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MAY 26, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Forbidden to proselytize!
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. Rom 13:1
“When we obey the rules and laws of a nation, even though they may restrict or forbid proselytizing, God will open an even greater opportunity for the gospel than if we break the laws of the land.”
The above quote is from a recently returned tentmaker from the northern Asia region. Officials are aggressively trying to stop Christian expatriates from proselytizing and even spending time with locals outside of work hours.
So how does one bring light into the darkness under such conditions?
Dr. Ian Malcolm of Jurassic Park fame said: “Life always finds a way.”
Apparently, God always finds a way when we remain obedient to his Word. Even with officials in classrooms monitoring what was being said and taught by the teacher, the Holy Spirit was at work. Much prayer preceded each day’s teaching, praying for the students and officials by name.
The monitoring officials were rotated every two weeks to keep them from being influenced by a foreign teacher.
Then God stepped in.
For some unknown reason the rotations stopped which meant the same official stayed in the class permanently. He eventually started asking questions that were clearly not permissible which encouraged the students to do the same. This led to more and more open questions about the teachers understanding of God.
After some months of earning the respect of local people and even some authorities, a Bible study group was born right in the classroom. Since Bibles are not permitted in this country, creative methods were used to get the Word into the students hands.
For more on what these “creative methods” are, attend one of our courses.
The door remains wide open for committed, intentional Christian expatriate teachers to bring the Gospel to this least-reached nation. A government-imposed spiritual vacuum is crying for something to fill this void. Let it be Jesus.
MAY 19, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
How does Global Opportunities do member care?
GO is not a sending agency nor does anyone sign up to be our missionary. We are often asked about member care for tentmakers. Are they not vulnerable without a defined and trained support structure when the need arises? Mission agencies can do member care very well, as can sending churches which are often the main source of member care for direct sent tentmakers.
In our decades of mobilizing, equipping and mentoring tentmakers, often to the toughest places on earth, thanks to God, we have been able to effectively deal with the handful of emergencies. Evacuating over 50 tentmakers from Libya on short notice for example, everyone made it home safely although some needed member care that was provided by their sending churches and by the staff at GO.
Currently, GO workers are taking care of a wounded warrior who has suffered tremendously from a vicious physical attack. We have been able to provide a private retreat where his wounds can heal and the process of recovery can begin. Before returning home from the field, he sought out each of his attackers one by one and told them he forgives them. Need we say that this tentmaker is in the middle of seeing multiple bible study groups being born in one of the most hostile to Christianity nations in the world.
Is tentmaking dangerous? This was discussed in a previous Friday Blog (scroll down). We are thankful to God for His protection as only a few out of hundreds have been challenged by physical attacks.
To us at GO, the tentmakers we serve are the greatest heroes we know! Thank you for remembering them in your prayers!
As the interim director of the soon to be renamed Global Opportunities I welcome you to download the job description for the executive director’s position! The staff, board members and our international prayer team are praying that God would speak to His chosen person to come and lead us into the new era of tentmaker mobilization and equipping from the US.
Deadline for applications is June 30, 2017. – Ari J. Rocklin
Sometimes in the ongoing research at Global Opportunities, as we look for relevant articles for course resources, publications, social media and websites, we run into an article worth posting. This is one of the best on the biblical basis of tentmaking I have read in a long time.
Why Did the Apostle Paul Choose to Remain an Entrepreneur? (5 Purposes for Business)
The Apostle Paul wrote approximately 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament, and he is considered one of the most influential people in the history of the world.
At the same time, he was an entrepreneur who made tents for a living.
Like other Jewish men, Paul had been taught this trade as a boy, and he was also taught how to make money with it. Because tents were used primarily to provide housing for soldiers, it is likely that the Roman army was Paul’s largest customer (that’s a business ethics question for another blogpost).
Paul didn’t give up his business venture when he started serving Jesus. Instead, this entrepreneurial, tent-making enterprise was a key element of his apostolic ministry.
Referring to his profit-generating endeavors, Paul told the Thessalonians, to “follow our example” (2 Thess. 3:7, 9). He said that it is “a model for you” (2 Thess. 3:9).
Why did Paul include this “example” and “model” of entrepreneurship as a key aspect of his ministry? I’ll offer five reasons. These serve as five purposes for being in business as a Christian, all of which are for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 – To be relevant in the culture
2 – To provide for other people’s needs
3 – To teach personal discipline
4 – To build strategic friendships
5 – To stay flexible and available to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
The portable nature of Paul’s tent-making business allowed him to transact business and make money anywhere he traveled. Because he controlled the means of production in his business, he was able to remain flexible and available to go wherever the Holy Spirit led him on his missionary journeys.
When you can write your own paycheck, you don’t have to ask for permission to move from an employer or from a board. When the Holy Spirit says it’s time to transition, you simply can follow His leading.
