We love leveraging business and entrepreneurship to fulfill The Great Commission! One of our favorite missions investments over the past few years was a Crossfit Gym that is successfully planting a church in an area of the world where church planting is illegal. This project was so successful, both economically and missionally, that we jumped at the opportunity to do it again!
Below is a first-hand update from a missionary team on the ground in another “creative access” country. This email will give you a first-hand perspective on what it’s like to use business to take the Gospel to the unreached areas of the world. (Names and locations have been changed to protect the work that is happening there).
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” –3 John 1:2 (NIV)
A New Platform
In 2016, I started talking with leadership about my professional identity. Unfortunately, I don’t pass as a student anymore, so I needed to grab hold of a new professional identity [for our missions work here in this country]. Leadership guided me and gave me a few options, and the one that immediately hit home with me was CrossFit. Who doesn’t want to do clean & jerks, thrusters, or complete a hero workout called Murph? Good stuff!
Jump ahead to January 2017 and I meet Matthew, a worker who had been living here for more than five years. Little did I know that God had already ordained our meeting. This is how God works:
- I am from Ohio, and so is Matthew. In fact, I know his home church and his pastor very well.
- Prior to moving our family here, I passed the CrossFit level-1 certification course. Matthew [was passing his] at the same time.
- As Ohio natives, we are both Ohio State Buckeye fans. That’s very important!
Yes, God knows what He’s doing. We met in a small café and started to dream about opening a CrossFit gym one day. Eighteen months later, after a lot of business planning, we have secured a location, have begun remodeling, and are looking forward to opening CrossFit in a few months (we just received the name approval from CrossFit this past week)!
The space is about 250 square meters and will serve as a great start-up gym. Below are a few of the remodeling pictures. Our goal is to open the gym in September 2018.
Maybe some of you are asking that question, and I have answers! First, I love it. I enjoy working out and it also serves as a great [platform] for me and our family [to be here]. Second, CrossFit is allowing me and Matthew to build solid relationships with the [local] people, both men and women, that take CrossFit classes. Third, (and this is the BIG reason), since we have good relationships with those taking classes, they get to hear the Gospel message. And one day soon God is going to use the gym to be a catalyst for church planting.
Let me share one story with you how this is working:
J* has been attending our classes for a few months and knows that Matthew and I are Christians. Both Matthew and I have shared Jesus with him. During Ramadan, we were only having one class at 5:00pm, that way guys can workout prior to their families breaking [their] fast together.
On the fourth day of Ramadan, after an intense workout, J* walked out of the gym with me. As we walked towards the car, I was anticipating our normal talk about life and then a quick goodbye so he could get home to break the fast with his family. J* had other plans. He asked me about Jesus. Then he asked me about the church. Then about life after death. Then about [lots of other things].
For two hours he asked me questions and the Holy Spirit guided me. I gave him an Injil (Bible) and we will be studying it together. God is using the gym as a tool to spread the Gospel message. Pray with me that J* and the others at the gym would have an encounter with Jesus, the Son of God.
Pray With Us
- That a revival would breakout at the gym and a church planting movement would be launched
- That the remodeling would be finished on time and under budget
- That we receive the equipment on time (we must have it imported)
- That we find favor with clients and the business grows
Opportunities like this are exploding in multiple forms all over the world. Business as Mission (BAM) is a powerful strategy for the Gospel around the globe today. If you’re interested in investing in projects like these with your dollars (or your lives), let us know. We can help you connect the dots. Business and entrepreneurship is a powerful force for The Great Commission. Get on board!