“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)
Without the incarnation of Christ, we could not know the Father. Christians follow Christ’s example when they intentionally enter into the lives of their neighbors, identify with them, and seek to bring the message and love of Jesus Christ. This lifestyle looks different depending on the context, but it can be described as incarnational ministry.
Showing Hospitality and Honor
While doing business in North Africa, Alan’s family practiced Christian hospitality. They invited their employees and their families into their home at least once a quarter. Holidays and birthday celebrations were opportunities to interact and fellowship with employees as peers–the breaking of bread, strong coffee, laughter, and confidences shared. Even though Muslim tradition honors hospitality, Alan’s employees were astonished.
“This is the strangest thing. You’re the boss. Why are you doing this?”
Local employers in North Africa refused to associate with those of a lower rank. Culture dictated that they be invited to their employees’ family celebrations, but they rarely attended. Yet, when the employees invited Alan, he felt honored to be included and always brought a gift to honor the host in return.
Employers were known to be stingy and often withheld wages. Alan treated employees with understanding and compassion in the workplace. He and his business partner paid their employees on time, according to their contracts.
And at crucial times, Alan would offer to pray for an employee’s need.
For many of Alan’s employees, he was the first authority figure who treated them with honor and helped to lift their burdens. His life and leadership spoke of the Jesus he followed. The question, “Why are you doing this?” uniquely opened doors for gospel teaching and storytelling.
Alan’s story is one we hear repeated in the lives of those making money and making disciples in unreached communities. Doing business well not only brings economic value, it also permits them to have authentic access and gives them long-term relational impact.
“Making disciples” well deepens those relationships and brings eternal value. MDE serves BAM members as they develop their ministry plan and connects them with mentors who provide guidance and accountability. BAM members often express how vital MDE’s missional services are in assisting them in fulfilling their call.
*Name changed for privacy.
“The show business, which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord’s conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes.”