Global Evangelism and Marketplace Ministry Collide

Recently I have really been engrossed with the increasing attention given to breaking down the so-called “sacred-secular divide.” I am excited to hear more and more Christians engaging in this conversation because it seems we are finally waking up to the reality that every Believer is a minister and a missionary, and we all have a role to play in building the Kingdom of God, especially through marketplace activities.

As you know from some of my recent posts, I am very focused on dealing with the unemployment issues in the U.S. from a spiritual perspective. But of course unemployment and poverty are global conditions that I believe God has provided part of the answer through biblically-based entrepreneurship.

The videos below are from Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. One of the major focuses during this past conference was marketplace ministry. This very encouraging because that was not the case just a few years ago. Enjoy!

People at Work – Presentation 1 by Mark Greene

Focusing on ministry of full-time Christian workers has limited the church’s impact. By perpetuating the distinction between secular and sacred, disciples are not prepared to minister in the places where most people live.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

People at Work – Presentation 2 by Jerry White

This segment argues that work is a major commandment in creation–that everyone has a calling to the workplace and that ministry should take place there.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

People at Work – Presentation 3 by Timothy Liu

Churches need to be more focused on developing and deploying effective marketplace ministers for all walks of life.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

People at Work – Presentation 4 by Mats Tunehag

Mats Tunehag examines what factors determine the success or failure of business as mission. He argues that it’s important to remember our objective and refuse to compromise on professionalism, excellence and integrity.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

How do you think the church can be more effective in developing and deploying marketplace ministers?

Happy New You!
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Entrepreneurial Nation Building

If you read my previous post, Pray for Africa, you will get an idea of the passion that I have for that great continent. Of course while prayer is essential, it is just the first step to creating change. The Bible says that prayer not accompanied by action is worthless (James 2:17). Therefore, in addition to praying, there is something else that I’m committed to doing. I have a vision for helping people in Africa build an entrepreneurial network that will result in exponential increases in economic empowerment, employment and education.

Poverty is such an oppressive institution that it often drives people who feel powerless to do desperate things, and in African countries and elsewhere that often involves violence. One of the keys to reducing this violence is to reduce peoples’ feelings of powerlessness and purposelessness. That’s why I believe equipping people with entrepreneurial skills and resources, coupled with creating governmental policies and business environments that support and encourage entrepreneurship, will help to empower people personally, economically and socially.

With this being the case, I was incredibly excited to find some enlightening and inspiring videos on YouTube of Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. He is talking about his belief that entrepreneurship can be a key component of strategically building a nation economically and socially. I agree with him wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

The Entrepreneur President, Paul Kagame of Rwanda – Part 1/2

The Entrepreneur President, Paul Kagame of Rwanda – Part 2/2

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Pray for Africa

My heart is broken to see the violence that has swept the country of Kenya over the past couple of weeks. Until a few years ago, I probably would have not given much thought to the events beyond looking at the news or reading it on the Internet. I would have viewed the situation as “their” problem. I was sympathetic, but not empathetic as in I didn’t share their pain.

In October 2006 I had a life changing, paradigm shifting experience. On my first trip across the ocean, I had the incredible opportunity to go on a missions trip to Rwanda. I came back from that trip with a whole new perspective on the world and an entirely new outlook on Africa. Before going, I thought I recognized them as human beings with hopes, dreams, feelings, issues, challenges, etc. Nevertheless, as crazy as this is going to sound, seeing them face to face and spending time with them gave me such a new and powerful appreciation for their humanity and dignity as human beings. For the first time, I saw Africans as my true brothers and sisters. But not just Africans. I began to see all people around the world as my brothers and sisters.

So, when I see the reports of Kenyans, Sudanese and many other Africans dying violently, especially children, I now feel a deep sense of sadness, knowing that my brothers and sisters are hurting. The images that I see on TV and the Internet now are not just of “those people”, but they could be the family, friends or neighbors of the people with whom I shared stories, laughed, cried and built friendships. Furthermore, “those people” are future world leaders, business people, doctors, lawyers, Olympians, entrepreneurs, educators, scientists and more. If you want a real-time example, just look at what’s happening in our own presidential election here in the United States.

I don’t know how you feel, but I can’t sit idly by and do nothing. The best thing that I can do right now is pray. Pray for the families. Pray for the children. Pray for the leaders. Pray for corruption to end and the violence to stop. Pray for poverty to decrease and education to increase. Pray for food to be plentiful. Pray for diseases to be cured and medicine to find those who need it. Pray for spiritual, emotional, and relational healing between the tribes. Pray a prosperous future, because whether or not you realize (or accept) it, our futures are tied together through the global economy.

