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I am sorry to say that you are very naive in your understanding of Islam as a faith.  While you are right that it is not a monolithic faith--the question is what is the teaching of the founder.  He was an extremist Muslim.  Any Muslim who adheres to the 7 pillars of Islam--is committed to Jihad--the 7th pillar.  Benizir Bhutto--former Prime Minister of Pakistan once noted that only 10% of Muslims are exteame--that still represents 100,000,000 Muslims.  So it is not a "fringe". 

It is also important to observe that this form of Islam, which the "Prophet" practiced himself--going to the battlefield 29 times, slaughtering people who did not convert---is the pattern for doing Jihad.  Saudi Arabia was unified under the Saud family following the same practice--known as Whabism.   Islam grew across the Middle East--Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and North Africa in 2 years.  This did not happen with "idea prosetylization" but through war and coercion.  Isis, Al Queda, etc. are all committed to this form of "evangelism"

An interesting U.S. constitutional question is whether we shoud permit "freedom of religion" for a religion that over its history has been committed to coercive conversion that would take away other peoples "freedom" of religion.

Let me switch my comments away from the topic of the role of business in missions to a rough sketch of how we should focus our mission resources both people, time and funds.    

First, let me say that part of my experience and education comes from being raised in on one of the most dysfunctional mission fields in the CRC's history---our first foreign mission field among the Navajo people.  It was dysfunctional and still perpetuates that dysfunction because of parentalism, dependancy, control issues, and a general failure to raise up and release leaders.     We essentially failed to apply the principles of self-governence, self-support and self-propagation.  When I look at CRC missions as a whole we have done better over time, but still make some of the same mistakes.

Our mission strategy with both CRWM and CRWRC need to simplify our approach to several basic mechanisms that stand beside our brothers in the churches we serve in other countries.  

1) We should say to any evangelical denomination that we will support and resource their church planting efforts with 80% of a decent salary for every church planter that their local churches raise up and send out.  In Ethiopia this would be $80/month.  In Mexico it might be $480/month.   This support will decline over a 5-6 year period--and may be susttained longer if new church planter begins a second congregation after 3 years.

2) We will support the development of mini-seminary training (5 lessons on each seminary course) put on laptop computers--filmed in the language of the church planter by a more educated pastor.  We will support these "apostolic" educated leaders with a higher salary (x3) and expense budget.  We may also support 

3) We will send pastors from our U.S. churches twice a year to participate in conferences for these pastors--who with their congregations in the U.S. will develop distance pastoral relationships with key leaders in these church planting efforts.

4) CRWRC will focus primarily on helping various denominations set up "diaconal conferences" that assist pastors and their deacons in ministering to the poor.   These diaconal conferences will be shown how to run micro-loan programs, provide startup funds for businesses, provide loans for private school development, and advise in special projects that are being developed---sourced by the people in the conferences.

5)  We will limit our field staff to a few country coordinators whose job is to know the partners with whom we engage, and oversee the development of 1-4.   Note: It costs us around $100,000 annually to field a missionary--who drive around in nice Toyota Land Cruisers while our partners in ministry struggle with transportation.   For $100,000 we could help local congregations send 100 church planters in Ethiopia and most of sub-Saharan Africa.

6) We would also become very intentional about raising up Christian businessmen, and investors who would selectivvely joint venture with Christian businessmen in businesses that have potential for economic transformation.

Most of the denominational leaders with whom I work in Ethiopia would love this approach to partnering with them.  Most are more capable than I am, as are the businessmen.  While some mentoring takes place between us, it is really the encouragement, prayers, and resources that they desire.

The rough sketch that I propose above will probably not be easily embraced because we are comfortable as things have been done in the past.  But the CRC could release 5-10,000 church planters if we pursued this type of approach, and our ties between US churches would be greatly enhanced. 


Daniel Kruis on August 14, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Fronse,  Can you make some modificationns to what I wrote and inform me regarding additions.

I view this forum. Fronse as something of a "think tank" where policy that affects the global mission of the CRC is dicussed openly, and hopefully that it those who have responsibility for setting mission policy egage in the discussion and adjust some of what they think and how they set policy accordingly.  

As we think about how we carry on the "mission" of the church I have been looking at three issues.  The first has to do with general missionn philosophy as it affects policy.  This has to do with how we can most affectively deploy resources and people the most effectively.  the 2nd issue which we have also been discussing has to do with how to best engage and mobilize the Christian business community in both the mission of the church and in economic development empowerment.  The 3rd issue which also affects this discussion of mobilizing the body of Christ effectively, is how we partner with other Christians both at home in in missions (I have addressed this more in the forum on the Belhar confession).  

