A Fresh Look at Pastoral Sustainability
“You mean you want me to be like you? You want me to be involved with business, with commerce, with making profit? How can that be spiritual?”
The young minister spoke with passion, a disapproving look on his face. He was coming to me seeking financial assistance. But he was upset at my suggestion that he consider a path similar to my own, one that has combined pastoral ministry with the operation of a for-profit business.
I have heard this accusation many, many times. And I responded to this pastor as I have to everyone who makes this accusation (as at the same time they ask me for monetary support):
“Why are you asking for money from a sinful man?”
THE LONG ROAD TO A DUAL-ROLE MINISTRY
GOD HAS TAKEN ME on quite a journey. Along the way, he has given me a vision for how a minister of the gospel can also operate successfully in the world of business, and how business success can be transformational for effective pastoral ministry.
He has shown me how operating with integrity as a businessperson can be a potent witness for Christ, especially in a country like mine, where corruption is endemic. And he has helped me to learn how to leverage my success in business to multiply ministry tenfold.
But it has been a long and challenging road—one that started very humbly.
STARTING AT THE BOTTOM
I LIVE IN A COUNTRY where the dominant religion is mixed with astrology, animism, and other practices. When a child is born in my country, the parents bring in an astrologer to predict the child’s future.
This tradition was to prove dire for me. “This boy is going to kill his father someday,” the astrologer predicted (literally, You are born to eat your father). In a culture where to be a widow is virtually a death sentence, the choice was easy for my mother. She already had several sons—she had only one husband.
My family considered me a disgrace. I was neglected, underfed, and maltreated. It is quite likely that I…
Watch a related video clip: 2.1: The Ministry of Business…
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