Darren Shearer is the founder and CEO of High Bridge Books, host of Theology of Business Podcast and HBU’s Christianity in Business Podcast, and author of three books including, The Marketplace Christian: A Practical Guide to Using Your Spiritual Gifts in Business and Marketing Like Jesus: 25 Strategies to Change the World.
MAY 5, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
ARE YOU A MISSIONARY?
This is a question tentmakers hear from time to time. The wrong answer could have serious consequences and most likely end up with a not-so-polite demand that they return home.
Perhaps to their church back home, they are definitely seen as missionaries. Bless their hearts, as this definition probably reminds them to pray for their missionary.
If they are with a mission agency, then by definition, they are missionaries.
Can a Christian ever lie? Can they be evasive? Can they simply ignore the question? I like Greg Livingstone’s response to this question.
Thomas Hale, GO Equipped Tentmaking course alumni, has written a thoughtful and timely book called Authentic Lives, on this subject.
Are you concerned about unreached or unengaged peoples? You probably know that their countries do not welcome missionaries, and that followers of Jesus who serve there via traditional sending organizations do not publicize these organizational ties or their church based funding sources. But have you thought through the consequences of keeping that information hidden? Authentic Lives will help you do that—and more. And if those consequences trouble you, Authentic Lives suggests ways to minimize them in traditional organizations and also suggests other options for service altogether. The challenges these other options present are also discussed—going without a sending agency is not easy but is sometimes best nonetheless.
Introduction: The Problem of Hidden Identity
PART I: Hidden Identity versus Integrated Identity
- Governments and Their Guests
- Secrecy and Privacy, Honesty and Integrity
PART II: Practical Suggestions
5. Support Groups
PART III: Theological and Conceptual Foundation
6. Key Concepts That Led to the Hidden-Identity Approach
7. Theological Foundations for a Modified Mission
APRIL 28, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
I recently spent time with Hank, a returned tentmaker from North Africa with a passion for music. During his time there he realized that new believers did not have home grown worship music, but were importing modern western songs with a very different style and beat compared to their heart music. It just sounded wrong.
He shared a story of another tentmaker who had been asked to teach his new underground church worship songs from the west. The tentmaker was horrified at this idea, since his vision was to plant a church of the culture, not a western import.
He had suggested to the musicians of his house church to set psalms to their traditional style of music. Thus a series of scripture centered songs, with a culturally relatable music style, was born. The new believers “owned” their songs which reinforced to them that the music of their culture is approved by God.
He also emphasized that bringing songs from the west was a form of imperialistic arrogance that led the host nation believers to think that their music was second class and not worthy. Hearing this made me cringe.
His suggestion to new tentmakers going to unreached areas was simply to learn the host culture music style first and then adapt scripture to this music and enjoy making beautiful God honoring songs together.
Hank is now researching ethnomusicology with the intent of teaching the new church of North Africa how to develop and compose music that is culturally acceptable.
This brought back memories of our time as tentmakers in Taiwan, when I wrote a song for the new believers in our home called “We ask for Taiwan, in Jesus name”. It inspired the young new believers to not only pray but also to see that their culture was valuable and loved by God. Years later, this song is being sung as a prayer for their nation.
APRIL 14 & 21, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
If you answered YES to all three questions, I have good news for you!
Eric Liddell, gold medalist in the 1924 Olympics, on whom the movie Chariots of Fire was based, said this:
“I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Eric went on to be a missionary in China and I doubt that he would have stopped running when he got there.
Have you ever felt God’s pleasure when pursuing your activity?
I remember riding my bicycle across the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It was ten days of enjoying God’s splendor up close and slow. After climbing to yet another summit, stopping at the top for a much needed break, I suddenly felt His pleasure. What a feeling that was!
The memory of that moment still makes me smile.
What are you passionate about? I don’t mean your church or your family, but what do you enjoy doing in your downtime? What would you like to be doing but are not finding time to do it? Take a moment to think about it; perhaps make a list including the things you have always wanted to do but have not gotten around to doing.
Then think about how you might be able to include those who don’t know Jesus like you know him into that past time.
The Lesson: Your Passion – His Glory
When we are enjoying our interest, we are also very true to being ourselves. It’s pretty tough to fake it with a bunch of people who are also enjoying their interest. At our tentmaking courses we encourage people to bring their interests with them and allow God to use it for His glory – Your Passion – His Glory!
APRIL 7, 2017 JOB OPPORTUNITIES
I have always been intrigued by Paul’s tentmaker team members, Aquila and Priscilla. We are not privileged to a lot of information about them.
What we do know is that this power couple (Prisquila?) was among the earliest known Christian missionaries in the first century.
Aquila and Priscilla were business people who made tents, and Paul was one of their workers and ministry partners. They had been among the Jews expelled from Rome by the Roman Emperor Claudius in the year 49 as written by Suetonius, and they ended up in Corinth. After Paul had lived with them for approximately 18 months, they set out to accompany him when he proceeded to Syria, but they stopped at Ephesus, now part of modern Turkey.