Although, we as humans often can’t understand why we do such horrible things to one another, God is able to handle it all. So, please remember to pray for Africa.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Community Development Visioneering

In our communities today it’s easy to see the problems of crime, homelessness, poverty, illiteracy, disease, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, abuse, corrupt leadership, and so on. What is much harder to see, though, are the solutions to the myriad of problems that are negatively impacting the lives of children and adults in our communities every day.

As I described in my last posting, Visioneering Diversity Value, visioneers are able to execute positive possibilities in situations that others only see as problems (click here to learn more about visioneering).

I have a vision to see impoverished communities economically and socially empowered through the development and expansion of minority owned businesses in those communities. My conviction is that in a country that is considered to be the richest in the world we should have a lot less people living in impoverished conditions.

I believe it is possible to engineer practical solutions that can be utilized to improve the lives of millions of people, from New Orleans to Africa. I also believe the most overlooked and untapped resources needed to improve these communities already exist within those communities.

Based on our current situation today, those of us who are committed to positively impacting other people’s lives need to start doing things differently. It is imperative that we start bringing together entrepreneurially-minded people in corporations, minority businesses, faith-based organizations, advocacy agencies, and other relevant groups to develop comprehensive yet practical plans that will empower people to improve their living environments.

This team needs to be willing and able to think beyond traditional community development models and failed experiments of the past. From an entrepreneurial perspective, there has to be a willingness to take risks and try new approaches that have never been attempted before.

The process of engineering a community empowerment plan such as this takes passion, time, strategic planning, creativity and innovation, discipline, and patience. Short-cuts are not an option. And neither are quick fixes. My idea for this type of plan would include key components, such as:

  • Providing education in the areas of business, economics, finance, and public policy.
  • Training on how to successfully develop and operate a small business or micro-enterprise.
  • Developing business incubators that can be used to expose participants to situations in which their new knowledge and skills can be applied.
  • Creating an overall atmosphere that removes barriers and establishes opportunities for success.

If economic empowerment and community development are areas that like myself you are passionate about, here are some things that you can begin doing today to make a difference:

  1. Start seeing situations through the perspective of possibility versus the purview of problems. Your perspective of a situation will change your response to the situation. Nothing is impossible.
  2. Talk passionately about your ideas with other people. You never know what type of resources someone else may have to invest in your vision. However, because most people are probably going to be more pessimistic than you are, don’t allow them to dampen your enthusiasm.
  3. Collaborate and brainstorm potential solutions with other like-minded people. You don’t have to be a “lone ranger.” You may have only one piece of the solution puzzle while someone else may have another.
  4. Start small. You don’t need a complex strategic plan to begin to implement your ideas. Starting small is probably the best way to test some of your ideas to see if they work before trying to impact a large group of people.
  5. Be the change you want to see in your community. It starts with you. Don’t complain about something that you’re contributing to or that you’re not willing to do anything about.

One of the things that people need the most, but is in short supply is… hope. They need more than just hope, though. They need hope that’s backed up by action. They need to be equipped with knowledge, skills, tools, and encouragement to succeed, so they can develop and execute a vision for their lives that is greater than what they may have ever thought was possible.

There is no problem in this world that cannot be solved with the right combination of faith in God, passion, ideas, time, money, and perseverance. The question is are you going to be a “problem-peddler” or a problem-solver? I hope you will choose the latter.

Join me today to visioneer practical solutions that will empower millions of people to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Check out these other articles related to this topic:

1) What Really is Empowerment?

