Pakistan (MNN) — The global economy hasn’t looked this bad since the Great Depression. A new report from the International Labor Organization says last year, job losses due to COVID-19 were four times as bad as the 2009 financial crisis.
Small business owners everywhere feel the hit, especially in Pakistan. More about that here.
“There are many Christian small businesses; a little welding shop or, you know, auto repair or something like that. The COVID lockdowns last year, not the COVID infection so much, but the lockdowns put most of them out of business. It’s a [dire] situation that I’m very concerned about,” says Jonathan*, a Christian worker focused on Pakistan.
There are no social safety nets during hard times like these.
“The government doesn’t have resources for unemployment insurance or COVID checks. There is nothing like that in Pakistan,” Jonathan explains.
“During the COVID lockdowns, the government did have a program for poor people either to get small cash grants or food handouts. There are a lot of reports of Christians not being able to access that.”
There’s an entrepreneurial effort underway to empower Christian business owners and Kingdom-building work in Pakistan. You can support it here through MENA Collective.
“It is easy for people to think of ‘Business as Mission’ as you can be an evangelist or a church planter in the marketplace. I think He’ll call some to that, but not everyone. That’s a narrow view of what it means to be a faith-driven entrepreneur,” Jonathan says.
“There [are] a variety of ways in which God calls people to bring glory to His name with their business.”
Building on past research, local church leaders and partnering organizations can launch innovative new programs. With sustainability in mind, Jonathan says his team is introducing a new approach to Christian outreach.
“Christians typically haven’t participated in the marketplace in Pakistan. When a Christian with an entrepreneurial bent thinks about starting something new, they start a ministry rather than start a business. We want to change that,” Jonathan explains.
Becoming self-supportive means Pakistani believers can gradually move away from their reliance on Western financing, he adds.
“We want to raise a whole generation of Christian entrepreneurs that can create the value the Church needs for its work.”
*–Name withheld for security purposes.
Header image courtesy of iXimus from Pixabay.