Pakistan (MNN) – The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on small businesses globally, including in Pakistan. Without any safety nets, many businesses have closed down. However, several groups are coming together to help re-establish Christian small businesses through grants, as well as promote entrepreneurial efforts in the Church.
Jonathan, a Christian worker in Pakistan says, “The groups that I’m working with – the Pakistan Partnership Initiative, the Pak Mission Society – are already looking at Business Reestablishment Grants for people who have a track record of having successful businesses but went out of business during COVID. [We want] to help them get out from under their weight of debt – a $500 grant to just help them get their businesses started again.”
This effort will not only help to support individuals and their families but can support the Church and new entrepreneurs as well.
A Broad Vision for Christian Business
While God designed people to be creative, sometimes there are narrow views in the Church of what Christian businesses should look like. Having a base of Christian businesses operating in an area gives new entrepreneurs ideas of how their work can bring glory to God.
“So being salt and light in the marketplace, sharing your faith with other businesspeople, He’s gifted some people in that way. Others may see their giftedness in terms of providing jobs that give a fair wage, and they deal with integrity in the marketplace.
“Others may do things like actually make grants to poverty alleviation programs, like many of the Christian foundations here do. I think there are many ways in which your view of being a steward of these resources can express itself.”
New Business Opportunities
With that broader view of Christian business in mind, Jonathan and his partners are pulling together the details to offer training for entrepreneurs in growing sectors like the digital marketplace. The Pakistani equivalent of Amazon is exploding right now, and Jonathan sees opportunities for Christians to get involved.
“There is so much e-commerce opportunity in Pakistan and I would love to see the Christian community engage with that,” Jonathan says. “So we are taking a team of Pakistanis to Egypt, to see the work of a Christian organization there called The Community that has been doing this in Egypt. And we want to learn from their experience and maybe they can come and help us in Pakistan.”
Christians in Pakistan have a tremendous opportunity to be involved in building their economy. This would not only help transform the marketplace, but it would be an opportunity for the Church in Pakistan to become more self-supporting for new initiatives and less dependent on outside resources.
He says that there needs to be a mind shift though. “Taking that stewardship perspective and realizing that running a Christian business can be as much of a spiritual calling from God as being a pastor or being a missionary. So this is a very new message.”
Jonathan says that starting up these efforts requires support. He asks the Church to pray and to consider how to give.
“I would really love for people to pray for the church in Pakistan and for this endeavor. At the same time, particularly for the Business Reestablishment Grants, we are looking for resources for that. Those funds do have to be raised somewhere and a $500 grant can help a Pakistani businessperson get back into business and provide for their family.”
Help support Pakistani entrepreneurs here.
Header image courtesy of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Flickr https://bit.ly/3axTnzj