Your comments in a previous commment about the Reformed churches in Zambia and South Africa relate to this issue.  Our we as "Reformed" thinking people most effective in extending the gospel of the kingdom by partnering and encouraging other Reformed communities with our resources and time.  Or are we also effective in extending the gospel of our king as effeccitvely by engaging with denominational mission aspirations from various evangelical fellowships who are aggressively engaged in church planting.

So let me again suggest that you address the six points--amend them, add a 7th point.


 Let me say that one of our goals is to place before those who do make policy decisions with perceptive insight that will nudge them to make quality changes that affect our churches and Christian business community in Africa.   My motivation is quite simple and comes from being on the streets of Addis--and making a decision not to give often to beggers, but to spend myself on behalf of the poor with real answers.  It also comes from working with church leaders from various denominations--and helping plant over 80 churches in 3 years.  It comes from watching a missionary family loading up into a brand new Toyota land cruiser, and knowing that my short-term mission work on my own budget probably produced more mission transformation than the paid staff person.

 I am aware of the power of "perceptive insight" on mission policy.  In the early 80's CRC home missions rejected the idea of seminarians planting churches--until as sem students a few of us challenged that notion--and said that graduating seminarians were the ideal planters.  Home Missions proceeded to develop a church planters internship for graduating students--that greatly increased the number of churches being planted. In the mid-80's I pointed out to Home Mission leaders that their campaign of 400,000 CRC members by 2000 would not happen unless they changed how clergy were trained and raised up.  Seminary simply was not developing enough graduates to meet the need for new churches, besides seminary graduates tended to be more oriented toward status quo ministries than those raised up and trained by alternate means.  The Leadership Development Networks resulted from this conversation, as well as a greater opening for the use of evangelists trained by different means to be pastoring new churches. "Perceptive Insights" come when you and I see dysfunction, dependency relationships, and parental-ism at work in how we support missions.  "Perceptive Insights" gain momentum with those who make missions policy when someone like you concurs that $100,000 spent on an ex-pat missionary staff could support 80 church planters in Zambia at $100/mos/planter.   This is the same cost for evangelists in Ethiopia---but I suggest that we only provide 80% of the support--while an Ethiopian sending church provides the other 20%. Changing mission policy is not easy.  Folding up dysfunctional commitments in missions is even harder.  Withdrawing funds, and redirecting them for more effective strategies is painful and requires leaders of mission agencies to sacrifice.  Many people are comfortable in the mission jobs they have, and are satisifed with the fruit of their labors, even if it is less effective than other strategies.

Daniel Kruis on August 17, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you Wendy for bringing Susan's thoughts into the discussion.  Susan, your insight into the complexity and nuances of these issues while relevant and essentially on target.  It is a wonderflul thing to watch the variety of passions and vocations that God has placed in our world to bring light and hope into dark places.  I have oftened wondered and grappled with being bi-vocational--loving the pastoral ministry and at the same time being an entrepeneur with a huge interest in economics and  finding solutions for the poor among the Navajo and now in Africa.

Let me also say that your comments feel like a mild rebuke and a bit pedantic, and  a "leave it to professionals".   You are right that economics and business are not the sole solution to issues of poverty and injustice.  While that is true enough what we are saying is that the balance for resolving poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has not yet tipped adequately in the direction toward economics and business and that much that is done in the name of charity and development work actually perpetuates the factors that sustain poverty.   

After a long carreer in development work, a former, long term director of CRWRC realized that business people in our churches in the U.S. were being under-utilized in their vocation as business people.  Along with Denny Hoekstra, John DeHaan worked to establish Partners Worldwide.   This organization has moved the issue we are discussing forward a 1000 fold with positive results and huge potential.  Partner's focus has accelerated the issue up the first step of a 10 step ladder.  It's primary focus is on using businessmen as mentors which is valuable, but it has not really found ways to use businessmen, as businessmen.  What business men on both sides of the Ocean need is permission, and encouragement to create Christian Venture Capital Funds, and Joint Venture projects, and Limited Liability Corporations that transfer U.S. technology, resources and capital to business partners and partner farmers in Southern Sudan, or Ethiopia.   Whenever business trys to function as charity or development work it looses its potential to transform economies, it has a limited capacity to attract huge amounts of capital to areas of poverty.

 By the way poverty is essentially a lack of money---yes, I know there are many other issues involved in poverty--education, infrastructure, etc, but in the end if we find ways to attract billions of dollars to sub-Saharan industries that we (CRC business people) have joined with our Christian brothers to create, then we will have done serious poverty reduction.

