About • Our Beliefs • Tentmaking/Business As Mission

tentmaking.jpgINTRODUCTION

In recognition of the biblical basis for tentmaking/business as mission, Biblical Ministries Worldwide affirms this method as a viable strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission. While great care must be exercised in the examination of a biblical basis for this strategy, entrepreneurial activity is clearly demonstrated and modeled in the lives of prominent men and women of God in the Scriptures.

BIBLICAL BASIS

The Apostle Paul supported himself and his colleagues through his tentmaking skills. A native of Tarsus, known for its unique and high quality tents, Paul’s tentmaking skills provided immediate credibility and employment wherever he went. His educational credentials combined with a cross-cultural background also provided him with strategic opportunities to spread the gospel.

The Apostle Paul stated three reasons for supplementing his support from churches through tentmaking:

  1. To offer the gospel without charge (2 Corinthians 11:7-9).
  2. To relieve the burden upon churches (2 Corinthians 12:14-16).
  3. To be an example to others (Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 9; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

A fourth possible unstated reason for tentmaking was for Paul to be able to have extended contact with the lost. Tentmakers had homes that provided an ideal setting for starting churches. Paul’s letters are filled with guidelines for the development of a work ethic and the proper stewardship of property and finances.

A prime example of tentmaking (using non-ministry skills for advancing the gospel) is found in the experience of Priscilla and Aquila. They were skilled craftsmen who:

  1. Gave Paul a job (Acts 18:2-3).
  2. Provided Christ-centered discipleship to a Jewish scholar (Acts 18:24-26).
  3. Moved with Paul to his next ministry location (Acts 19:1-3).
  4. Hosted a local church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19).
  5. Returned home and continued to be part of the local ministry (Romans 16:3-4).

HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

An examination of post-biblical models of missions demonstrates that tentmaking/business as mission has been practiced for centuries. A few examples include:

  • William Carey (18th Century), the “father of modern missions,” used multiple professional skills as a botanist, educator, printer, and linguist to impact the land of India.
  • Hudson Taylor used medicine in China.
  • Adoniram Judson served as a tutor and advisor to the king of Burma.

CONTEMPORARY MOTIVATIONS

IMPLEMENTATION

CONCLUSION

BMW missionaries desiring a tentmaking/business as mission ministry should educate themselves about BMW and maintain a strong affiliation with members of the mission family for the purpose of helping to strengthen the work of the mission as a whole. Those who engage in tentmaking/business as mission (whether part-time or full-time) should participate in the missionary preparation activities required by the mission so that they understand missionary goals and principles on the same level with their donor-supported counterparts.

 

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