Ephesians 4 tells us that the church is to equip God’s people for service. This report explores,
What is the role of the church and its leaders in enlightening, educating, equipping, and empowering God’s people for the service of wealth creation? How is the church to be involved in inspiring, commissioning, and releasing people who launch businesses that provide jobs and that bring redemptive influence for the benefit of the whole community, and even for entire sectors of the economy? What is the role of the church in wealth creation for holistic transformation?
We acknowledge that wealth creation is a godly gift. Various material blessings can and should result from its proper use and be beneficial to the greater community.
We believe that businesses can contribute to . . . positive, holistic, and redemptive purposes. We affirm that businesses can and should assess their activities in terms of a fourfold bottom line—financial, social, spiritual, and environmental.
However, the issue of wealth creation is too often neglected or misunderstood. One major stumbling block is the sacred/secular divide. We need to see that ‘God’s concerns are holistic, and so is the mission of the church.’
The lack of business experience and exposure to business among pastors, and the lack of relevant teaching on wealth creation are among the reasons that ‘so many Christians hear little teaching, preaching, or discussion in the church about the activities that engage the greatest proportion of their time in between times of worship—that is, their daily work.’ Other reasons include the perceptions of corruption in the business world and the lack of visible structures for commissioning and sending.
We propose four steps to address these obstacles and to engage the church in equipping business people to serve in the marketplace:
1. Enlighten: to create awareness through conferences and other means.
2. Educate: to accomplish a ‘shift in the minds of people from interest to commitment’.
3. Equip: to serve as a ‘boot camp for aspiring BAMers to become missional entrepreneurs’.
4. Empower: to design a roadmap for action; ‘at this point the church should proactively seek help and collaboration from other ministries or churches for the sake of the Kingdom of God.’
The report also deals with the importance of the ‘creation mandate’, which is a basis for our calling and engagement in entrepreneurship and commerce.
The report suggests that ‘the church can and should be a part of helping individuals, communities, and economic and social structures work toward . . . a state of comprehensive flourishing, with the elimination of both economic and spiritual poverty, to the glory of God.’
At the same time, we are aware of potential pitfalls, and we list some limitations and express some words of caution as the church plays an active role in wealth creation.
The report includes historical case studies on church and wealth creation as well as contemporary ones from China, South Korea, Central Asia, USA, and Rwanda.
Finally, we echo the appeal in the Wealth Creation Manifesto:
- We call the church to embrace wealth creation as central to our mission of holistic transformation of peoples and societies.
- We call for fresh, ongoing efforts to equip and launch wealth creators to that very end.
- We call wealth creators to perseverance, diligently using their God-given gifts to serve God and people.