Will 21st Century Business Bring Coveted Self-sustainability in Vineyard Churches of Asia?
By Todd Rosenwald with Ross Naylor-Tatterson, Asia Regional Coordinator and lead pastor at Without Walls Vineyard Church, Holland, Michigan
In order for a church plant or community to become sustainable they must impact people of influence in their community. As people of influence are impacted they will begin contributing to the body of Christ there. However if outside sources sustain a local church, the local church is not motivated to reach the local people of influence. As a result the church only interacts with other Christians and their own church programs, stifling the spread of the gospel and growth of the local body.
God’s purpose for the church is to equip people to take Christian practices outside of the body of believers. Christian things happening in Christian places is normal, but equipping and encouraging Christians to do Christian things in non-Christian places is the function of the church.
Historically, church growth is limited when focusing the majority of our efforts at maintaining the local church. This has happened in Asia. Imagine the local impact on a community, if a contemporary equivalent of Zacchaeus, a man corrupt and despised, was transformed to the degree that Zacchaeus was when he began to love Jesus. Zacchaeus’ behavior changed, as did his attitudes and heart and therefore the community around him was transformed because of his influence.
When Jesus encountered Zacchaeus, he intentionally focused on the man, and prayed for him. Jesus invited himself into Zacchaeus’ life circumstances, and even his house. Wow. What would happen in your town if Christians would begin to reach your Zacchaeuses?
Asia is the world’s largest market place with a huge presence from the world’s most notable companies. What if the church could reach the business people and leaders like Zaccheaus and Lydia, the centurions and leaders of local governments? Abundant resources already exist in Asia, both people and finances, but we have not chased them down or invited ourselves into their lives yet. It is not too late to adjust our strategy. If mission-minded people and partnership leaders make it a goal to raise up local resources and church leadership, we will embark on a journey that will bring maturation to local churches in Asia, and a mature church is a multiplying church.
In your church right now, you probably have people doing business in Asia in some capacity. How might God want to use your church members to build his Kingdom in Asia? Ross Naylor-Tatterson, leader of the Vineyard Asia Region is excited to begin pursuing these relationships that are already in place. He says, “I would be very interested in being contacted by pastors or individuals who want to use their existing connections (business or relationship) in Asia for the advancement of the Kingdom.” But people don’t need to wait for Naylor-Tatterson before they begin sharing Jesus with their business contacts in Asia.
Business is all about networking in the twenty-first century, and relationships are no longer bound by space. The modern global outlook in the business world can be a gateway to share the gospel through business relationships world-wide, especially in Asia where both local leadership and funding are needed. Both are available, many have not yet had a Zacchaeus-type encounter with Jesus. Church members can be encouraged to connect their business contacts who show interest in the Kingdom into existing Vineyard churches near them. The Kingdom and the people will both be the gainers, as it will promote sustainability of those local churches thorough local tithes and offerings and raising up leaders.