This discussion is very important, because it is presently the leaders in the Christian Relief and Development organizations who carry the philosophical agenda, and create the concepts or levers of influence within the Christian community.

Christian businessmen in Africa already get it when they watch Muslim businessmen enter partnerships with Ethiopian Muslim business people--and they ask "where are the Christian business people and their money and expertise?"  They get it when they see Chinese businessmen come in and buy a cement plant and run it profitably,  and they ask---where are the Ozinga's from Chicago.  We could partner with them--it would be profitable for both of us--and the profits could be rolled over to partner  with an engineering firm run by a Christian woman to secure contracts to build roads that can compete with the Chinese road building company.  They get it when the see Indian business men come in and lease a 12,000 hectare farm, to be run like a plantation,  and they ask where are the Christian farmers from the U.S.  Ten Ethiopian farmers who presently make $500/year farming 5 acres, would eagerly partner with 2 or 3 CRC farmers to create a 1000 hectare farm where they would make $15,000+/year, and over-time buy out there CRC partners--who roll it over and do it again with two 1000 hectare farms.  CRC farmers let's go farm in Africa and wipe out the cycle of famines in the Horn of Africa.

As long as our development work in Africa is focused on the poorest sectors and the small farmers, and the micro-business, and small business men we will be guilty of not using the business community in the U.S. and Canada as there vocation really works.   We will also be guilty of sustaining poverty and not addressing the economic factors that can re-shape a new day.

Yes, we stand in need of a lot of prayer, and the attitude that comes with it to help us all agree to walk togethr.


I am very appreciative of your response.  Very open, honest, and on target.  I am aware of the limited knowledge that I have of CRWMs  work and where it is going.  I am encouraged by the re-positioning that you are engaged in.  I would love to work with CRWM in several of the areas discussed--helping the CRC churches understand where things are moving to;  helping define and implement "coming alongside" strategies--especially in Africa;  working to evaluate how to withdraw from commitments and relationships that used the "mission driven" model;  

I am aware of the Timothy Leadership Training materials.  Very good stuff, but limited when working with 40 church planters who speak Neur or Anuak and don't have the capacity to study English material.  I think we can create mini-courses--re-taught, filmed, and placed on Netbooks for Neur pastors to watch and discuss in their villages in the bush.  It can be duplicated repeatedly and would help reach all of the remaining unreached peoples groups in Ethiopia etc.

Thanks for your engagement.  I have always known that you were a man who seeks to be in the center of the Lord's will. Blessing.

I am not quite sure what you are really talking about here.  Its a bit sketchy--for those who are staffing our agencies maybe.  I am not intending to be critical, just that I would like to engage in this discussion.  Observation---if we are really serious about reaching the globe more affectively--we still have not discovered how to fully engage gifted business men.  Word and Deed is fine, and vital--but the churches with the greatest potential to reach the 10-40 window live in impoverished countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria.  They are ready to go--access is easier for them into 10-40 countries.  They are generally well trained.  

The best way to resource the churches of Africa is to mobilize our CRC business men and farmers into genuine partnerships that are capable of attracting huge amounts of capital and creating transformational industries within and alongside of our brothers in the Christian Community.  They are waiting---for us to mobilize our business community, and I think the business community would heartily respond.  Partners world wide is a start in this direction, but is being led by development people with limited experience in business--so we are still doing development work, when its huge economic transformation that we are capable of---I mean the CRC business community.

Daniel Kruis on August 26, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Greg,  A most excellent response and it appears that we agree almost 100%.  Especially on the "important part of the solution" to poverty being from Christian business people who engage in partnerships of various kinds with our brothers and sisters in areas of severe poverty.   Some of my  friends are engaged in development work.  And I applaud what PW is doing--I am only suggesting four things:

  1) Be aware that the paradigms that you work with come out of the development habitat, and that there is a significant paradigm shift that is required to think like business people.  More importantly business people will follow you because of your development experience, and not always transfer business thinking to the new setting.  An example: Development workers are much more comfortable going into a poor neighborhood, and getting to know the small shop owners and poorest of the poor, with a heart to improve their condition.  A business man in the U.S. when looking for the best business partner would not even think of going to look for a partner in the lower income stata of society.  He is looking for someone with an education, motivation, business savvy and significant skills.  Most of these types are found in the middle class, with whom much larger businesses might be created. 

