Mission to the World held a Business as Mission (BAM) conference in Athens, Greece in late April. While the focus of the speakers was BAM -- a lot of the attendees were interested in vocational ministry. What's the difference?
Business as Mission has been more narrowly defined in recent years as entrepreneurial business start-up or entrepreneurial business start-up training in countries where BAM can be used to start local businesses with Christian values. Vocational ministry has been used as a term more lately to describe one's living out one's Christian values in the workplace -- whether or not a new business is developed though entrepreneurial efforts.
Both can be seen as a kind of tent-making activity -- but that too has come to be more narrowly defined as some one who engages in some secular work in order to support their full-time, non-secular ministry (think of the difference between the Apostle Paul who engaged in "tent-making" to enhance his ministry and Aquila and Priscilla who made tents for a living -- which in fact became their ministry.)
Kelsey Wiggs video on vocational ministry was reviewed by attendees (see the post on the Kelsey Wiggs Facebook video on this site). David Veldhorst, an MTW recruiter, reported that over the last three months he has seen more and more interest by professionals regarding opportunities to use their vocational skills in multinational or national corporations, companies and agencies globally.
Jud gave a report on creating a new ministry deployment platform -- The 18.26 Network -- as a way to deploy men and women in ministry overseas where their primary source of income is their "secular" work. A great deal of discussion followed Jud's report, centering around how we can better create services that would support the ministry of these professional men and women.
The next step for the 18.26 Network would be to create a field advisory council for the development of these services and a plan for integrating vocational ministry into church-planting and team strategies.
"Come and See" In Brussels/Gent -- an introduction to The Fellows Intuitive for European church leaders
In April Jud sponsored a mini-Come and See conference in Brussels and Gent, Belgium. Fellows Initiative (TFI) leaders presented key values and vision for vocational ministry internships.
There are presently 27 TFI Fellows sites in the U.S. and one is being developed in Monterrey, Mexico. We are working closely with two Monterrey churches to help develop their internships and this has now resulted in two churches in Belgium showing interest in developing vocational ministry training in Europe.
International and US Fellows sites will provide a trained and motivated "volunteer army" of prospective global vocational ministry participants. We see this as one arm of 18.26 Network development.
This year a beta test of Fellows will begin in Monterrey. We will hire a interim director (Fernando Garza -- pictured above), form a local board of directors, recruit one to three interns and begin training church leaders.
Within two years we would like to be at the same stage in Brussels and Gent. We are presently looking for an interim director. Church leaders in Belgium will also begin a planning process to train local church members in vocational ministry prior to recruiting interns.
Shortly after the Come and See conference in Brussels/Gent the National Fellows Conference in the US was held in Washington, DC. Fernando and Jud attended that conference as well. As a result of our meetings, a number of US Fellows directors have offered to help with the start-up in Monterrey.
Jan will be speaking at a women's conference in Northern New York in May. Her theme is Songs for the Journey. She will focus on Psalm 46 and Psalm 84 -- and two hymns based on those Psalms: A Mighty Fortress is Our God by Martin Luther and Children of the Heavenly Father by Carolina Sandell. The themes will build on Jan's personal experiences working in the Middle East and Europe over the last 20 years.
You may be asking yourself what the word "phigital" means. It is a term I first ran into reading the book -- Gen Z at Work -- by David and Jonah Stallman. I would define phigital as "kind-of physically present in a digital way." Carolyn Morris (pictured on the left) will be an intern for the 18.26 Network this summer. She will be a junior at Auburn University this coming year and is heavily involved in the International Justice Ministry. Carolyn will be doing research on missions training for Gen Z during her internship. She will visit Fellows chapters and also attend the Cross Cultural Ministry Internship held in Brussels in July. We are excited to have Carolyn working with us. Pray for her time in the US and Belgium while she is doing her internship.
At the Business as Mission conference that Mission to the World sponsored in Athens, Greece in April 2017 I showed Kelsey Wigg's vocational ministry video. It had reached nearly 3400 in a year. Kelsey was there to see it. She joked that 3399 views were by her mom. That got me thinking -- so I went to Facebook Help and found this clarifying piece of information:
So even though Kelsey's mom may have watched her video 3399 times -- Facebook only recorded her as being reached once. We are grateful that so many people have reposted this after viewing. The number of people interested in vocational ministry continues to grow.
"Monterrey is ready for a vocational intern program with Fellows and City to City Latin America as key partners." This statement sums up the topic of discussion pictured below between Jud Lamos and Morna Comeau in Monterrey, Mexico this last December.
Jud sponsored a conference to introduce vocational ministry internships to key church and business leaders in Monterrey, Mexico in early December. The Fellows International and City to City Latin America were co-presenters.
Starting on Friday, December 9, about 35 church leaders from four different denominations met at the Church Planting Institute in Monterrey. They listened attentively to The Fellows International leaders present the vision and values they feel are needed for a successful residential, vocational internship that is sponsored by the local church. For many of the church leaders the presentation was exactly what they wanted to hear.
Focusing on the local church and the city "ecosystem" the overall theme was taken from Proverbs 11:10 -- "When the righteous prosper the city rejoices." This theme was repeated again on the next when business leaders met at a large conference room at the Holiday Inn in one of the up and coming business districts of Monterrey. It was pointed, given the venue, that the President of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels had a son who had been a Fellow recently.
Again many leaders, this time from the business community, attested to the fact that Monterrey was ready for a intern program that would focus on the values of integrity, professional development, spiritual maturity, community values and a heart for the needy within the city. A few of the business leaders were Evangelical Christians but most were not. It was wonderful to hear their commitment to Fellows regardless of their background or religious affiliation.
After the business conference ended, key missions leaders joined us from SAM and Serge. Along with Church Planting Institute, the Fellows and the City to City leaders, a strategy session for next steps was held. A general agreement was developed for moving forward in an exploratory way but I believe that the Fellows internship in Monterrey will become a reality within the next two years. Much work needs to be done for that to happen. Please pray with us for this project.
Jud Lamos, February 8, 2017
To view a preliminary rough cut of a promotional video for the Monterrey Fellows program click on the button below.
To read an article in By Faith about the Fellows Internship in Greenville, SC click on the button below.
For more information on The Fellows Initiative click on the button below.
Jud and Jan Lamos have been in global ministry for over 40 years -- not combined years -- but 40 sequential years together. They have lived in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas and now travel extensively to globalize Mission to the World's vision, values and goals. These blogs add special insight into their lives of service.