Small businesses paving ways for Soul winning in Indonesia!

Indonesia (MNN/CAM) — [EDITORS NOTE: The
following is an explanation from Christian Aid
Mission, your link to indigenous missions,
regarding how small businesses can take on an
evangelical role in places otherwise hostile to
Christians.]
In impoverished areas among Indonesia´s varied
peoples, Christians are learning to run small
businesses to support themselves and their
ministries–and to open avenues to Muslims and
Hindus that otherwise would be closed.
An indigenous ministry in Indonesia has granted
workers funds to start businesses that were key to
the recent planting of two churches in Bali, where
83% of the people are Hindu. Along with dozens of
other churches the ministry previously established
with the aid of small businesses, the micro-
enterprises recently helped plant a church in the
western province of Sumatra, where Muslims
make up 87% of the population, as well as four
churches on the 73% Muslim island of Borneo, the
leader of the ministry said.
The small businesses, from beauty salons to
chainsaw rentals, have been integral to these
church plants, he said.
“As people in the church begin to have their own
micro-businesses, they have income, and that
funds the establishment of a healthy church in that
area,” he said. “Recently church planting servants
have testified that more than 1,000 people have
been reached with the evangelical faith through
methods of micro-business in Indonesia, and more
than 20 people who have received Christ Jesus
were baptized.”
Among the enterprises that have begun with start-
up assistance from Christian Aid Mission are
laundry, frozen treat, used clothes, farming,
sewing machine, soccer center, café and chicken
egg businesses. These services have created
inroads to resistant communities.
“Because we are in a Hindu area, Christians are
not welcome into a village or area unless there is
some product or service that can be helpful to the
community,” the ministry leader said. “If the
Christian has a helpful business or service, he is
welcomed into the community and has
opportunities to build relationships with people. The
discussions that naturally happen as a result are
very effective evangelism.”
Hinduism is one of six recognized religions in
Indonesia. Though Hinduism is practiced by only
1.7% of the total population, that amounts to more
than 4 million people. Indonesia is home to the
world´s largest Islamic population, 204.8 million,
which is 12.7% of the world´s Muslims.
In one enterprise in Bali, a pastor fit cooler boxes
of frozen treats onto a motorbike, which drew
children and their mothers to invite him to their
doorstep.

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(Credit: MNN)

“Over time, this has created relationships and
great opportunities for evangelism in this Hindu
culture,” the director said. “Without the tool of the
iced treat business, the opportunity to build
relationships and share the Gospel would not be
there.”
Once established, the pastor enabled several
church members to run their own frozen treat
businesses.
“They all now have successful iced treat
businesses, which have expanded the evangelistic
outreach to this community, but also have funded a
healthy local church,” he said.
Benefiting the community is one of the fundamental
purposes of business, according to numerous
Christian philosophers and theologians, who affirm
it as a public service rather than just a means of
seeking personal gain. As the late British politician
and industrialist Sir Fred Catherwood wrote, “Our
creed is that we are here to serve not ourselves
but others. We should, therefore, be much more
conscious than others of our standards of service.”
The indigenous ministry leader noted that small
businesses in Indonesia provide income for local
missionaries, pastors and church members; these
workers find that Christian values, such as
industry, honesty and integrity contribute to
business success.
In familiar settings without tension and conflict, the
ministry leader said, conversations about Christ
take place within business relationships on deep
levels. While not all of the business workers travel,
they follow in a tradition established in the early
days of Christianity, when the Gospel spread in
large measure through Christian merchants, slaves
and other workers taking advantage of the Roman
Empire´s excellent roads, according to historian
Justo L. Gonzalez.
In Central Java Province on the island of Java,
another ministry has helped start small businesses
that have revived the spirits of pastors
discouraged over their lack of livelihood. In these
impoverished areas, the ministry’s director said,
village pastors receive no financial support from
their congregations.
“Before we introduced this micro-enterprise
system, the typical pastor spent his time going to
ministry conferences sponsored by foreigners in
hopes that someone there would offer him money
for a project, or an offering to help him feed his
family for another week or so until the next
ministry conference,” said the director of Kezia
Ministries. “In their communities, pastors were
viewed as individuals who lived very poorly and did
nothing but go from conference to conference. The
result was a negative impact on the work of the
ministry, in that no pastor focused on his true
mission of the Great Commission.”
Micro-enterprise assistance from Christian Aid
Mission has enabled many pastors in these areas
to sustain their families and ministries, as well as
help the local economies.
“Not only does the small business offer the pastor
a way to provide for the needs of his family and
ministry, but it can also provide jobs for church
members and a bridge to reach those who do not
know about Jesus,” he said.
In Wonogiri County, a pastor runs several small
businesses, including one producing Indonesian
crackers. The enterprise provides jobs to Muslims
and possibilities for the pastor to explain the
Christian hope he carries within. Kezia Ministries
provided low-interest business loans to the pastor
so that he could expand the business.
“We not only mentor pastors as business owners
so they can be self-sustaining, but also provide
needed discipleship training for the pastors so that
they can be fully equipped for the work of the
ministry in every way,” he said.
The ministry thus provides strategic guidance to
pastors, from start-up to management and
expansion phases, along with discipleship training.
“These pastors are trained in how to use their
micro-enterprise as a ministry vehicle to spread
the good news of Jesus Christ while sustaining
their families and their ministries,” he said. “Thank
you for allowing pastors to be free to do the true
work of the ministry. Please pray that the Lord will
grant a harvest of souls through micro-enterprise
ministry in Indonesia.”
To help indigenous missionaries meet needs, you
may contribute online to “Enable Evangelism
through Microenterprise” here, or call
434-977-5650. If you prefer to mail your gift,
please mail to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037,
Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code:
800TENT. Thank you!

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