Lebanon (MNN) — Business as missions has been a popular way for Christian missionaries to enter creative access countries in the last few decades. But is it still the most effective method?
Pierre Houssney with Horizons International suggests the current business as missions model may at times have some flaws.
“Sometimes business as missions doesn’t go much beyond kind of a cover for missions. Sometimes it’s been a little bit prone to fail on the business side, and sometimes [it will] fail also to push forward the ministry activities that it’s trying to.”
That’s why Horizons International is taking this model and flipping it on its head. Their approach to ministry in Lebanon is what they like to call missional business.
Houssney describes it as business activities, not just for a missional cover, but with a missional purpose.
“What we’re trying to do with missional businesses is make them actually really viable businesses that directly impact the Kingdom. We have found the best results come from when we are using indigenous ideas for business and indigenous businessmen that are Kingdom-minded.”
Indigenous staff members in Lebanon with Horizons International have started small businesses around the country under this missional business model. Their ministry centers include daycares, gyms, coffee shops, bookstores, sewing centers, car wash and maintenance garages, and more!
“We’ve used these avenues not only to help pay for the rent of ministry spaces that we’re using, but also as a way to access communities that are really difficult to plant evangelical ministries in.”
Although mostly indigenous, these businesses with Horizons International are also supported by international staff at times with specialized skill sets.
Houssney shares the example of a gym in one of their newer ministry centers. “We have a Western missionary who is planning to come in and start to conduct Crossfit classes in the gym as another way to kind of access the community and provide revenue for the ministry.”
Lebanon is a country with ripe fields for a Gospel harvest. According to the Joshua Project, the country is nearly 60 percent Muslim. Around 13 percent of the Lebanese population is completely unreached with the Gospel.
Houssney says, “Those projects really directly advance the Gospel because [they] bring Muslims in from the community and they do get a chance to hear the Gospel through our spiritual ministry programs that we’re doing at the same time.”
If you like the thought of missional business with Horizons International, there are several ways you can get involved!
“We can use startup funds for these business activities. So, for example, we have a sewing shop in the south of Lebanon that we already have going. [From] that sewing shop, we’re actually not selling any of the product, but we’re giving out the product that refugee women are making…as aid to other refugees. We’re trying to open up other shops like that in our centers.”
To come alongside Horizons International financially, click here!
Additionally, Houssney says, “If there is anybody [who] has a specific business skill, they could also contact us and check if we can use that particular skill. So we would love to find out how to creatively partner with people so whatever they are offering to the Kingdom can be invested and we can use those specialized skills for the Gospel.”
Your prayers also have an impact on these missional businesses in Lebanon. As our Christian brothers and sisters minister to their communities through business ventures, please pray for the work of their hands to bring glory to God. Ask the Lord to open faith conversations between Lebanese believers and their neighbors. Pray for these businesses to thrive so their funds may have a widespread Gospel impact.
Header photo courtesy of Horizons International.