A Heart for the World: Reflections on International Missions and Ministries
By Tommy Lee
Why is international work so important? At Barnabas, we hear a lot from ministries about the impact they have on the city of Chicago while serving locally in areas like Little Village, Lawndale, Englewood, and Garfield Park. It is important to hear about the impact these ministries are having on the city in order to learn about and stay involved with those ministries. Acts 1:8 says that we are to be His “witnesses” in Jerusalem, but we are also called to be his witnesses to Samaria and to the ends of the Earth. For that reason, we try and have a balance of both local and global missions presented at our Barnabas Quarterly Gatherings. As Christianity moves from the West to the Global South (Asia, Africa, and Latin America), we are starting to see bigger movement and focus in those areas. As more ministries are beginning to emerge in these cities, it is important for us as believers to try and support them. I have been fortunate enough to visit many global cities and been able to sit down and chat with some of these ministries. Honestly, most of them are doing well and supported by good boards and great leaders. But some lack the infrastructure and organizational skills to be truly effective. They need help in areas such as metrics, sustainability, financial structure, etc. This is where The Barnabas Group Chicago can help.
While I spend good portion of my time leading and serving with Barnabas Chicago, I also spend some of my time leading an organization which I founded called Resource Global. Resource Global’s main focus is to mentor and disciple young Christian marketplace leaders in different global cities. We believe that these young marketplace leaders can be the catalysts for Gospel work in their cities. Appointed “teachers” that partner with Resource Global lay out the Gospel as the foundation for these leaders. By doing this we can help them integrate their faith not only into their work, but in all that they do.
We are already working in Jakarta, Nairobi, Chicago and have begun work forming cohorts in Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore, and Orange County in 2019. The work is led by a city director and a local board in each city. The teachers are a mix of ministry and marketplace leaders. One of our most recent successes is having our Jakarta cohort be fully funded after three years by local marketplace leaders. They are no longer funded by US donors and self-sustaining. We are hoping for the same outcome in Nairobi, Malaysia, Shanghai, as well as Singapore.
My hope this year is to have the Barnabas Group be involved and work with Resource Global. RG needs globally-minded leaders from the Barnabas Group to help train and mentor the global leaders involved with RG. Leaders like John Walker who specializes in HR or Bruce Mackenzie through his work on the board of Biblica are perfect examples. They have specific skill sets and experiences that can help as they come alongside these global ministries. It isn’t just being able to teach in different cultural environments, but also understanding how to connect business concepts within the culture.
If any of you all have a passion for global ministries, please let me or Mary know. We would love to help connect your skills and passion to a ministry that is need of your help.