While sitting with some future “bammers,” one of them asked me what I considered to be the makeup of the good Kingdom Entrepreneur.
I gave them the typical response but as I thought more about it, I have come up with some traits and characteristics of a good “long-term Christian Business Person.”
Passion for Christ and the Nations!
First and foremost, anyone looking to work full-time overseas proclaiming the name of Jesus (whether as a tentmaker or tradition missionary) needs to have a passion for Jesus Christ.
Each and everyone of us needs to growing in our love for Christ and fanning the flame of Jesus in our lives. Time with Jesus must be a priority because without it…your first love will soon fade away.
Along with a passion for Jesus, we need to also have a passion for the nations…that none should perish. We need to have a burning desire in our hearts to share His love with the lost around us.
Our hearts need to break for the lost. It is easy to grow hard over time…pray for a soft heart for the nations.
In my mind, each tentmaker should have a distinct calling of the Lord on his life to enter into this lifestyle as a tentmaker. Choosing to set out on an adventure is not the right reason to go overseas…and you will quickly end up frustrated and heading home.
If you sense the Lord’s calling on your life, seek His face and have him confirm the call to you. Write it down…document the amazing ways that he lead you.
What about skills or training?
I have met a number of workers on the field who are not comfortable sharing their faith or doing discipleship with a new believer.
Each of us should take the necessary time to develop our spiritual tools to be able to effectively share and disciple those who ask about the truth.
However, I do not believe that everyone needs to have a degree from a Bible school or attend seminary. An excellent way to develop these skills is to get involved with your local church or find a mentor who can model this to you. If you don’t share in your home country, your probably won’t do it overseas either.
As I spoke to some young college students, I shared that I felt it was super important to also get a “degree” other than missions or intercultural studies. Not that these aren’t great, but having a skill that allows you to get a job or establish your professional identity is very important. I have met people working as tentmakers using teaching, accounting, business, medical, music, technology, engineering, etc…
Having a profession that you can use as a foundation is a perfect tool for a tentmaker. ***Note: You may not ever work in this area, but it gives you something to stand on.
Tenacity & Perseverance
I have read in a number of books that the most effective people have been in a location for 5 or more years. This is just the beginning of a long-term focus.
A tentmaker must have tenacity and perseverance because they need to focus on the long haul.
They must learn the language, settle a family, setup a business, learn the culture, and overcome many challenges, while constantly living a life that declares Jesus. Without the Lord’s help, this is impossible. We need to ask him for perseverance!
Humility – Life of a Learner
We have all heard this over and over, however, it is true. My wife and I have learned so many things from our local friends. Our eyes continue to be opened to see more of the culture.
Taking on the attitude of a learner will open many doors to ask questions and create great discussions. Eventually they will ask you what you believe and you should be “ready to give an answer for the hope that you have.”