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Stories & Blog

The Opportunities and Challenges of Sending Marketplace Workers

The Opportunities and Challenges of Sending Marketplace Workers

Read the series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The conundrum: Most least-reached peoples live in countries where mission workers are not allowed.
 How can the church reach them? Here are two ways:
  • Send marketplace workers who take a job with a company in a least-reached area.
  • Connect with English-speaking believers already living and working overseas.
By training and mentoring these marketplace workers to make disciples through their workplace, the church can reach the least-reached.

According to the AARO, an estimated 8 million Americans (excluding military) live overseas. If 5 percent of them are believers (a low estimate), that’s 400,000 Jesus-followers from the U.S. scattered throughout the world with legitimate visa identities. Think of the potential disciple-making force that represents!

Unfortunately, many of these do not see themselves as kingdom workers in their jobs (as is often the case here). It is very common for expatriates to stay in their expat communities where life is more comfortable, understandable, and secure. But what if we challenged them to see the strategic nature of their workplace as a providential opportunity to love God and make disciples of all nations?

Those who take jobs overseas face many of the same challenges as mission workers:
  • Integrating into the language and culture
  • Managing family stress
  • Parenting and educating third-culture kids
  • Finding spiritual community
  • Learning how to effectively make disciples in the context of the workplace, neighborhood and family
These issues can be daunting — even when the worker has a supportive church in the U.S. But sending organizations like Crossworld have decades of experience with cross-cultural transition and ministry. Churches like yours can benefit from Crossworld’s holistic preparation as well as ongoing training and mentoring — empowering marketplace workers to move outside the expat bubble for true, effective incarnational ministry.
Last year, Patrick decided to take a corporate position overseas intentionally for kingdom purposes, moving there with his family. But by the time his transfer went through, he only had a month before leaving. Patrick and his church approached Crossworld to help him prepare for this life-changing transition in the short time he had left. Now that he is overseas, we are continuing to work with his church to provide the ongoing cross-cultural support that’s our specialty. 

Though marketplace workers and mission workers face similar challenges on the field, the process of sending them may look quite different. But as the church reaches the least-reached, the impact will be well worth the creative effort it will take.
How many Patricks are in your church? Can you imagine churches across the U.S. catching the vision to send Jesus-followers, young and old, to be international job-takers? Do you have that vision for your church?

The people in this story are real but italicized names have been changed to protect identity.
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