Our B4T Network’s conference, with workers from around the globe, took place in Italy this summer. Here are some excerpts from one of the messages.
GETTING TO KNOW THE NETWORK
We are revisiting the mental models that have shaped missions. Authors Kim and Mauborgne of the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, argue that there are two types of organizational strategies:
- structuralist strategies that assume that the operating environment is given
- reconstructionist strategies that seek to shape the environment
Kim and Mauborgne teach that the universe consists of two oceans: blue and red. The red ocean is represented by existing industries. The industry boundaries in the red ocean are clearly defined and the rules of the game are well established. Blue oceans are uncontested market spaces which are not touched by the competition. Here demand has to be created from zero. Blue oceans are born when companies create completely new industries or change an industry from within.
This B4T Network is seeking to break free from the normal approaches to doing missions by staking out a fundamentally new market space. Instead of looking within the conventional boundaries that define how the mission industry operates, we are striving to look spiritually and methodically across them. We believe God is leading us to do so in order to unlock latent demand and create blue oceans of new opportunities. Specifically, we are looking across mission agencies and towards churches in order to break out of the conventional boundaries for mentoring, coaching and caring for field workers. We are looking deeply into the motivations and ways God is calling out millennials so as to best mobilize new workers. And, we are looking to engage both professionals and the business community to involve them in new, fresh ways for utilizing their skills, education, and experiences in reaching the ends of the earth for God’s glory. Bottom line, we are reinventing integrated services across the functional-emotional, historical orientation of missions.
We are a consulting agency that works first and foremost with churches to send out their members to the least reached corners of the earth. We serve the church in sending out laborers, satisfying the church’s needs in radical ways. Jesus “makes everything new.” While learning from the past, we are striving to combine the advantages of several industries’ (business, education, and missions) to provide quantum leaps in value to the local church and its field workers. We believe the church can be better served. We believe God has called us to do just that – provide better service to churches and their field workers.
We want to unlock creativity. We want to challenge assumptions. We want to maximize giving Glory to Jesus in and through all things. We have seen business change lives for Jesus, and in a few cases, touch a neighborhood for Jesus. We believe business can be a tool to change cities, even the world for Jesus. We innovatively outsource all the services a field worker may need, under the watchful eye of an engaged mentor who works hand in hand with the sending church. Each sending church dictates to our mentors exactly how much involvement they desire to have.
We are not a mission agency. We send no one. We channel finances for no one. We work with those who are led by God to work in a profession or in the marketplace among the least reached.
As an innovative organization, we are breaking free from traditional approaches. The individuals we work with each have a calling to reach the least reached via the workplace. This path to finishing Jesus’ Great Commission requires a different mind-set and a new systematic way of looking at pre-field preparation, plus leadership and care for those working overseas. We engage churches, and those they send, in the decisions that directly affect them. We are diligent to explain to church leaders why decisions are made and clarify what will be the expected results.
We are not uprooting or casting aside church planting strategies, discipleship tools, or evangelistic methodologies. Those are all good and to be encouraged. The more tools we have in our toolbox when we set out on a job, the better. However, we want to be in step with the knowledge-based world we live in and we crave to foster innovative communication and learning opportunities. We are exploring new ways that creativity and expertise each worker brings to the field may be valued and expressed. Central to this are our core values and priorities.
The Network’s Values
Relationships – Everything we do is centered on relationships. Relationship with God first and foremost and then with family, co-workers, church, team, etc. People first, task, process, and programs, second.
Accountability – In all areas of our life and work. Mentors are required to be in a tight relationship with their mentees. Mentors both know and work with the mentee to fulfill God’s assignment for the mentee.
Transparency & Authenticity – Jesus is the true Light and we are to walk in His light. Transparency opens things up for the light to shine through. We strive to be consistent in our words and deeds.
Excellence – Our target is perfection, but if we miss it, we will at least hit excellence. Quality takes priority over quantity.
The Network’s Priorities
Least Reached – We prioritize placing and supporting workers who are focused on bringing Jesus into those places and peoples who have no church.
Church Centered – The church is the Bride of Jesus. The church is God’s ordained instrument on earth. Therefore, we work with churches as His designated representative for reaching the world for Himself.
We are excited for the future. It is truly a new day for blessing all peoples for the glory of Jesus.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.