ICON 2018

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 Our City - Thoughts from Wayne Pederson


Indonesia is the world's 14th largest country in terms of land area and the 7th largest in terms of combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it’s the world's 4th most populous country.  It’s the world's largest island country, with more than 17,000 islands.

We had the privilege of spending a week in Jakarta, seeing the thriving business community. But also heard the frequently mentioned challenges:

  • Marginal air quality

  • The crazy heavy traffic

  • Poverty, (the large gap between the “haves” and the “have nots)

  • Corruption: (Young people leave country because of corruption.)

  • The resulting hopelessness

Because of the poor air quality and the heavy traffic, life for many professionals is lived in the many stunning, impressive, shiny shopping malls.  The most luxurious department stores, excellent restaurants and varied specialty shops abound in the malls.  We spent a lot of time in the malls, even did some serious shopping.

Resource Global

I was in Jakarta as a guest of Resource Global. Resource Global led by CEO Tommy Lee seeks to develop young leaders for Christ’s Kingdom from among the leading young marketplace entrepreneurs.  The purpose of our meeting was to identify, encourage, recruit and mentor young marketplace leaders as a bridge to serving the church and Christ’s Kingdom.

Many of these young marketplace leaders in their 20’s and 30’s have studied at some of the best universities in the U.S.  They returned to Jakarta to run family businesses, do business turn-arounds, or engage in starting, building and selling new businesses..  Many were already using their business as a means to enhance the life in their communities and to demonstrate the love of Christ to the culture

For example: Julia stepped aside from a rapidly rising career in New York City to return to Indonesia to work with her father in a family shipping business.  Very soon she saw a need for healthcare among the underprivileged in the thousands of islands across the country.  And she saw an opportunity to use shipping vessels as a floating medical clinic to reach the underserved people on the islands.  In addition to money from her company, she raised $1 Million locally to fund equipping of the boat.

A young pastor and his wife (Andrew and Nikki Jun) see their church as a base for business entrepreneurship.  They recognize the business platform as an effective way to reach local unreached people groups.  They are identifying local leaders and sending business entrepreneurs for outreach to other areas of the country.

George Enratta runs an amazing 45-50 companies, for which he has provided venture capital for a start-up or a turn-around; i.e an online travel agency, a coffee/tea business and banking along the lines of PayPal.

David Dtjokknor: dynamic CEO of Soverience Capital. His business mission is to strategically invest in start-ups.  His model:

  1. See the need

  2. Build the company

  3. Sell the company

To date, David has 87 investors, creating such businesses as Uber Asia and a full-service Brides/Wedding on-line consulting.  The wedding business in Indonesia is huge with guests running in the thousands.  The wedding service is run by Christians.  Weddings are streamed on FaceBook Live.  Christian model for marriage is presented. Excess wedding banquet food is distributed to the poor.

His advice for westerners:

  • Listen to those you seek to influence.

  • Provide mentor ship to those who seek help.

  • Honor and respect the culture.

  • Take a back seat.

Over tea with the SE Asia representative of a well-known Foundation stated: We are transitioning from the old ways of western non-profit missions to supporting local entrepreneurs.  This is a different global mission mindset. Funding for ministry in Indonesia is increasingly coming from businesses in-country.

The ICON Conference all day Saturday was a call to action:

  • We are to be students of the city. God has a plan for us to redeem the city. -What is one tangible thing we can do?

  • Christians must get involved

I was impacted by plenary speaker, former HUD Secretary under the Bush administration, Steve Preston, who stated:

“Gods vision for loving the city is loving its people. “

“The role of government for the city is to advance the welfare of individuals in the city. In areas of poverty, education, jobs, healthcare, environment.”

“In order to transform society God has to transform us.”

Sunday morning we attended a large, alive evangelical church on the 8th floor of a large building in downtown Jakarta.  The worship was alive, loud and vibrant.  Most of the music was .  The pastor was dynamic, biblical and practical as he shared the great truth that God is present ALWAYS, with us, in us, before us.  We were thrilled and inspired to see this large, passionate group of young believers worshiping and learning in a country where they are so outnumbered, but rapidly growing.

Wayne Pederson, Friend of Resource Global

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