotionally and sexually).
- I actively seek opportunities to share Christ verbally vs. just letting my life be a witness.
- I have invested a year or more ministering to International students or immigrants nearby.
- I practice hospitality and have people, including nonbelievers & internationals in my home regularly.
- I’m committed to integrating work and faith, to living the gospel in all work relationships, and to excellent work vs. just using my job to witness.
- I witness to and seek to reach my natural contacts at work.
- I keep taking risks to learn how to awaken spiritual interest at work vs. believing that “it can’t be done.”
- I have led an evangelistic Bible study with non-believers.
- I have personally led people into ongoing relationship with Christ & some have become good friends.
- I have led these new believers into real discipleship to Christ.
- I have developed and led a growing small group.
- I have a clear strategy for planting a simple church.
- I am willing to take risks, committed to eating foods the local people serve/eat and to learning the language/culture.
- I work through conflict to positive reconciliation vs. ignoring it or imposing my way on others.
- I have been/am being discipled by someone more mature in the Lord.
- I have mobilized others to go cross-culturally for the gospel.
Brief suggestions for growth & preparation:
This is a brief list of starter ideas for growth. The article links at the end provide a longer checklist for preparation and an extensive article which explains the whole checklist fully.
- List areas to work on and put them in some kind of priority order. Launch an action plan to work on the first area. Then later, do the same with the second area. Ideas follow below.
- Download and study the Tentmaking 101 papers from http://globalopps.org/101.
- Work on the vitality, regularity, and length of your daily devotional life as needed. Learn to feed yourself on the Bread of Life and to enjoy and rest in God.
- Strengthen your personal Bible study skills and repertoire. Find and study good materials on inductive Bible study. InterVarsity Press has some excellent inductive Bible study resources and IVCF offers some excellent Bible study training like the Mark Manuscript study. See if you can attend even if you are past college.
- Attend a GO Tentmaking Seminar to gain further direction and encouragement.
- Work on your workplace witness skills, intentionally seeking to draw seekers into a seeker Bible study designed just for them.
- Attend GO Equipped!, GO’s tentmaking course as soon as possible.
- Take a Perspectives course in your area, the single best course on missions available.
- Lead an investigative, seeker Bible study where seekers discover Jesus for themselves from the text.
- Find immigrants or International students and get involved in friendship and ministry with them. Look for an International student outreach at a local university through ISI, IVCF, or a church.
- Open your home and heart to people in frequent hospitality.
- Develop a seeker Bible study among your immigrant or International friends.
- Find good books, a godly couple, and possibly a small group to deepen your marriage and family.
- As people come to Christ, consider developing a discipleship Bible study group to disciple them.
- Study some good books on simple church planting (“house” churches versus complex, institutional churches) which can grow out of discipleship groups which, in turn, grow out of seeker groups. See GO’s website for suggested reading. If possible, get involved in this kind of church planting.
- Begin researching jobs in your field around the world to see what skills are needed, how to expand what you can offer, where God might lead, and how to frame your CV/résumé.
- Begin developing a support team and discipling people in tentmaking in your church.
- Begin recruiting others to go with you.
- Ask God to connect you with Christians doing these things. Feel free to ask GO staff for input.
Further help: Steps to Tentmaking and Preparation for Work and Witness are paired articles which give more extensive help in preparing.