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The Facilitator M blog has been engaging the conversation on global macrotrends and their impact on missions sending. This post continues that theme. Specifically, it is part 2 of a miniseries on Marketplace Multipliers, following Dr. Wayne Schmidt’s post.

Lately, I’ve been a part of several conversations that have led me to ask the question, “Does GP need a new model for sending M’s?” Here is a sampling, with names changed:

  • George and Erika were a couple mobilizing through GP. They were going to a creative access country to start a business that had the potential to be profitable, but would require some startup capital. They found it stressful to raise both their personal support and raise a large sum of project funds for their missional business. Also, if the business was wildly successful, it seemed to create a dilemma – would supporters question why they were providing missionary support so a couple running a successful business? Does the missionary support paradigm—which ensures a consistent salary—dilute the profit motive necessary for a small business entrepreneur to be successful? 
  • Tom was part of a small missions organization in Korea. He was a recent graduate of Wesley Seminary who wanted coaching and accountability. He wanted to join team GP. At present, the only way for him to join our team would have been for him to mobilize and raise his support. But, he already had his salary needs covered, so our current model didn’t really fit his scenario. 
  • Jack and Cindy wanted to go to another creative access country. Cindy was an ordained Wesleyan Pastor, and she wanted to join team GP wherever she landed. Jack worked for a multi-national tech firm, and he was confident his boss would honor his request to place him in this creative access country. However, once again, this couple would not fully fit the assumptions in our current mobilization pathway, because they would not need to raise support and only one spouse would be fully team GP (this has since been alleviated by the “Covenant Spouse” category). 
  • David had a successful background in the finance industry. He and his family were doing well financially when they decided to move to Rwanda to start an investment fund designed to promote kingdom businesses. David asked what it would take to join GP – he wanted the accountability of a network of missional thinkers. Once again, our current pathway didn’t fully scratch the itch for David’s situation.

There are a lot of things our current mobilization pathway does extremely well. The issue is not that our current model is not working; it’s that our current model is not designed to serve the broad kingdom force we want to platform. 

In order to see the Marketplace Multiplier movement reach its full potential—where both clergy and lay are living out their God-given purpose—we need an additional pathway. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll call the new proposed model the “Marketplace Multiplier” (MM) pathway.

 

Global Realities Calling for The Marketplace Multiplier Pathway

As we step back to consider global macrotrends that are impacting GP, there are several that suggest an additional sending pathway is in order. These realities include:

  • The majority of unreached people live in countries closed to our traditional pathways.
  • Religious worker visas are becoming increasingly rare. Most countries look more favorably on expats who contribute to the economy, create jobs, or meet an identified humanitarian need. Even countries without a history of hostility toward the gospel are making it harder for missionaries to obtain long-term visas.
  • The costs of sending long-term missionaries are increasing.
  • The number of missionaries deployed through GP’s current pathway is declining.
  • We are not positioned to optimally serve a growing market of people from a variety of vocations who want to engage in the global mission.
  • In the context of Everywhere to Everywhere (E2E), our traditional sending org model may seem unattainable and irreplicable for developing churches. As others posting in this series have mentioned, we need to help national leaders visualize what we mean when we encourage them to start sending missionaries. If there are

 

Proposed Solution: Create a new missionary-sending pathway, designed specifically for professionals and entrepreneurs.

The Marketplace Multiplier pathway would be available to those who are passionate about Global Partners' mission, but who do not fit our typical funding model.

The benefits to the Associate Missionary include support in preparation, mobilization, fundraising, leadership coaching and accountability, wellness services, and teamwork. The benefit to GP is that it moves us closer to having a transforming presence in every community.

This initiative could represent several positional shifts:

  • Revenue: GP operations funding would shift from fee-based to subscription-based.
  • Purpose: GP shifts from providing oversight to providing training and services.
  • Market: We shift from attracting ministry majors/vocations to a wide variety of vocation.
  • E2E: We position ourselves with more replicable model for new sending countries to emulate, or perhaps even franchise.

The above shifts are overly simplified generalities. We would in fact continue to invest most of our resources in supporting our current pathway. But I think it’s helpful to succinctly and clearly differentiate how the new model could look compared to our current model.

Examples of those who could be mobilized:

  • A well-financed entrepreneur from the US developing sustainable business in Africa
  • A recent college grad teaching in a developed country
  • A couple starting a Cross-Fit gym in a creative access country
  • An executive with a large software firm that gets a job placement offer in Asia
  • An independent Wesleyan minister seeking to join a larger team and leave a more lasting legacy

These are all people that see their work as missional and want some of the benefits we offer to missionaries. However, unlike most missionaries, they don’t need to raise their salary. Launching the Marketplace Multiplier pathway allows us to equip and engage a workforce we are currently not able to serve. This shift could provide structural and systematic support to our best intentions to launch a kingdom force of many different professions into cross-cultural missional engagement.

 

What are your initial reactions to the idea of a new Marketplace Multipliers pathway? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

 

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