We are excited to share about EFM’s Business as Mission (BAM) ministry arm and their first Small Business Development (SBD) training experience partnering with Global Disciples. They were just in Mexico from October 17-22.
EFM’s new BAM team was launched out of a Small Business Development training that took place in Ohio in 2021. EFM has a connection with Global Disciples through a Friends Missions leader and champion, Eric Fleck, from Wabash Friends Church in Indiana Yearly Meeting, who works for Global Disciples.
This report on BAM for church planting in Mexico was written by team member Jeff Davis, from Birch Street Friends Church in Friends Southwest.
“…we can move into a community and start a business, and by offering something that people want, build relationships, living out our witness for the Gospel of Christ. This seems more natural than trying to get strangers to come hear me preach.” “Wow!,” I thought, “the lightbulb just went on in Aguascalientes.” In four intensive days of training, 25 pastors made a paradigm shift in their thinking about church-planting.
I’ve just returned from a week in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where a joint delegation of trainers from Evangelical Friends Mission and Global Disciples conducted training on how to start a business as a platform on which to plant a new church. The trainees were Evangelical Friends pastors from all over Mexico. Their commitment and engagement in these sessions was inspiring. I came away, once again, with the impression that when we join God in his work, he does more than what we ask for or imagine (Eph. 3:20). It all felt so empowering, and it was exciting.
The Mexican pastors are lovely people. I was caught up in their genuineness, hospitality, and their love for each other. Many have long time relationships, and their fellowship is contagious. I already mentioned their commitment and willingness to study hard and stay engaged in the material for long hours each day. Their dedication was inspiring, and it was rewarding to celebrate the outcomes and learning that took place with them. Lots of good ideas and creativity, coupled with proven business concepts and techniques in the curriculum, yielded some promising business plans they intend to employ in their home mission fields.
A crucial aspect of any mission venture is prayer and support from our church body. It’s how God works in and through us. Pray – Give – Go is the model we employ to accomplish the mission wherever God calls us. I’m grateful for the way that Friends from churches and families committed to pray and give financial support to enable this project to go forward. Both Trent Jacks, from Haviland Friends Church in Kansas, and I, could feel the prayers of God’s people lifting us up to accomplish our mission. The “GO” part amounted to 95% of the pastors from Mexico Yearly Meeting (the network of Evangelical Friends churches in Mexico) traveling to Aguascalientes to participate in the training. Facilitating the project were Edwin and Maria Giron, formerly missionaries in Mexico, with Maria currently serving EFM as Missions Mobilizer for Hispanic Friends. Maria and Edwin are truly leaders who lead and equip other leaders for greater effectiveness. They did a tremendous job organizing, resourcing, and facilitating, which is right in the sweet spot for their gifts and skills. They also made it fun, and everyone had a great time together.
At week’s end, following the completion of the training, the leaders of Mexico Yearly Meeting met with us and the trainers from Global Disciples (these guys, all pastors from various cities in Mexico, did an amazing job delivering the training sessions). During this time, we made plans for follow-up and implementation. There was a real sense of enthusiasm for what had been learned and the business/church planting plans that were developed. However, we realized that in order to successfully implement these plans, an intentional follow-up strategy must be put in place to empower pastors to execute on their ideas. Doing this will be the next phase of our business-as-mission project in Mexico. Please continue to pray for the Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM) BAM initiative as it contributes to the purpose and passion of EFM to fuel a worldwide movement of people who seek first the kingdom of God, planting churches that live and die to carry out the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.
If you are interested in learning more about Business as Mission, please contact the EFM Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.