Why should I join MDE?
This is always a hard one to answer. We can’t say you should join, but can give you reasons to consider it. You should consider joining MDE if you:
- Believe God has called you to work full-time in the marketplace (and be missional while doing so). If God has called you to full-time church planting and you want to be involved in the marketplace “on the side,” we are not the organization for you. There are many “traditional” missions agencies we would recommend. We are designed to partner with believers who want to work in a “secular” environment.
- Want to be missional in the workplace and understand that you need others who are missional to walk with as you in order to be successful.
- Understand the services and support MDE provides and understand how they will help you in your vocational and missional calling.
- Want to be held accountable for developing and achieving missional goals. We’re fairly flexible and don’t have too many requirements, but this is one of them. We are not a club, and so we require our members to be missional and to be willing to be held accountable in this regard.
- Desire to be part of a growing community of Christians seeking to make disciples through the relationships that flow naturally from participating in the marketplace of unreached communities.
How do I become an MDE member?
The application process is fairly simple and can be done online. It includes:
- Paying a $35 application fee
- Completing the online application
- Submitting your resume
- Providing four references
The MDE Review Team (MRT) will review your application, usually within a week of receiving your last reference form, and then contact you with the Next Steps, which include:
- Signing the MDE Statement of Faith
- Undergoing a background check
- Completing the MMPI psychological evaluation
For BAM membership steps, see the BAM FAQs below.
What do I get as a member?
MDE provides a variety of services to you and connects you to vetted resources that enable you to be missional in the unreached community to which God has called you. These services vary depending on whether you are serving the unreached community as a tentmaker, BAMer, or community developer, but generally include:
- Connecting you with opportunities in unreached communities that fit your individual skills and dreams.
- Connecting you with similar Christ-followers to team with in disciple-making and church planting endeavors.
- Providing you with resources (training, venture capital, coaches, advisers, security advice, etc.) to accomplish your call.
- Helping you develop specific ministry plans that tie directly into a disciple-making and church planting effort.
- Providing accountability partners to help you stay on course to achieve your vocational and ministry goals.
- Providing personal support in the logistics and challenges of living cross-cultural.
How much does it cost?
Individual Membership: $50/month
Couples' Membership (where both are members): $75/month
The membership fee is the same for those running a BAM venture, but we charge a fee for the business consulting and support services we provide. Typically this is an additional $150/month.
What countries do you work in?
Any country you do! Our mission is to serve our members in whatever country God places them. Our only requirement is that the community be one in which there is no vital, self-sustaining witness for Christ. We currently have members in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
What's the difference between a "tentmaker" and someone running a BAM venture?
For some folks—none. We use these two terms to distinguish between a member who is working for someone else as an employee and a member who is running a business as an entrepreneur. Both develop relationships with people in their unreached communities (co-workers, employees, vendors, bosses, customers, neighbors, etc.) and are committed to sharing the love and message of Christ. However, while some needs of tentmakers and BAMers are similar, some are not. So we provide each group with similar, but different, services designed to help them meet their unique needs.
What is a "tentmaker"?
We use the term “tentmaker” (or "TM") to describe a person who obtains a job in an unreached community, a job that he or she enjoys and is trained to do, for two purposes: first, to earn money to support themselves financially and second, to engage in an intentional disciple-making or church planting effort in that community. This is in essence what the apostle Paul did—making tents to support himself as he traveled from city to city to proclaim the gospel.
We do not recruit people to complete a process that we run in order to place them on a team we’ve built in a particular place we’ve picked in order to engage in a specific project we oversee. We are a service organization that partners with and supports believers God has called to engage the unreached through the marketplaces or workplaces of their communities. You tell us the place to which God is calling you and we connect you with fellow believers (either nationals or expats) who are engaged in disciple-making and who will draw you into their church planting community.
We connect you with training materials and programs that others have developed or run. (There are many good ones out there, therefore we don’t need to build our own.) The training can happen in a time or place that you choose, in person or online. If you have already been trained or have experience in an area, we don’t require you to be trained again in that area.
In fact, the only thing we require of our members is that they commit to growing in Christ and to sharing the gospel in an unreached community with those who need to hear it. Otherwise, we are here to serve you—not the other way around.
What is a BAM venture?
