There is an element of missions that I have always admired and romanticized - the idea of sacrificing all you have and all you know to go live in a faraway place for the sake of sharing the love of Christ with people who do not know Jesus. What automatically came to mind was something along the lines of living in a hut with chickens and goats while wearing prairie dresses and befriending local villagers. It sounds a bit primitive, but this would not be too far-off a description of my own first overseas missions trip experience I had in 2004.
I know that missions has changed over time and that there has been a movement to integrate business and missions, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity I had to visit Jakarta with Resource Global and get a first-hand look at one way that missions can look like today.
How do you impact a city of 10 million people for the sake of the gospel? One effective way would be to find the young movers and shakers, invest in them, and mobilize them to be the change agents in their own city and to their own people. This, in a nutshell, is what Resource Global is doing in Jakarta.
Who are these young movers and shakers? They are business start-up founders, company CEOs, and other heads of businesses. They are in the position to employ and directly influence tens, hundreds, and some, tens of thousands of people. They can infuse Christian values into their business leadership and business culture in a way that shines Christ. They are in positions of great influence. And they are under 30 years old.
I was quite impressed with the many 20-somethings I met in Jakarta. What was initially impressive to me was their high business positions and titles at such a young age. But this is not what was lastingly impressive. The persisting quality that stood out to me was their passion and conviction to use their positions to honor Christ. It sounds typically spiritual and holy, but I imagine that being heads of businesses comes with a lot of worldly temptations that does not make this an easy or light matter to take for granted.
Many of these young people have strong business acumen that has helped to propel them to success. However, I was surprised by many who did not have much or any business background, but circumstances had fortuitously led them to engage in their family business that they originally did not plan on or have the aspiration to do. This, along with the weight of responsibility they feel to those they employ and work with, draws a posture of humility before God.
What potential do these business leaders have to impact their city and country? A young business co-CEO of a large scale apparel manufacturing company that makes clothes for many notable U.S. brands, who provides jobs for 28,000 people in Indonesia. A young maritime business head working to bring healthcare to remote islands in Indonesia through floating hospitals- donating resources and working to raise funds and workers- whilst running the maritime company that is not at all related to healthcare. A young business CEO who started a company that provides microloans for small online businesses, which is helping to build a virtually non-existent middle class in Indonesia. These are a few snapshots of the young people God is using in Jakarta.
While I continue to hold the utmost respect for those that sacrifice all they have and all they know to go live in faraway places, I am also awakened to other ways to shine Christ to people who do not know Jesus. Find young Christian entrepreneurs and business leaders, invest in providing them spiritual mentorship, cultivate in them a love for their city and their people, and mobilize them to use their God-given positions to impact their city and their country for the sake of the gospel. This is the work of Resource Global and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to catch a glimpse of it.
Ellie Kim was one of Resource Global’s first board member. She is a teacher at the Chicago Public School