Tentmaking – The T1 Model

Patrick Lai, in his book Tentmaking: The Life and Work of Business as Missions, describes 5 different categories of Tentmakers: T1 – T5. So what about the T1 model? What are the pros and cons of this type of tentmaker?


A T1 tentmaker is basically someone who happens to work for a secular company and gets a job placement overseas in a closed country. Their motivation for taking this job was not based on church planting or strategic missional thought. The company in which they worked sent them on this mission.

Strong Identity

The beauty of the T1 model is that these people have super strong identities. There is no question who they work for, where they get their money, or what is their “real reason” for being in the country.

T1 tentmakers can be bold in their walk with the Lord because they have a strong identity.

Purpose & Accountability

What has been seen is that most but not all T1 tentmakers usually do not have the same drive for church planting. They are not following a calling of ministry that the Lord placed on their lives.

Although they are shining the light of Jesus, they may lack the intentionality in the proclamation.

T1 tentmakers have great accountability when it comes to their job setting…they have structures in place to make sure they perform. However, when it comes to church planting and proclamation, they usually lack the accountability that other tentmakers will have.

Because it is not their primary reason for coming to the country, they may lack motivation to learn language and jump into culture.

One other area that may be of conflict is the use of time. A T1 tentmaker has clearly defined use of time. They have work hours and vacation days! They are not “free” to meet during the work day or jet around the world to “CP conferences.”


T1 tentmakers don’t have to worry about finances; they are usually fully taken care of by their employer. They receive excellent salaries and perks! Some people may enjoy the fact that they didn’t have to raise any funds for living overseas.


Who can truly measure effectiveness for the Lord? By human standards, T1 workers have been less effective than other types, however, not all. Living out your faith and proclaiming the name of Jesus should be a normal part of your life.

The key to becoming an effective T1 tentmaker is learning to be intentional about living out your very life with the lost around you.

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