“BAM” is an acronym for Business as Mission. Some use the term Business for Transformation (“B4T”). Others use the term Kingdom Businesses. All these names and acronyms are labels used by different groups for endeavors striving to bring financial and spiritual value to unreached communities. At MDE, we don’t care what label you use. We partner with believers who have launched, or desire to launch, profitable, reproducible businesses and who are committed to making disciples in unreached communities.
BAM Membership Steps
The nature of BAM ventures requires a very fluid membership intake process. The steps to be taken and the sequence of those steps will vary based on the individual’s business experience, ministry experience, business capital needs, familiarity with the targeted unreached community, foreign language skills, teaming needs, and other similar issues.
Before becoming an MDE member, potential members and the MDE Director meet to review the proposed BAM venture’s missional business concept, its legal structure and ownership, and our vision and values alignment. If both feel comfortable moving ahead, the potential member completes the membership process.
In addition to the general membership steps given above, BAM applicants must also complete an Initial Business Questionnaire to give us a sense of needs and resources.
Upon acceptance into membership, the member is assigned a BAM Team Advisor who works with the member to:
- Build a support team
- Complete a missional business plan
- Complete pre-launch steps
- Fulfill the member’s vision to see disciples made and churches planted in an unreached community!
We believe there are many. However, our primary distinctive is that we partner with you as you build, launch, and scale your BAM venture. We connect you with advisors and coaches, but we go beyond that by connecting you with believers who help you resolve specific issues and achieve your goals. We find answers to your legal questions. We have an accountant answer your QuickBooks questions. We have a combination of MDE staff and volunteers develop a legal structure for your business or work out an arrangement to use or plug into ours. We build a team around you that meets with you regularly to move your venture forward. Many BAMers understand what they need to do but don’t have the resources to actually do it. Our corporate mission is to step into that gap.
In addition, we have developed a step-by-step process that we utilize to help you organize your business, hone your product or service, sharpen your business plan, and articulate your vision and mission. We understand that a partnership creates responsibilities for each partner. MDE commits to providing our services in a timely, professional, effective manner.
We are not a mission agency; we are a service organization made up of business people seeking to be missional. We understand both the vital role entrepreneurs play in the evolving marketplace missions movement and their unique needs. We have built our organization to meet those needs and to foster a community that values and supports missional business people.
What types of BAM ventures do you partner with?
Pretty much any and all. We find volunteer advisors in all business areas. In the past, we’ve taken a manufacturing process expert to Albania to help improve the production of wood-burning stoves made by Roma workers we hired. An attorney went to Spain to meet with a lawyer there to set up a corporation that will house a scuba diving business. Dairy farms, shuttle services, coffee roasters, IT providers, nationals and expats are some of the ventures and people we are currently serving.
What does a community developer do?
An MDE community developer invests in unreached communities with the goal of fostering sustainable economic and social growth, meeting demonstrated needs, and paving the way to witness for Christ. There are many organizations providing help in the name of Christ, so our focus is on partnering with both individuals and groups delivering “general” social services that allow them to share Christ on a personal level with the people they meet through the natural course of their community development work.
There are many great organizations doing incredible things in the community development world. MDE is not one of them. We are a service and networking organization that partners with individuals or organizations that God has called to bring value to an unreached community and to help that community work through social and economic issues.
We help you find the resources you need to enhance and improve your vision and mission. As with all our members, we work with you to develop a plan for sharing Christ with those God brings your way as you engage in your work as a developer.
Who can be a student member?
Any student who is currently enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate program. Students qualify for the student membership rate until their date of graduation or when they discontinue full-time studies.
Why should I become a student member?
MDE's key service to students is the provision of a mentor. Your mentor will help you grow in your understanding of what it means to serve as a Tentmaker, what you need to do now to prepare for service after school, encourage and hold you accountable in your spiritual growth, and advise you on professional development that will position you well for finding a job abroad after you finish your studies.
Why should my church partner with MDE?
Every pastor desires to see his congregation engaging more deeply in their faith. MDE offers an avenue for those believers with marketplace giftings and experiences to move the Gospel forward by volunteering with those talents alongside MDE members who are building missional businesses in unreached communities. Best of all, they can do this from the comfort of their home or business!
What does partnership look like?
Church partnership with MDE is primarily about making the opportunities to get involved known to your members. MDE depends on our network of volunteers to serve as advisors and mentors. You can add MDE to your list of ministries, highlight opportunities on a regular basis, or even invite an MDE staff member to speak at your church.