They are mentioned six times in four different books of the New Testament and are always named as a couple and never individually.
Of those six references, Aquila’s name is mentioned first three times and Priscilla’s name is mentioned first on the other three occasions, which shows them as equals; however Aquila, as the man, is mentioned the very first time, thus being consistent throughout Scripture – the man is usually mentioned always first.
Let me introduce you to a missionary power couple!
- Acts 18:2-3: There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
- Acts 18:18: Paul stayed a while longer in Corinth, but then it was time to take leave of his friends. Saying his good-byes, he sailed for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila with him.
- Acts 18:26:When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and told him the rest of the story.
- Romans 16:4: Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I’m not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.
- 1 Cor 16:19: The churches here in western Asia send greetings. Aquila, Priscilla, and the church that meets in their house say hello.
- 2 Tim 4:19: Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
With their ability and expertise in making tents, a much needed trade in the era, they did not have to raise funds to do missions. A tentmaking business was also quick to pack up and move to another location, which they did more than a few times.
This strategic plan allowed them to spread the Gospel quickly to various regions. I am sure they did not hunker down at work, (which apparently was done night and day according to Paul), and then plan their crusades for after work.
While at work, they undoubtedly shared their faith with co-workers, suppliers, customers and anyone who happened to drop by to hear of this Jesus whom they represented in word and deed. They did not separate their business from ministry, but integrated them into the rhythm of everyday life and work.
Aquila & Priscilla are my favorite BAM heroes in the NT. Here is another slant to their story.
Since 1984, Global Opportunities has mobilized and trained ESL teachers to go where the Gospel has not yet been heard. As a matter of record, the majority of tentmakers with whom we work are ESL teachers. Some have only a high school diploma and an ESL certificate from a certified institution while others have BA’s or MA’s in any field combined with an ESL certificate. On the highest rung of the ESL world are those with a masters degree in English teaching.
In our research, we have found that there is very little correlation between the education level of ESL teachers and their effectiveness in making disciples. There is some anecdotal evidence that the higher your education level, the lower your ministry impact.
The demand for learning English is growing worldwide, some estimates indicate there are one billion people wanting to learn English! All of them need qualified teachers. Some countries have preferences on the kinds of teachers they want to hire. In some Asian countries there is a distinct preference for younger teachers. However, there are many countries where older teachers are preferred. Thus the age range is from 18 to 88.
Retired people also have the option of going to so called “low economy” countries, where the wages would not cover expatriate lifestyles. Having a retirement income from their home countries can afford them a comfortable life while reaching people who otherwise would not have an opportunity to hear the Gospel from someone they respect.
In the interest of seeing how we could serve these teachers better, we posted an online survey of felt needs.
Here are the results.
It is our commitment at Global Opportunities to use this information in helping ESL tentmakers get better prepared for ministry skills, as the world demand for the trade language of our modern era grows exponentially.
“I believe that the global demand for English language skills is God’s gift to our generation and that it is a key component in fulfilling the Great Commission.” Ari J. Rocklin
WHAT IS VALUE ADDED TENTMAKING?
We are Christians. Of course, our faith is important to us and we love to share it with others, but what else do we bring to the nations? Something tangible, perhaps something that will make life easier?
I once visited a missionary high up on a mountain where she had started and built a church. Propane had to be brought up by motorcycle and it was expensive. Hot water was a luxury for dishes and for showers.
I quickly noticed that it was hot and sunny most days, so I went for a walk to the village shops. There was a man selling all kinds of irrigation hoses for the farms and individual gardens. I bought 200 feet of two inch black hose, laid it on the flat roof in a circle and ran the cold water into one end and the other end to the sink and bathroom area of the building. Apparently there was never a shortage of hot water again in that building during daylight hours – a simple two hour solution that was soon copied by others in the village.
I call it “value added tentmaking.”
Most if not all English speaking expatriates are at one time or another asked to help locals with their English. Whether they do this formally or informally, it brings a tangible value to the community. This is why we urge everyone to take even a short certificate course in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). We recommend a minimal 60 hour course, that can be taken over four weekends to fit in with your work week, before leaving for your overseas contract. It is our recommendation that you do not teach English for free, but charge a reasonable fee to maintain a level of professionalism.
What kind of skills, experience, or hobbies do you have that can be used to help locals improve their situations?
ESL is the most obvious and commonly used bridge to make friendships with your co-workers, neighbors and business people. Make yourself available even if it seems like a lot of extra work.
Here are some ways you might explore in becoming a “value added foreigner” to the local people:
- Computer training
- Cooking classes
- Small business loans
- New ways to grow vegetables
- Solar cooking
- Solar power
- Teaching your favorite board game
- What else can you think of?