2) Social Entrepreneurship Resources

3) Entrepreneurs Who are Changing the World

Tags: , minority business, community development

Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity

If you have read any of my previous posts about Africa, such as “Entrepreneurs Needed in Africa“, you know how passionate I am about Africa and my desire to use entrepreneurship as a driver to empower the people of Africa economically and socially. Now, there is a book available that brings to life the accomplishments and triumphs of African entrepreneurs.
STE Publishers has just published Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity by David S. Fick. This rollercoaster of a book is bursting with innovation and ideas and will change your view of Africa forever(click here to get the book at Amazon.com).
The development of Africa is a subject that concerns not only the continent but the rest of the world. Having travelled extensively throughout the world and researched this book for six years, David Fick remains optimistic about the future. Everywhere, he has seen how small businesses are creating jobs and transforming economies.
In Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity, Fick shows how a wide range of businesses in Africa are succeeding in spite of enormous social and economic challenges. He presents a vast and diverse array of case studies of small, medium and large business enterprises and community projects in every country throughout the continent, showing how all citizens of this extraordinary continent can become successful with a little imagination, education and persistence.
Fick is also the author of Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes (click here to get the book at Amazon.com) and is currently researching his third book, African Entrepreneurs in the 21st Century (coming in 2008), which will feature examples of African entrepreneurs who have demonstrated visionary and strategic entrepreneurial leadership across the continent.
Furthermore, Fick donates all author’s royalties due to him from the sale of his first – and this, his second – book to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in support of their medical relief projects in Africa and will do the same when his third book is published.
If you are even remotely interested in the growth and sustainable development of Africa, especially through entrepreneurial ventures, I would highly recommend David’s books.
Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Help for Rwanda

Last week I wrote an entry, “Entrepreneurs Needed in Africa.” I said that I was going to become a student of that continent so I could use my entrepreneurial skills and business knowledge to empower as many people over there as I can. Well, in October I will have the opportunity to study Rwanda in person. I am going on a short-term missions trip over there from October 2–12, 2006.

The team of people I am going with will provide practical assistance to their local churches in meeting the spiritual, physical, and financial needs of the Rwandan people. If ever there was an area of the world in desperate need for love, hope, forgiveness, and revival, Rwanda is on the top of the list. One only needs to remember the 1994 genocide or the current tragedies taking place in Darfur to be reminded that there is much healing and rebuilding needed there.

I want to give you or your business an opportunity to be a part of this great event through a sponsorship. In exchange for your sponsorship of this trip, I will provide you with an article and a featured link on this blog highlighting your business, non-profit, or community service organization. This will be an incredible chance for you to empower people and change lives across the globe.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this trip, please send me an email at info@biznovations.net and we can discuss your options. All of the travel arrangements are being handled by Global Missions Fellowship. You can even submit your contribution online at www.gmf.org if that is more comfortable for you.

Your tax deductible contribution will make a huge difference for many lives. I’m reminded that the eternal benefits attached to this trip are not only for people of Rwanda, or even the missionaries going, but also for everyone enabling this trip to become a reality. And that prayerfully includes you.

With much appreciation,

Paul Wilson

Tags: , entrepreneur, Rwanda, Africa, economic development

Entrepreneurs Needed in Africa

Earlier this month I wrote about the traits of entrepreneurial thinkers (see On Becoming an Entrepreneurial Thinker). Small business owners are not the only ones who need to possess these traits. These traits are also needed by leaders in the upper echelons of business and government, including the countries of Africa.

There was an article from Reuters yesterday that talked about a recent meeting of ministers and experts from across the African continent. They were discussing policies and practices to create jobs in the world’s poorest economies. Economic growth driven by commodities exports over the past five years has not resulted in any significant job growth.

According to African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, “Economic growth does matter, but economic growth must be broadly shared, and it must create employment. It is self-evident that the private sector will have to be the driver of growth.”

Duncan Mlazie, Botswana’s assistant finance minister, stated, “We have so many declarations on labor issues we know exactly what we want to do: we want to create employment. What we don’t seem to do is address the ‘how’ part of it, and implementation.” That’s where innovative, effective entrepreneurs step in – to develop creative ideas and implement practical systems that generate wealth.

I don’t purport to being an expert on Africa, but from an entrepreneur’s point of view, great opportunities seem to abound there – for those who are problem-solvers. Long-term success would require a group of socially responsible entrepreneurs (see Entrepreneurs Who are Changing the World) who could figure out innovative, yet practical ways to create jobs in the agricultural sector (a big job creator there). The benefits of a successful implementation and duplication of this type of business development system would be far-reaching.

Too many people and companies in the past have gone into many of these African countries and benefited from them without returning a significant investment back into their local economies. If the future is going to be any different, socially responsible entrepreneurs will need to fill the void where entrepreneurial thinking and action is desperately needed.

I am committed to utilizing my entrepreneurial skills and business knowledge to empowering as many people as I can in Africa. I will become a student of that continent and its countries, gaining a deep understanding of their history, culture, economies, and politics. This will allow me to make a legitimate contribution to their long-term economic growth. This will be part of my entrepreneurial legacy. What about you?

Tags: , entrepreneur, innovation, Africa, economic development