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“Church planting isn’t my calling.”

09.18.19
by Crossworld
in Blog, Business and Management, Business as Mission, East Asia
Can you impact the least-reached without being a missionary? Find out in this Q&A with a marketplace disciple-maker.

Crossworld worker Brandon has spent years running successful businesses overseas. For Brandon, his workplace is more than a job. We sat down with him to hear his story as a marketplace worker.

Brandon, tell us how you ended up in Asia.

I was working in London when my mentor took me to a Business as Mission (BAM) conference. I thought, When I get old that’s what I want to do. But just a short time later, I connected with some friends in Texas who wanted to start a factory in East Asia, and they asked me to run it. I didn’t know anything about running a factory and I didn’t know the language very well, but we all prayed about it and the Lord opened doors. Four months later I was on the ground.

“Some days the job can feel like a boring 9-5, but if that’s where He calls us to be, then that’s where He will accomplish His will through us, even if we don’t see it today or this month or this year.”

What are some of the challenges you faced early on, and how did you overcome them?

I arrived in January and by September, I was frustrated that I wasn’t seeing the spiritual results I wanted. I started to question my purpose for being there. My mentor reminded me that the Lord doesn’t call us to results but to obedience. The most important thing is to seek Him first and enjoy Him. Some days the job can feel like a boring 9-5, but if that’s where He calls us to be, then that’s where He will accomplish His will through us, even if we don’t see it today or this month or this year.

Tell us a story about someone whose life was changed in the workplace.

In the factory, most of our management team were followers of Jesus, but most of our 80 employees were not — including our production manager, Rose. Sometimes Rose stood in our way of ministering to our employees.

One day a friend of mine asked if a church medical team could visit our factory. Our employees received free check-ups from this team of doctors and dentists, and they had the option of spending time with a local pastor. Almost everyone chose to do so. (They’d rather talk to a pastor than go back to work.)

More than a dozen people professed faith in Christ that day. Not all of them continued in faith, but it did stick with Rose. She’s still following Jesus and now she helps reach out and minister to the employees on the production floor.

And now, 15 years later, what are you up to?

I helped run that factory for eight years before I joined a real estate company based in America. I work with the international side of the business as my family and I continue to live in East Asia.

What have you learned about integrating your faith with your work?

“While church planting isn’t my calling, Crossworld’s emphasis on discipleship rings home for me.”

Every company is different. Some BAM companies focus on a missional product or environmental stewardship. When I worked at the factory, we focused our attention on our employees. We hired people with disabilities off the street — people that other companies wouldn’t hire. We provided good jobs and employee benefits, and we shared about Jesus when we could.

I thought the real estate company would be similar, but it’s not the same at all. Instead of working with my employees every day, I only see my clients once or twice a year. Our focus here is on generating profit for missional purposes. I’m currently working on a project to build a billion-dollar skyscraper and donate 100% of the profit to fight human trafficking in my country. It’s kind of like Toms shoes for real estate and human trafficking.

What value do you as a marketplace worker receive by being part of a mission agency like Crossworld?

Someone said to me, “Going into the mission field without prayer support is like sending troops without air support. If you have air support, you should use it.” But besides the prayer support and logistical help, I love being part of a larger team and having accountability and direction. Crossworld brought me a mentor in my field who helps me stay focused. And while church planting isn’t my calling, Crossworld’s emphasis on discipleship rings home for me.

What advice would you give someone considering marketplace work overseas?

There’s nothing better or worse about being a marketplace worker compared to a pastor or missionary. If the marketplace is where the Lord has called you, that’s where you want to be. Moving overseas is a step of faith and it will have challenges, even dangers. But we only get this one lifetime to exercise our faith. Choose to pursue things different than what the world pursues — not riches or comfort, but treasure in heaven.

Want to join Brandon on mission in the marketplace? Talk to us.

The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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