In my sophomore year of college, I switched majors from Elementary Education to Business Communications. What did I want to do with that degree? No idea.
In my senior year of college, I studied abroad in Uganda, where I stayed with a host family of four. My host father started a naturopathic medicine business and traveled to heal people physically and spiritually. As I followed him on home visits, I noticed his priority was to share the Gospel with others. It just happened to be accompanied by various herbal supplements and homemade teas. Suddenly, my new business degree had new life breathed into it.
Discipling Marketplace Leaders (DML) teach individuals, like my host father, how to use business to share the love of Jesus intentionally. They do this structured around three values: ensuring the business helps economically support its country, cares for the environment, and engages others in a way that represents God’s love.
DML joined GACX in 2019 and immediately started contributing their wisdom to the GACX community. At the 2022 GACX Forum, DML led workshops with Global Advance, Team Expansion, Activate Global, and The Kairos Collaborative on the marketplace.
Each of these GACX members approaches the marketplace in different ways that complement one another:
Global Advance provides business strategy and conducts business training in Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Team Expansion coaches individuals to make disciples in closed countries in the Middle East.
Activate Global encourages church planters to be bi-vocational (simultaneously working in ministry and business), especially in high-risk countries such as India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Kairos Collaborative consults organizations to help employees connect their work to their faith.
DML comes alongside the local church in Africa and Latin America to implement the workforce as a ministry in their congregations. “Most churches have a women’s, youth, and children’s ministry. We believe that every church that’s planted needs a workplace ministry”, explains Renita Reed-Thomson, President of Discipling Marketplace Leaders.
As a result of these collaborative presentations at the Forum, the door opened for DML to expand its reach into India. Ministries in India are experiencing challenges in terms of persecution, resulting in the inability to receive foreign aid and donations.
In April, DML, Reaching Indian Ministries International (RIMI), and Mission India met to discuss helping Christians in India start businesses to sustain funding for their ministries internally. Subsequently, RIMI wants to mandate a course on marketplace ministry as a part of their curriculum at their seminary, with DML designing and teaching the classes.
Reed-Thomson closed our conversation by saying, “We are all in full-time ministry. Some of us do it as a mechanic, as a hairdresser, or as a church planter.”
I am now recognizing that some do it as a naturopathic doctor and others do it writing articles for the GACX website, reminding me of the words of Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
If your organization is interested in or active in marketplace missions, please get in touch with Renita Reed-Thomson at DML.