by David R. Befus
Most missions operate in areas with high unemployment, no employment opportunities and low job skills. Often when missions incorporate business into their ministry, they begin to lose the ministry aspects and become focused on the economics.
Latin America Mission, P. O. Box 52-7900, Miami, FL. 33152, www.lam.org, 2002, 155 pages, $6.00.
—Reviewed by Alicia Karen Elkins, graduate student, Lacrosse University.
Most missions operate in areas with high unemployment, no employment opportunities and low job skills. Often when missions incorporate business into their ministry, they begin to lose the ministry aspects and become focused on the economics. Yet, positive economics in a community should yield church growth.
Befus applies the knowledge from his graduate degree in business and the experience from establishing his own business in the examination of how missions can create a strong economic base without sacrificing their ministry. He shows us examples of productive economic activity in the Bible and cites historical models. He demonstrates that American churches have promoted the practice of basing ministry upon donations in the last half-century.
The book progresses through three major areas or themes. First, the author provides five basic models of economic programs and explains how to implement them. He cites actual cases and thoroughly explains what resources, assets and economic tools can be used to succeed with the program. The second portion deals with assessing community needs and developing specific programs that target these needs. It shows how programs may vary but the basic principles and management factors are the same. Once the needs of the community are established, these basics can be tailored for the most suitable program.
The final portion of the book deals with how to keep the ministry in the business. From questioning what the gospel really is, to explaining the lessons of Matthew in plant production, Befus shows how to put the ministry back into the business. He closes by examining the “lemons” of the economics of missions.
Kingdom Business can actually be used as a manual for setting up a mission business enterprise. I was surprised by the author’s ability to reduce the most complex economic and business topics to easy-to-understand language. His writing style is non-technical and almost anyone can quickly grasp the concepts he supplies.
Check out these titles:
Meyers, Bryant L. 1999. Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.
Sider, Ronald J. 1997. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Dallas, Tex.: Word Publishing.
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