Your Career, Globally: What Could I Do with a Business Degree in Overseas Missions?

So we might already be tipping our hand a little here: We kind of like debunking myths about global work overseas, and maybe getting people to freak out of their box about what it looks like to go there, serve Him, love them.Maybe you think that your degree is sort of wasted when you choose global work–aside from the other intangibles that happen when you go to college, or the work experience you’ve been able to gain because of it.But in case you’re flirting with that idea–or even wholly convinced you got the wrong degree for what you actually ended up wanting to do with your life (only 27% of grads have jobs related to their major)–we might challenge that a bit. Because as my (Janel’s) mom is fond of saying, There are no wasted experiences in God’s economy. We’re guessing God actually knew, and had a considerable hand, in you getting that degree.But wait! There’s more!

You might actually be surprised at ways global workers are using their degrees around the world in missions.

So today, we’re homing in on a business degree. How can you use that?

Turns out the possibilities are pretty close to endless.

“Society needs the redemptive influence of Christians in the public sector.”

This perspective’s from Amy, who’s served with SEND International in the United States for eight years.

“Business professionals are greatly needed. Sixty-five percent of the world’s population lives in places that are closed to missionaries. But they are open for business. Business people can gain access to these countries and bring disciple-making to the workplace.”

She’s right. Unreached people groups and even governments, to the businessperson, might not be so closed after all. (Japan, by the way, is the world’s largest unreached people group.) One closed country’s government is pleading with a local organization we know of. The government longs for  more instructors to the in-country leadership institute educating some of the country’s most prominent officials and businesspeople–primarily in servant leadership and integrity in business.

Amy continues, “People with a business degree can serve in three types of ministry/jobs.

  • “In business as missions you would go and operate a business with Christian principles.” You would equip others with skills they can use to provide for their families and build their local economy–but also build relationships with those in your business.
  • “As a tentmaker you would use your skills as an employee in someone else’s business.
  • “You could also engage in development work, building into the community. And don’t just think poor communities either. Some development workers I know bring in medical professionals from the US to train doctors and nurses in the country where they work.” Many ministries, like Engineering Ministries International, train and disciple local professionals who have much greater rapport and entry into their country’s inner circles than foreigners do. These professionals go on to have businesses of their own that create disciples and carry out godly business.Amy again: “For many global workers, a major initial task is building relationships. People in business have an instant and wide range of relationships and connections. They also spend a lot of time with these coworkers since most of our waking lives are spent at work. Society needs the redemptive influence of Christians in the public sector.”

“Explore business as mission.”

Bill also weighed into our conversation. He’s served with Youth With A Mission for fourteen years in places like Australia, Canada, East Timor, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, and Vanuatu. (BTW, Business as Mission has its own acronym among the missions community. If you’re looking for resources, you might see it referred to as BAM.)

“If you feel that you have a call to business and to missions then there are many opportunities open to you. I’ve talked to some people that have set up businesses in overseas locations with multiple purposes: building a successful business, helping the local economy, and showing Christ’s love through their lives. There are plenty of opportunities for that.” (Read here about Leon and Tiffany, who went to work in Germany with asylum seekers from unreached countries–he as a computer programmer.) Like teaching English, there’s a much wider audience of those eager to learn than those who would normally, say, attend a Bible study.

“The Business as Mission Network has a website full of great resources for people who wanting to be involved in missions and business. The resource section is full of articles and teaching that might help you along your journey.”

In fact, BusinessAsMission.com has a blog all its own, highlighting stuff like current opportunities, what they’ve learned from businesses that have failed, and current issues.

Building the Economy Around You

While in East Africa, I (Janel again) attended an international church that decided one of its main outreaches would be to businessmen–to influencers. Church leadership keenly understood that if we were to build Africa, we could wisely begin with its leadership.

And, the head pastor explained, in a poor country, helping the country conquer poverty involved actually building the economy: building and supporting businessmen, who build their businesses with integrity (as opposed to widespread corruption, one of the greatest sources of poverty) and kindness to employees.

That’s an avenue actually harder with a Bible degree than with a business degree.

So when it comes to your business degree, in a nutshell: Think bigger. 

Editor’s post-publication note: After networking at Urbana 2019, we’d also suggest checking out orgs like these:

  • Marketplace Development and Enterprises (MDE) can help you find positions in Finance, IT, Engineering and Web Development, teaching positions in K-12 levels, and more! These are full-time paid positions, with benefits. The income would allow you to live, provide a valid visa for access, and create opportunities to use your God-given gifts in the marketplace to reach the lost for Christ.
  • Scatter Global mobilizes Jesus-followers from many professions to intentionally pursue their vocation in the least-reached marketplaces of the world.

Already know some good stuff about Business as Mission (BAM)? Our audience wants to know more! Consider writing a post for us (click here).

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