Now that you’ve given this a passing thought, what can you do here at home – at your workplace, school, or in your business? Start small and see how God can use your servant’s heart for His kingdom purposes.
GLOBAL Opportunities UPDATE:
We have cleared the last legal hurdle in re-branding Global Opportunities. However, due to the delay in the process, our new launch date is now May 1, 2017. New name, new domain, new website! Stay tuned!
Help us find or pray for us to find a new director ASAP!
THE 4 QUESTIONS TENTMAKERS ARE ASKED.
The four most common questions that expatriate workers are asked by neighbors, coworkers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers and those they come in contact with are:
- What is your name?
- What do you do here?
- Where are you from?
- Do you believe in God?
Everyone can answer the first three questions in a few short minutes, perhaps even without thinking about it too much. The fourth question requires thought, preparation, sensitivity, gentleness, respect, divine inspiration and a time out.
Check out Peter’s advice on this – 1 Peter 3:15,16.
PAUL THE TENTMAKER FROM TARSUS
In one short, to the point sentence, we learn much about Paul. Having established his persona and reason for being, we can assume that he then began passionately sharing his faith in ever creative ways.
How you answer the fourth question will either open the door for future faith discussion or perhaps close the door to potential friendships that lead to faith talks. It is vital that we get it right, as we only have one chance to make that critical first introduction of our faith.
If it were up to me, I would make every future tentmaker spend at least 100 hours preparing themselves for this one question. It is that important. Getting that answer wrong could raise suspicion and make you an object of unwanted attention or it could simply set the foundation for future dialogue and perhaps even give you status as a man/woman of God.
For those of you considering tentmaking business as mission, or those of you out there already doing it, I urge you to do some homework so you will have the best possible answer to question number four.
WHAT’S A “GRACEMETER”?
At our tentmaking courses, which are designed by former tentmakers and updated by current tentmakers, we discuss the challenges tentmakers face today. These are frequently updated as we debrief returning tentmakers and learn from them.
One of the challenges is being a part of a tentmaker team (if one exists). These teams can be put together before leaving. We call them “out country” teams, or if they are made up of tentmakers who meet in country, we call them “in country” teams. These “in country” teams are often put together through divine appointments and tend to be less problematic since they meet mostly for prayer, worship and encouragement.
We have heard of “out country” teams spending up to 75% of their team time dealing with personality issues and conflicts between team members. If this is true, that would be a terrible time loss to the Kingdom – Christians focusing on their own issues instead of being focused on the real reason they have come.
Thus, the need to invent the “gracemeter” was born. Please take this with a grain of salt!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
We all have a different understanding of grace. Some believers are very legalistic while others are living a life of total grace. A firm belief in hyper grace if you will. Neither is right nor wrong, but their place on the gracemeter is also an indicator of their understanding of ministry, their understanding of scripture, and their frustrations with those whose understanding of grace is different than their own.
Do you see the problem this could bring to a team working in a very difficult country or region, perhaps one that is hostile to Christianity?
So when looking at the gracemeter, you can visualize where your needle might stand. Once you figure that out, try to evaluate where your team member’s needle would stand (perhaps the member you have most difficulty with).
The further apart you are from each other on the gracemeter, the more challenging your relationship will be.
The hoped-for result would be that you could step back and just accept the other person where they are, without trying to move their needle toward your position.
We have had encouraging and sometimes humorous reports from tentmakers who have struggled with team issues, and then found solace in drawing a picture of the gracemeter during a team meeting.
One recent email said: “The gracemeter allowed us to move forward as a team and it has been a tremendous blessing for all of us, we were able to laugh and bond after discussing where each of us had our needle”.
Where does your needle sit on this meter?
When was the last time it moved?
$20 THAT CHANGED A LIFE IN INDIA!
Jim a tentmaker to India was used to seeing a man sitting by his weigh scale all day long. For a few cents, anyone could weigh themselves.
One day Jim decided to sit down beside the man to simply get to know him and have an opportunity to practice Hindi. He learned that Ashok was actually renting the scale and was paying up to 90% of his days take to the owner of the scale.
While Jim sat there, suddenly there seemed to be more people wanting to weigh themselves than usual. Ashok suggested that Jim’s presence was bringing him good fortune.
Jim started wondering how he could help Ashok earn a bigger slice of the pie? Each day, Jim would make a point of sitting down beside Ashok, which always brought him more business. They became fast friends.
Jim learned the complexity of Ashok’s business. The scale was owned by a man who had many scales in the city. He paid his workers a measly amount of the earnings. If the scale broke, the worker would in debt for months and perhaps years until repayment with high interest was made.
One day Jim went and bought Ashok a scale. But not before doing his homework.
If he had just gave the scale as a gift, the renter of scales would simply take it away from Ashok, who would have no recourse nor police protection.
