We gathered in the empty restaurant on a Monday morning in Hong Kong. The restaurant would open later for business, but now was hosting a special group of key Asian leaders. There around the table were twelve Chinese small business owners. This is one of several groups that meet each week in a carefully orchestrated strategic ministry. The leader is a mature believer. He is supported by the ministry's director who is a skilled facilitator and by another very successful business leader who co leads the group. Both are in attendance but play a minor role on this day. The setting was not that much different than we see in groups all over the U. S. in multiple workplace ministries. These leaders look different, speak another language, and come from a different culture. However, their hearts are the same as we see all over the world.
The group starts with a bible lesson, followed by a time of discussion among themselves. That may have been limited because of our presence that morning. One of the two brothers, who co-own the restaurant, has just trusted Christ this week, so there is a time of special prayer for him. Then the group members split up into groups of four where they discuss problems very similar to those that we have in our country. One business has huge opportunities and is growing too fast, while another is losing 20% of their sales. Others have issues with financing and employees. The uniqueness of the group that I joined is that all four have factories in China. Each of them will leave on Tuesday morning and travel by train or other ways to their plant. There they will work for three or four days and then return to Hong Kong. Each of them is investing into the lives of their employees in China as well as struggling to make a profit and keep their business on track. These entrepreneurs are not only pioneers in business but ambassadors for Christ in their workplaces.
This workplace organization knows that life change is difficult and takes time. Mature believers who are successful in business in many parts of Asia and North America are committed to training and equipping business leaders in both Hong Kong and China. Each one of their directors is highly skilled in their professional expertise and longs to see thousands of Asian business leaders apply biblical principles in every business deal. They know that this equipping process is slow but will produce excellent returns. I was so impressed by their values which were common to my own. There understanding of the scriptures and how leaders are best trained was outstanding. I would stand back to back with these men and women in any battle, because they have the wisdom and anointing of the living God.
This is just one of several marketplace groups that we met with one on one and in small groups. Each of these ministries is supported by mostly volunteer business leaders who want to make a difference in improving the lives and businesses of leaders throughout Asia. Some of these organizations focus on Hong Kong, and others look to China or multiple other Asian countries. As they fly around the world and practice their profession, they so integrate their lives, that you can not tell whether they are doing business, consulting others in business, or doing workplace ministry. Each one of these special ministry leaders has several things in common. They have outstanding business track records, unmatched professional skills, a heart for the nations of Asia, and an understanding of how to equip entrepreneurial leaders. They are committing their time, financial resources, and reputation as they work together in Kingdom enterprises. Some use small groups like our example above, others do one on one consulting, some do seminars, and others produce biblical materials for business. God is choosing multiple methods, personalities, backgrounds, and gifts as He weaves his tapestry for life change in the leaders of the marketplaces of Asia. I have been in business for over forty years and active in ministering in the workplace for most of those years. It is obvious that God is working in business leaders Latin America, South Africa, and other places around the world. But, I have never seen the opportunity for sheer growth in numbers and open doors as I see in the marketplaces of Asia. Many tools can be used to bring life change to business owners across the world, but most of them are not quick fixes. Most change comes one leader and one life at a time. Life changing small groups and other methods are being used by God around the world.
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Faith@Work, by Os Hillman
Is there a real move of God in the workplace? If so, what do pastors and church leaders need to know? How can the church mobilize workplace believers to impact their city and nation? Os Hillman will answer these and many more questions about the modern-day faith at work movement. Foreword by Dr. Peter Wagner.