No doubt Paul was brilliant and had great leadership. We know from the Bible that he was born of Roman citizenship, which not only gave him prestige but also allowed him to have excellent job opportunities. He could make a lot of money, become famous and become a very successful man in his days. Instead, he chose a job that would enable him to accomplish the mission. Making tents was probably what he learned early in life; it allowed him to live and work wherever new converts needed him.
Tentmaker: It is the name used internationally to describe the missionary who through his work gets the resources for mission.
Our days are very different from Paul’s in many ways. The world is globalized and computerized. Everyone is connected to many data sources, and it can cause distraction and confusion. People are looking for trustworthy people to fill in the void in their life. In this world of ours, many countries do not allow any kind of evangelism or even forbid the religious practice of their citizens. The only way to get into their life might be by working as an international employee. Like Paul, whoever meets Jesus wants to share the message that is in their heart. Each tentmaker may be a type of “Paul” today, going to places where there are few if any Christians or churches. It is possible to live professionally and financially while witnessing and teaching about Jesus.
WHAT IS YOUR “TENT”?
Despite the name Tentmaker, today’s world needs language teachers, government officials, entrepreneurs, multinational employees, translators, web designers, doctors, engineers, software programmers, geologists, and so on. What defines a tentmaker is the mission accomplished through their career in countries or regions with little or no Adventist presence. Those who are willing to go, sharing the love of Jesus to others, will prioritize the mission and not the comfort. This is why the Adventist Church has named this mission category Total Employment. In this mission, you have access to people that probably no other missionary could reach–especially when working interculturally in countries with religious restrictions.
HOW THIS COURSE WORKS
The Global Mission Office and the Institute of World Mission of the General Conference welcome you to this course. See it as a tool where you can learn and develop what it takes to become a tentmaker. This training consists of nine lessons, based on textbooks written by experienced missionaries, as well as other readings, reflections, and undoubtedly much prayer. There are required tasks in each lesson to help participants verify their learning; there will also be a forum in the last three lessons for sharing knowledge among the other missionaries in the course. Quiz answers will only be accessed by facilitators of this course and will not be available for others on the Internet. You can take classes through your computer, tablet or smartphone at the most convenient time. You can get the core textbook Passport to Mission for this course as an ebook or paperback. The book, Working Your Way to The Nations, will be provided for download. Those and more additional books will be described in the Material tab. For those planning to go as entrepreneurs, some additional readings will be pointed to at the end of each class.
At the conclusion of this course, the participant will:
- Understand and apply the biblical and missiological principles of cross-cultural witnessing as a “tentmaker.”
- Analyze obstacles and opportunities for tentmaking in a specific culture.
- Know how to make a personal tentmaking plan.
ESTIMATED TIME FOR THIS COURSE
The estimated time required to complete the readings and activities required in this course is about 15 – 20 hours, which can be spread over several weeks if needed.
BIBLICAL REFERENCES FOR TENTMAKING:
REFERENCES:1- Doss, Cheryl, Editor. Passport to Mission. Institute of World Mission. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, MD.
2- Lewis, Jonathan Editor. Working Your Way to the Nations: A Guide to Effective Tentmaking. William Carey Library, Pasadena: CA.
3- Johnson, C. Neal. BAM Business as Mission: A comprehensive guide to theory and practice. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.
4- Russell, Mark L. The Missional Entrepreneur: Principles and Practices for Business as Mission. New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL.