In the last post we featured an interview with Dr. Zhao Xiao, a prominent Beijing economist and outspoken Christian, conducted in 2008. This article, in the Gospel Times (January 2012), is a report on a talk that Zhao gave addressing the question of how China's future missionary sending movement will be supported. Speaking to an audience in Los Angeles, California, Zhao explains that part of the answer is kingdom enterprises businesses launched for the express purpose of gospel impact on the communities in which they operate. Zhao points to examples of such enterprises in China as models of what Chinese could do abroad in the future.
During this period of rapid development, the Chinese church is facing many challenges, and they will not be solved in a short period of time. How can we bring about the vision that 30% of all Chinese people will be Christians by the year 2030? Dr. Zhao, who initiated the "30-30 Vision," believes that the key to success depends on the rise of Chinese workplace missionaries.
Famous Chinese economist Dr. Zhao, who recently attended the Southern California Chinese Business Men's Fellowship Conference, said that there are two paths toward achieving the 30-30 Vision: one is through traditional church missionary endeavors; the other is through workplace missionaries. He expounded on the many advantages that workplace missionaries have over church missions, and how they are the pivotal force in accomplishing the "30-30 Vision."
Regarding workplace missionaries, Dr. Zhao spoke of the idea of "kingdom enterprises." He explained that "kingdom enterprises" are different from common commercial enterprises. Although both seek to make a profit, "kingdom enterprises" do not seek first and foremost to make a profit. They make a profit by offering better products and services.
More importantly, said Dr. Zhao, "kingdom enterprises" are built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, the solid Rock, not based on any secular management philosophy. Therefore, the greatest goal of "kingdom enterprises" is to expand the Kingdom of God, bringing people to Jesus by influencing other peoples with the lives of their employees.
Dr. Zhao said that there are many examples of countries which have been transformed as a result of workplace missionaries. Examples of such transformations are Uganda and Nicaragua, where the percentages of Christians are 89% and 70% respectively.
Dr. Zhao also compared the advantages and disadvantages of the two paths in achieving the "30-30 Vision." He believes that the traditional model of church missions has a lot of limitations, with many restrictive conditions slowing its development. Yet workplace missionaries can conveniently fill in the gaps left by traditional church missions models.
To be more specific, with "kingdom enterprises," workplace missionaries can be self-sufficient without financial support from the Church. In places where the Church has minimal influence, "kingdom enterprises" can easily make an impact. In preaching and training, "kingdom enterprises" are equipped to be more effective than the Church.
Dr. Zhao emphasized that the concept of "kingdom enterprise" isn't just a theory. There are already many successful examples of "kingdom enterprises" in China. They need to achieve positive results across China. He used a Christian couple in Northeast China who own a beverage business as an example to explain that people can become workplace missionaries through their "kingdom enterprises."
That Northeastern entrepreneur has made his restaurant an altar that glorifies God. The Christian workers there sing praise songs while working. Many customers, after hearing the employees sing, have become Christians. The employees also pray for the customers, causing many customers to be profoundly moved and become Christians.
Moreover, that Christian entrepreneur also bought a mountain and turned it into a 24-hour prayer center, and held an evangelistic event for 10,000 people. He also provided the money to establish a seminary, supporting more than 300 pastors and preachers in their pursuit of further studies and training.Dr. Zhao concluded with this example and said that "kingdom enterprises" are not inferior to the traditional missions models in preaching and training, and may be even superior.
Looking toward the future, Dr. Zhao projects a "snowball effect," calling for more than 100,000 "kingdom entrepreneurs" to establish Christian enterprise groups, increasing the influence of workplace missionaries.
Dr. Zhao said that by 2030, "kingdom enterprises" can attain the goal of bringing at least 100 million Chinese to Christ. He also believes the Chinese church can bring 200 million Chinese to Jesus. With the 150 million Chinese who are already Christians, the beautiful "30-30 Vision" will be accomplished.
Image credit: by The Climate Group, via Flickr
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