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Our Vision: Global Cities and Global Young Leaders

Cities around the world continue to be on the rise. For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s people live in cities. They hold such economic and political power, yet also contain vast inequality and diversity. As we’ve worked alongside global non-profits, mission agencies, and churches, one of the common issues we faced was the lack of local leaders from professional workplace backgrounds that could support, consult, or even help lead many ministry efforts in global cities like Jakarta, Shanghai, Nairobi, and more. So we began to ask ourselves, what type of individual could spur the greatest impact towards God’s global mission in reaching the lost and poor, while at the same time influence the workplace, the city, and be self-sustainable?  

The answer was in the future. At Resource Global, we are committed to resourcing and releasing the next generation of Christian leaders and professionals within an interconnected network for Gospel movements in major global cities. Many of the young working professional leaders in Jakarta, Chicago, and other global cities are continuing to thirst for a greater understanding and purpose in how to take their work, experiences, passions, and the gospel to new frontiers in their city and industries. Our ultimate hope is that we are able to resource these leaders in the short-term and long-term, so that they can be released to restore the brokenness and needs of their neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, and cities.

How do we expect to invest and resource these individuals? Well, our vision starts with establishing yearlong cohorts of 12-15 hand-selected individuals in our global cities. Throughout the year, they will be taught through a leadership curriculum with prominent workplace and ministry leaders on topics like identity, faith and work, and global missions. Each cohort member will also be paired with a mentor in the same industry, so that they can walk alongside and give guidance in the areas of faith, work, and ministry. And to continue with global learning, each year we host a Global Cohort Gathering (GCG) that brings together all the cohorts to spend intentional time learning from global leaders and from their global peers. At the end, we challenge each cohort member to create a Gospel Action Plan, which maps out their next steps of how they will impact their city and beyond.

Why do we invest in these individuals? One assumption in global missions is that as Americans we have to invest by ourselves. But when you look at the giftedness and positions of these young leaders, they have the potential to be the future investors, future elders, and future entrepreneurs. They have the potential to create fair-pay jobs and justice-filled industries, to give and partner with churches, the poor, and global missions. They have the potential to understand the cultures, corruptions, languages, and difficult dynamics of ministry that we as Westerners will take decades to understand. And when Western money and giving decreases towards world missions, these young leaders have the potential to carry on the torch in the majority world and in the most unreached areas of the world. If we properly train, resource, and walk alongside these future leaders their potential to impact the world with the gospel is endless.

The reality is that the future of global missions does not rely on us but it relies on future global Christian workplace leaders. Our hope is to invest our time, resources, network of teachers, and mentors so that these future workplace leaders can take Gospel-centered risks in their spheres of influence. And one day, we hope that by creating a network of future leaders sharing and teaching one another across the world, we can see sustainable Gospel impact grow 30, 60, and even 100 times for the Kingdom of God.

Resource Global Team

A New Wave of Missions - ICON 2018

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

Loving the City - ICON 2018

Psalm 107 portrays the gathering of displaced people into a city as an ideal.  “. . . and they founded a city where they could settle (v. 37).”  Displaced people are described as “finding no way to a city where they could settle (v. 4b).”

Jakarta has become a global city where over ten million people have found their refuge. The Chinese are among those who have settled in Jakarta.  This mega city in South East Asia on the island of Java has the highest number of overseas Chinese in Indonesia. ICON 2018 was a conference to promote the values and practices of “Loving the City” for an audience made up mostly of young ethnic Chinese.  Several other people groups were among the audience, but the majority were definitely the Chinese and, if history told it all, the Chinese would not have a reason to love Jakarta.  The article on “Chinese Indonesians” in Wikipedia, documents a history of discrimination and persecution against this group.  And yet, over 100 young (average age, 27), Chinese Indonesian professionals gathered on a Saturday in July to receive instruction and encouragement to love Jakarta.  Why?

Many of these professionals came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ while studying abroad and now desire to live out that faith in and through their lives.  But they have a problem, or a potential, depending on which angle one approaches the issue.  Their positions in the business world allow them to implement changes of scale larger than mere personal transformation. The potential of influence would be a problem if the conference did not specifically address this unique angle.  But the organizers have been tracking the needs among this audience for the last four years with excellent, on-the-ground data. Resource Global was able to challenge the audience on their level, and at the right point for their next step.  In education a timely challenge, that is truly a next step in ability and willingness is called, the Zone of Proximal Development.  Debriefing with several participants made it evident to me that ICON hit the Zone.

A business owner at my table decided to make himself accountable.  Mr. Steve Preston, the keynote speaker, a business leader and a former US housing secretary, mentioned that businesses could become deliberate in changing a neighborhood. “Why not cooperate with other businesses and deliberately place your next venture where the economic situation is dismal?”  That is exactly what this business owner heard and inquired about after the speech. What would the dynamics be if he placed his next manufacturing/assembly business in an accessible place to a population that was a need?  He promised he would pray about it and investigate the actions necessary to make the love of Jesus tangible in a neighborhood.

After all, these young professionals have committed themselves, at least forty of them, to implement whatever they learn from the Scriptures in their family businesses and work places and in their personal lives.  Icon 2018 gave them specifics on scaling their influence to not “take out of the city, like many others, but to give to the city” (challenge from Alex Evans, the pastor at The Collective.)

The theme for next year will bring the focus back to personal ethics and issues of integrity.  The organizers of ICON know how to dance between the Sermon on the Mount issues (Matthew 5, ethics) and the parable of the good and faithful steward in Matthew 25 (stewardship).  Icon is making disciples in Jakarta who can and want to change how Jesus’ love would be experienced in healthcare, education, politics, architecture, and more in a city where many migrate to (over 50% of the population is not from Jakarta).  It is crowded now, but open spaces are coming!

Dr. Julius Wong Loi Sing - thoughts from ICON 2018