2) We need to start more than a loan fund for incubating businesses inpoor countries.  We need to start a Christian Venture Capital Firm that will help capitalize US businessmen who are looking to partner with business people in the third world.  This approach acknowledges that some of the controlling interest and profit for the new venture should go to  all the partners involved, and that the person's level of engagement needs to be higher than just that of a mentor, if the businesses are really going to prosper and be able to attract even greater capital flows.  Lack of access to capital is the greatest need in poor countries--We have yet to really address this issue in significant ways. 

3) We need to find ways (maybe PW is doing this--I have been away from PW for several years) to engage pastors in an awareness of how to empower and nurture business people to their Kingdom building potential.  While one may want to keep us pastor types away from PW, most pastors do not know who to equip and mobilize business people to fully use their passions and skills.  PW could change that.

4) PW at its summits needs to create better forums where conventional thinking can be challenged and discussed.  Up to now PW seems to shy of such kind of engagement.  So it requires people like me to give a bit of a nudge.


Daniel Kruis on August 9, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


Regarding the use of businessmen to strengthen the church.   This should be a natural for us with our concept of the Reformed faith integrating every sphere of society, but very little thought has been developed in this area.  Business is often thought as being to contaminated by “worldliness”, and yet the CRCNA has some of the greatest (and wealthiest) business people in the world.  Profitability when doing business as mission is looked at unfavorably.

Our business community should be engaged not simply as mentors, but as angels and investors—doing business as business—using best business practices.  This should always be as profitable a relationship for all the parties involved as possible.  When we do business as charity, or even as developmental aid we do not do business as well as it needs to be done.

What we need to create a  small-cap funds, mission venture funds, and seed money funding (which we have)  that permit Christian US business people and investors to engage hand in hand with the Christian business community in Africa, Asia, and South America---in places where we or others are extending the gospel of the kingdom through church planting, and diaconal ministries.    Mike, if I understand your comment  regarding “our investments” it strikes me that you have a fear of a mutually profitable relationship that should be nurtured between Christian business men from both sides of the equation.  I am guessing that you are not a business person---most development workers are not business people.

Sound business investment practices alongside are Christian brothers in countries like Ethiopia and Nigeria can when done as business bring an end to severe poverty.  When business is done as charity it falters and fails.  What I am saying is known by Christian businessmen in Ethiopia.  They get it immediately.  I am not capable of mentoring them—if they have survived as businessmen in their setting, they are often

We are trying to launch a three wheeled, rural automobile factory in partnership with Ethiopian partners.  We are in the 3rd phase of our development.  As we move to our fourth phase we anticipate being able to attract $3 million.  The 5th phase  $12 million.  And we should have a several models that will work in the rural agricultural setting.   Poverty is the absence of $$$ capital.  Business is the solution to poverty—not development aid.   We hope to undergird the huge Christian community in Ethiopia with the resource of affordable transportation.   We hope to have a program that will permit a church planter to own a rural transport vehicle that will generate enough income to support his family.

We have a partnership and ownership of a 600 acre farm in Southern Ethiopia. If we could attract $300,000 investment to this farm we would be able to establish a partnership model between U.S. investors and the farmers we are working with there.    This are of Southern Ethiopia, and Southern  Sudan is huge—as big as the breadbasket of the Midwest.  Their largely Presbyterian.  They want us to partner with them.  We—the CRCNA with its millionaire farmers could wipe out the cycle of hunger in the horn of Africa.   But we need to move to a totally different paradigm to have this kind of impact.

Mike, Please contact me via email  [email protected]  then we can also exchange phone numbers and chat.

You are right on target with what you say, especially about business partnerships in Nigeria (or Ethiopia).  They need to be real partnerships--pursuing real businesses with best practices--and both sides of the partnership need to be engaged with the 7 key parts to running a good business.  Product R&D, HR, Financial management, Capital development, Marketing & Sales, Product manufacture and distribution, and Supply Chain management (IT has become an 8th essential key part)--with a diligent eye on Return on Investment.  

The weakness in Parnters world wide, in my opinion is that it seeks to support Christian business people without becoming stake holders in the process--and not really expecting much in return.  Real business does not function that way, and real business works really well when a team with a vested interest is seeing that all 7 key parts of a business funciton at a high level.  

We in the west have three things to offer our partners in developing country--1) Our Christian heart to do business for His kingdom and not simply our own profit.  This also affects our ethics.  2) Our technological advantages--including our business acumen (knowledge of how the 7 keys work to make great businesses) that can be joined with theirs--which is often incredible.  3) Capital resources---while I agree with Mike---that the in country business people need to be invested  in the project with their funds---poverty is the absence of money--capital---We need to create Christian venture capital companies that can tap into our wealthy--recession beat up--investors in the U.S. and cause huge capital flows to well run businesses in developing countries.

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