What’s in Your Wallet?
By Lori Dixon
[Editor’s Note: The faces of participants have been blurred to protect their identity.]
14 December 2017—You may be familiar with the popular credit card ad, “What’s in your wallet?,” a phrase all too familiar in American culture, driving the idea that your dreams can become a reality if you have the right piece of plastic at your disposal. Implementing this concept is not only an unwise personal finance move, but a poor business strategy as well. While people worldwide struggle with not enough paycheck at the end of each month, there are many pastors globally who must choose between working to support their family or ministering to their communities. Don and Caroline Armstrong, Global Strategy regional coordinators for Asia and the Pacific, are providing a solution that enables pastors and lay leaders to develop a source of sustainable personal income so they can be actively involved in ministry.
The Armstrongs discovered “What’s in Your Hand?,” a business training program created by Global Disciples, a missions organization specializing in global church planting that helps prepare pastors for ministry support through small business project development. The biblically based training focuses on business plan development, ethical business practices, and accounting skills. As certified trainers, Don and Caroline lead seminars throughout the Asia-Pacific region, transforming the opportunities for ministry across this area. Other Global Strategy regions are considering implementation of this successful model as well.
In addition to the training, the program also provides an opportunity to launch a business through microloans made available to the most promising young entrepreneurs. While the training is a vital asset, the addition of the microloan program helps make the dream viable for maximum personal and community impact. Each seminar costs $500, with an additional $4,500 in available microloan funds per country. The current targeted areas include Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. These loans are repaid over a two- to three-year period, regenerating funds for future participants.
Project Updates From Recent Graduates
Jayamati has a dream of becoming a nurse. The sales from her door-to-door cosmetic business enable her to attend nurse training courses in a northern India.
Bartholomew wanted to purchase land for a vegetable garden, but the expense exceeded the allowed loan limit. With the assistance of a smaller loan, he explored another option opening a successful restaurant near a local high school. While the establishment is nonsmoking and doesn’t serve alcohol, customers know they will always find a listening ear and receive prayer if they want it. Bartholomew considers his café his ministry, and it provides him with $90 per month in income. You may recognize one of his recent patrons perusing the menu in the picture below.
Another resourceful Church of God pastor provides a wedding video service with opportunities to connect with non-Christian families in the community. This unique venture allows the pastor to employ youth from his church to work alongside him in the business. During peak wedding season, the service can make approximately $500 a month.
A core project benefiting churches provides water buffalo, a staple tool, which can be rented out or used for daily work. The first calf is provided to the local church and the second calf is given to the national assembly. In this model, they both are provided with immediate income streams.
What’s in your wallet? your hand? your heart?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Matthew 6:21 NIV
The possibilities for this program are limitless with the right partnerships. Empowering local leaders to be self-supporting is life-giving to ministry in these communities. Is God calling you to partner with the Asia-Pacific microloan project? Maybe you are a business leader or an entrepreneur at heart and you understand the importance of receiving a good return on your investment. Have you ever considered assisting a global entrepreneur for the sake of the kingdom?
For more information about small business training and about this micro-loan project, click here.
Gifts given through the December 31 may be eligible for the matching gifts fund. Click here for more details.