by Tetsunao Yamamori and Kenneth A. Eldred, editors
On Kingdom Business is a compilation of papers presented at a Consultation for Holistic Entrepreneurs.
Crossway Books, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187, 2003, 352 pages, $22.00.
—Reviewed by Muriel I. Elmer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.
No needle is sharp on both ends” (53)—a Chinese proverb symbolizes the rewards and inevitable difficulties a kingdom entrepreneur must sort through while building and running a business. The authors have aptly described the complex issues a business owner should expect to encounter getting established in another country. Yamamori defines kingdom entrepreneurs as “cross-cultural business owners, called by God, to do ministry through business in restricted-access countries” (9). On Kingdom Business is a compilation of papers presented at a Consultation for Holistic Entrepreneurs at Regent College, Vancouver, in October 2002. The basic theme threading through the book is that “business and ministry are symbiotic” and “business can be and should be an integral part of missions” (20).
The book has three sections. The first is a series of case studies, examples of kingdom businesses, including difficult lessons learned, obstacles overcome and hard-won successes. The case studies are filled with fascinating and honest detail which solidly grounds the book in reality. The second section offers a valuable series of reflective essays from both business and theological perspectives that validate the kingdom business approach. These essays include such topics as integrating business and ministry, theological reflections on business activities, training kingdom entrepreneurs and best practices. The third and concluding section contains a review and evaluation of the earlier case studies while summarizing key concepts and lessons learned. This final section is exceptionally helpful to the kingdom entrepreneur.
Of particular interest is how the book challenges the traditional assumption that “while businessmen support the work of the ministry, they are not to do the work of the ministry” (122). Norrish describes this “wrong thinking” as creating a “caste system within the church,” where “missionaries (and) pastors” are in the “high caste” and “businessmen, carpenters . . . and managers” are “low caste” (258). Norrish echoes the other authors when he writes: “Christ’s lordship integrates the dichotomy of the church versus the world, the sacred versus the secular. The everyday working life of the businessman involved in mission is as sacred as the evangelistic Bible study he runs” (257).
Today we are riding a new wave in mission, the wave of kingdom business. It challenges how we have done mission in the past. It opens exciting new doors to Spirit-filled young people who are responding to the Great Commission.
Check these titles:
Befus, David R. 2002. Kingdom Business: The Ministry of Promoting Economic Development. Miami: Latin America Mission. Available at .
Myers, Bryant. 1999. Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. Mary-knoll, N.Y.: Orbis.
Copyright © 2004 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.