Before presenting the scale to Ashok, he went to the local police station and asked an officer to come with him to verify the business transaction between himself and Ashok. The policeman watched as Jim gave the scale to Ashok. A business plan was developed by Jim that allowed Ashok to repay the loan in about six months. Then the loan paper was fingerprinted by Ashok. Having the policeman present afforded some protection for Ashok, and having a foreigner involved added a bit more.
Before the six months was up, Ashok had saved enough of his earnings of 100% to pay back the full amount of the loan. Jim once again called on the policeman to witness the full repayment of the loan, had him sign the “paid in full” receipt together with Ashok and Jim. Then Jim made a few copies of the receipt and even had one copy laminated which Ashok could keep as proof of ownership.
Today Ashok keeps 100% of his daily earnings and is proudly able to show everyone that he has paid back the loan in full. Imagine going from keeping 10% of your daily earnings to 100%. Jim continues to disciple Ashok and members of his family…
Principle: Do not be too quick to help, seek wise counsel from locals so that your gift of a loan does not cause difficulty or dependency. Real help requires getting to know people and involves discipling.
10 Reasons tentmakers do not join mission agencies.
– from a survey by GLOBAL Opportunities.
- They don’t want to do fundraising
- They don’t see the value in paying for agency services
- They don’t think agencies understand genuine tentmaking
- Agencies often do not allow tentmakers to maintain ongoing businesses or to fully work in what are perceived as their “non-ministry” jobs.
- They can’t commit to long training programs and retreats. Getting time off work is not easy.
- The application process and forms are too long and complicated.
- In closed countries, mission agency membership creates identity issues.
- Agencies don’t provide appropriate member care for tentmakers whose work and life situation is different from career missionaries.
- The mission agencies do not seem to be interested in tentmakers signing up nor have they carefully thought through how to best utilize them.
- Mission agencies seem old-fashioned and do not fit in (out of sync with) today´s world.
“Although we encourage future tentmakers to connect with at least three mission agencies before going, only 3% choose to do so”. GO Research
Our research also shows a positive trend by many mission agencies who are making tentmaking a top priority and are working hard at getting it right.
We at GO are excited at this trend and offer our services to any mission agency who is interested in doing this well. We already have a track record of having worked with traditional mission agencies since 1998 in developing their tentmaking divisions or tracks.
One of the oldest mission agencies in Europe recently stated that they are making tentmaking their main strategy.
Connect with us! We are your servant organization.
THE STORY OF TENT NORWAY.
TENT of Norway was founded in 2001 by a team of dedicated people, a strong board and effective former tentmaker, Steinar Opheim. Instead of figuring it out alone, they invited Global Opportunities to help them with resources and teachers for their early courses.
An early indication of God’s favour was made evident when TENT was able to purchase a historical prayer house building right in downtown Bergen for one dollar. These historical prayer houses were built using volunteer labor by everyday workers who needed a place to worship.
Today, more tentmakers have been trained by Tent in this location than any other place on the planet. Year after year, their courses are well attended and some years even exceed capacity.
Why not join them for the next tentmaking course at this beautiful location? You will be housed for free in local Christians homes, all meals and snacks are included in the course fee.
This course tends to fill up, so register early!
May 24-28, 2017 http://tentinternational.org/events/tmcourse/2017bergen
We at Global Opportunities are increasingly being asked to evaluate BAM companies for Mission Impact. There are reports of loans not being renewed as no evidence of Mission is seen. BAM investors want a financial return but not without proof of a Mission advancement. Fair enough!
On the ground.
Our team member spends quality time with locals as well as those directly involved with the BAM company.
In a nutshell, this is what our research on site and an an evaluation includes, usually done in about one week at the expense of the BAM company. It is by no means an exhaustive list as there are too many to list here.
- Community views of Jesus followers?
- Business partners understanding of being a follower of Jesus?
- Suppliers knowledge of your Business Principles?
- Workers knowledge of your Business Principle?
- Workers family understanding of your Business Principles
- Local shops, restaurants, service industry relationships with your company.
- Your relationship with your competitors. Are you fair with them on a business level?
- Local religious leaders understanding of your business and your faith. Measured from 1-5.
3. Willing to look the other way as long as you stick to known perimeters.
Daily while on the ground.
During our evaluation time a short briefing is scheduled each evening for the BAM team. This is a time for Q&A and for some fun with good food!
Final report & action plan.
At the end a full evaluation and action plan forward is drafted and sent to the BAM team. It includes practical suggestions for individuals and for the team as a whole.
References from companies who have used our service are available on request but are highly confidential and thus not available until we have verified the request and checked with their sending church.
Have a blessed weekend!
Contact us! http://globalopps.org/about-go/contact/
1500% increase in “people reached”!
Global Opportunities has a Facebook Page and a Closed Group. When we post something on those pages it is not unusual to get hundreds of views or in their terms “People Reached”. The numbers of “Likes” can be from a few to hundreds.
However, one series of postings went “viral”. We received a special notice from Facebook saying your posting has now had reached 1500% more people than your average posting.
(Scroll to the end of this article to learn what that posting was.)
In the never-ending quest of trying to reach people with the tentmaking message and with limited budgets, we are always challenged in finding the best way.
“10% of Jesus followers have seriously considered missions. Of that 10%, less than 1% have heard of tentmaking missions or considered doing it themselves”.
Yet, of the hundreds of tentmakers we at GO are privileged to be serving, we learn that going out as a tentmaker has been the most rewarding thing they have ever done. Our course feedback overwhelmingly affirms that those four days were the catalyst in getting them out there to be effective.
The series of cartoons had the highest reach of any social media campaign we have ever done. I will post more of them in upcoming Friday Blog.
BUT WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DANCE!!!!
A young tentmaker couple from the US had recently arrived in a very restricted Muslim country. To their amazement, they were immediately invited to a local wedding of a government official’s daughter. They gladly accepted.
Once the ceremony was over, the dancing began. Now the tentmakers came from a denominational background where dancing is frowned upon and of course they had never danced before.
Their gracious hosts kept asking them to join in on the dance floor and it got increasingly difficult to make them understand that they simply did not know how to dance. Their hosts did not believe that a young American couple would not know how to dance.
After a while, the couple realized that there was a suspicion and mistrust building between them and their hosts. Not a good start to a tentmaking ministry.
Eventually they decided to give it a go, after all how hard could it be, they had seen dancing in movies.
Once they got to the dance floor everyone, about 100 people, gathered around them in a circle and started clapping to the music. The young couple thought they had done a decent job of gyrating to the music and sat down.
Their host came over and apologized. I am so sorry, you really don’t know how to dance!
When the tentmakers came home for a summer vacation, they promptly went and took some dance lessons as they never wanted to go through that scenario again.
What would you have done?
God has a sense of humor, since this wedding opened many doors to new friendships and even offered them some protection as foreigners and gave them access to high government officials.
BAM? B4T? B4B? GCC?
Last Friday I discussed the reason we continue to use the term tentmaking. Scroll down to read.
This Friday, let’s look at the BAM movement’s many terms.
A recent survey by BraveWave showed which terms are being used the most. Which one do you think best describes what BAM is? Are some of them confusing? Would it be helpful if there were fewer terms being used to describe the same thing?
We at Global Opportunities call it Business as Mission (BAM) which is nicely defined by Mats Tunehag in four points.
1. serve people
2. align with God’s purposes
3. be good stewards of the planet
4. make a profit
Prophet Moses put it all in perspective.
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
BUSINESS OR MISSION?
The BAM movement is the fastest growing component of missions today. Many companies struggle with the “mission” part simply due to the exhaustive complexity of running a profitable business. Finding a balance and intentional integration is the key to success on both levels.
GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES CONSULTATION TO BAM COMPANIES.
We at GO are prepared to help your BAM company with the “M”. At your expense, we will visit your place of business and conduct a thorough multi-day evaluation of your surroundings, spiritual climate, local attitudes, etc., and give you a detailed working plan for all missions-minded workers to follow in order to maximize your mission effort. We leave the Business part to the experts.
FRIDAY BLOG – JANUARY 6, 2017
WHY WE USE THE TERM “TENTMAKING”.
In the 20 years that I have been involved with mobilizing and training tentmakers, one of the more frequent discussion topics among agencies and groups is to get rid of the term tentmaker.
Here are some of the alternatives that have been either suggested or implemented.
- Kingdom Professional
- B4T (Business for transformation)
- Self supported missionary
- Pauline missionary….and many more.
I attended a think tank on tentmaking and it was really interesting to note how people went out of their way to not use that term. Seemed like a lot of work.
Here are some of the objections to the term tentmaker.
- It needs an explanation
- It translates poorly to other languages.
- It’s passe
Well guess what? So are all the other alternatives! Try smoothly translating B4T or even Kingdom Professional into other languages. And yes, they will need an explanation too, probably a longer explanation than tentmaking!
We at Global Opportunities, Tent International, GoTential, MoveIn etc. are committed to keep using this Biblical term that always brings us back to Apostle Paul, who argued well for being a self supported missionary and business person.
See our simple graphic on how we understand this term, with tentmaking being the concept worked out in three different categories.
The common factor is that none of the three require financial support, as all are self supporting.
FRIDAY BLOG – DECEMBER 23, 2016
Upon the retirement of Dave English later this month, after being the director of Global Opportunities for 20 years – following in the footsteps of and being mentored by founder Ruth Siemens – it is my privilege to look back at Dave’s legacy and accomplishments, as I see them from having been his co-worker for the past 16 years.
In 1999, GO was running one tentmaking course in the US each year. The course content was designed by Ruth and Dave to reflect on Ruth’s decades of experience as the master tentmaker of the modern era.
It was Dave’s vision to see the work of GO expand globally, and during his tenure the courses were run in an increasing number of countries and locations. In one year alone, the course was run in eight different countries. And it wasn’t just courses, but people who were being trained and mobilized to work together to form tentmaking advocacy groups, and even organizations that would multiply the impact for tentmaking – while always being true to the foundational principles set out by Ruth Siemens.
Today, the course has been run in 13 countries and is still expanding. GO has been a critical component in helping organizations like Tent Norway get started. There are viable tentmaking movements in Brazil, Mexico and in many countries in Europe because Dave had a strategic vision for a worldwide tentmaking movement.
Dave had the opportunity to speak on tentmaking as far away as Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Finland, Norway, England, Nigeria, Uganda, and of course Canada.
Dave also launched a very substantial paper publication called GO World in 1994 which was widely read, referred to and quoted in the world of missions. It was the only such publication of its era and there has been no equal since it was discontinued in 2002 due to financial constraints.
As we still have the digital copies of all editions, we will be building a special section in our new website where they can be read and downloaded.
In his retirement, Dave is available to speak on behalf of tentmaking and is perfectly positioned to write a book on Ruth Siemens’ legacy and her contribution to tentmaking. Ruth left behind hundreds of pages of her writing and only Dave knew her well enough to sort through it all to write the best book on tentmaking yet.
We wish him every blessing, as well as time to devote to his other passion of flying, and look forward to seeing this book published, which I will personally pledge to find shelf space for at major missions and Bible school libraries around the world.
Just remember this pilots saying Dave: “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing!”
FRIDAY BLOG – DECEMBER 16, 2016
WHERE DO TENTMAKERS GO FOR A BREAK?
TENTMAKERS OASIS IN SPAIN
If you are an active tentmaker in North Africa or Middle East regions, did you know that there is an almost free retreat center in southern Spain? It is a place where missionaries come for rest and restoration in a wonderful peaceful atmosphere that is conducive to recharging your tired batteries.
For a few euros per night you get a room, a communal kitchen and counselling services if needed. If you have a family there are a few two bedroom apartments available as well with their own kitchens. The old church hides the inner courtyard where the apartments are located. All within a short walking distance of a quaint Spanish village with restaurants and stores. Beaches are another 30 minute walk away in a larger city. There is also free WiFi.
This center also serves as a training center for missions courses, including an upcoming tentmaking course in March of 2017. Tentmakers from the region can show up on short notice and will always find a warm welcome from people who are passionate about missions.
It may not be a 5 star, but it is private with all kinds of missions minded people coming and going. If you like hiking, there is a high mountain right behind the center, where you can go for long or short hikes with a spectacular view of North Africa across the water. It is also a great mountain top for prayer and meditation.
FREE TENTMAKERS OASIS IN BC CANADA
On one of the smaller Gulf Islands of British Columbia Canada is a cottage reserved for tentmakers in need of rest, relaxation and restoration. You can fly to Vancouver (YVR) or Victoria (YYJ) and then take a ferry to the island. You will not need to bring a car as the cottage is within walking distance of the ferry docks. The cottage is fully equipped but you need to bring your own sheets, pillows and towels. There is a well stocked grocery store, a bakery, a few good restaurants, a library and many beaches and hiking trails. Free WiFi is provided on a high speed internet connection. There is a limit of four guests and no pets are allowed.
If you are looking for excitement, great night life, with crowds of people this is not the place for you. If you are looking for silence, solitude and closeness to nature, then this is the place for you. When you hear the raven’s call, you will know you have arrived.
Contact me if interested for more information & reservations website.
FRIDAY BLOG – DECEMBER 9, 2016
TENTMAKING IS DANGEROUS!
We have helped hundreds of tentmakers get ready, equipped, and launched to go to unreached and often unsafe countries. As we track with them, we have come to realize where tentmakers are in the most danger, but you would be surprised to learn that it is not out there among unstable nations and hostile people. I’ve been doing this ministry full-time since 1998, and since then four tentmakers have died in car accidents upon returning to their home countries.
Why do you think this is? We don’t know, but one reason could be simply that they are used to vastly different road rules, or no rules at all and have mastered driving in those conditions. However, upon coming home there are strict rules – like red lights, which actually do not mean “slow down and look”, but that you must come to a full stop. Driving on the left side of the road for a few years and then coming home to drive on the right side and hitting another car head-on was one of the accidents that claimed a tentmaker’s life only a few days after returning home. He was on his way to his church to share his story.
Yes, there have been deaths while serving out there. Local terrorists have targeted and killed tentmakers while going about their daily lives in Mauritania, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen. We are not sure if it was for political reasons or being martyred for their faith. We do know they were indeed targeted.
At our intensive 4.5 day tentmaking courses, we spend time learning about working in sensitive areas. By the grace of God, no one who has taken our course has died out in the field as a martyr, although some have come very close. It is our focus to train people to be safe and to make disciples, not to become martyrs themselves or to have their disciples die as martyrs. It is hard to grow a church if people exceed known security and safety parameters and then die in the process.
Jesus did not promise us safety but he did promise us eternity in His presence. Let us delay our departure from this earth as much as it is humanly possible.
One more New GO feature!
GO was published a substantial publication for years called GO World. It was eight pages long and featured many articles by Ruth Siemens. We have digital copies of every issue, so we will be making a special section on our new website so that a new generation can access and research these timeless articles. I am personally very excited at being able to provide these rich resources to the world.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 2, 2016
Global Opportunities has been running tentmaking courses for over 21 years. In 1999, they ran one course per year. Today, the course – designed by master tentmaker and GO founder Ruth Siemens, and led by Dave English – has been run in 13 countries with their international partners, and in one year alone it was run in 8 countries, breaking the previous record.
While the course content has evolved to reflect the realities of today’s tentmaking world, the core remains true to its founder’s vision. We interview returned tentmakers and give them the opportunity to update course content to align with the very real challenges future tentmakers will face.
The course was initially called Light to the Nations, and was later renamed GO Equipped! Tentmaking Course, which it is still known as today. In 2017, an online version of the course called Integrated Faith will be launched.
The final course of 2016 just concluded last week in Germany, and here are some comments from the students.
WHAT HAS IMPACTED YOU – WHAT & HOW DID GOD SPEAK? WHAT STEPS DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE?
- Informative, fast paced, supported by experienced teachers. Balanced with good humor built in. I will use the study notes and speak about tentmaking at my home church.
- I’ll open my house more. Where I am going, but also here. We also have many people in Germany who would want to be invited, like refugees, we can do it also here, and I believe God wants us to do that!
- I liked the variety of topics & we could feel your heart in it – not only teaching but you were in it yourselves. I was encouraged & the course helped me, God showed where I am in the process.
- I often don’t like seminars/courses because it remains theoretical. Here experiences were shared, teaching was practical & helped us to understand the possibilities and task.
- I hadn’t seen the critical situation of the unreached peoples and how tentmakers can carry the gospel there. This encouraged me to encourage future leaders in my coming country, to send them to reach people! And I hunger for Germany to be reached.
- I’m also touched by your stories you told about the people you met. It is real when you tell what you have experienced.
- Thank you for the openness, telling when you even felt a failure.
- The case studies helped a lot, and that they are real-life cases.
- The course went beyond my expectations. The interaction from the teachers in sessions was helpful. Case studies (3 lessons with them) were good!
Here is a sample course outline.
Blessings to your Christmas season as we prepare to celebrate our Saviors birth!
SOME OF THE UPCOMING TOPICS:
- Stories from tentmakers!
- Why we use the term tentmaker.
- A tentmakers contribution to the new constitution of a post revolution nation.
- A look back at the 21 year legacy of David English – former executive director officially retiring at the end of this year.
- It’s here: A crowd-sourcing campaign to help us launch well in 2017!
- Current job opportunities for tentmakers – as we get them.
- GO World Remix – our new website will feature a section for GO World articles
NOVEMBER 26, 2016
WELL IT’S HERE, THE FIRST EDITION OF FRIDAY BLOG!
Thanks for stopping by – this won’t work if people like you don’t drop in from time to time. I’m kind of encouraged that people from 17 countries have already stopped by to check out this page before launch. As the interim director of Global Opportunities, I want to make this first edition a sneak preview of what we are working on at GO. A new era for a new generation of tentmakers is being launched. Future editions will have tentmaker stories and profound insightful thoughts from yours truly. As you can see, I also have a sense of humor. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome!
THE NEW GO!
The board of Global Opportunities has approved the plans for the new GO in 2017.
Here are the SEVEN components that a new generation of tentmakers can look forward to.
- A new name – stay tuned, it’s still a secret for now.
- A new logo – being designed by professionals
- A new mobile-focused, resource-rich website on a new domain.
- A mentoring program where former tentmakers make themselves available to new tentmakers to help them along with their journey. Imagine being mentored by someone who has served where you’re going!
- An online course called Integrated Faith built on the exact same components as the classroom GO Equipped! course. You can meet with online students in groups, and even get a chance to spend an hour or two with the teacher of the week in an open forum. If you can’t take the course on schedule, you’re covered, as you can take it on demand whenever, almost wherever you are.
- Tentmaking Briefs will be called Tentmaking Today. It will be an independent publication with a chief editor for the worldwide tentmaking movement on its own website.
- Friday Blog (it’s what you’re reading now) is a short, inspirational, one-minute read focused on tentmaking, which will be updated at the end of each working week. It will also include job openings that are sent to us. (See below)
Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend, and see you next Friday!
Visitors to the Friday Blog as of 18 November, 2016.