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Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions [Paperback]

By Steven L. Rundle (Author) & Tom A. Steffen (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   180
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.26" Width: 5.55" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.57 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2003
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830832270  
EAN  9780830832279  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
Economist Steve Rundle and missiologist Tom Steffen offer a new paradigm for the convergence of business and missions - the Great Commission Company. These companies intentionally create businesses in strategic locations, pursuing profits while remaining unabashedly Christian in their purpose. By establishing authentic businesses that employ local workers among the least-reached peoples of the world, they contribute to the economic health of the immediate community and also provide avenues for both physical and spiritual ministry. Based on a five-year study of groundbreaking enterprises like Pura Vida Coffee, this book offers keen analysis of the principles and practices of these companies. In an era where multinational corporations have global influence and impact, the Great Commission Company opens up new possibilities for missions-minded entrepreneurs and businesspeople who want to change the world to the glory of God.

Publishers Description
In recent decades global missions have been revolutionized by such movements as microenterprise development efforts and tentmaking professionals working in restricted access countries. But little has yet been said about the new missions opportunities created by today's globalized economy. Nor has much been documented about the role that corporations and businesses can have in the missionary enterprise. Economist Steve Rundle and missiologist Tom Steffen offer a new paradigm for the convergence of business and missions--the Great Commission Company. These companies intentionally create businesses in strategic locations, pursuing profits while remaining unabashedly Christian in their purpose. By establishing authentic businesses that employ local workers among the least-reached peoples of the world, they contribute to the economic health of the immediate community and also provide avenues for both physical and spiritual ministry. Based on a five-year study of groundbreaking enterprises like Pura Vida Coffee, this book offers keen analysis of the principles and practices of these companies. In an era where multinational corporations have global influence and impact, the Great Commission Company opens up new possibilities for missions-minded entrepreneurs and businesspeople who want to change the world to the glory of God.

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More About Steven L. Rundle & Tom A. Steffen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Steve Rundle is associate professor of economics and business as mission at Biola University in La Mirada, California. His teaching and research interests are focused on the intersection between international economics and faith-based business. He is also the editor of Economic Justice in a Flat World: Christian Perspectives on Globalization.

Steve Rundle was born in 1959.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Business   [431  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work   [3332  similar products]



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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Work as to the Lord, wherever you are.  Feb 12, 2007
"There was once a time when the simple act of sending money to missionaries gave people at home an adequate sense of connectedness and participation. Today that some act often connotes a disconnectedness...Christians today are not losing interest in the poorest and least reached so much as they are failing to see a connection between their current circumstances and those of people in other parts of the world." (193)

This book explores the connection between the current trend of globalization of the world economy, and the methods used to evangelize and disciple people of other cultures. The main theme of the book is the role that business plays in the emerging global economy and the changing face of international missions. "Not long ago many people viewed the term "Christian businessman (or woman) as an oxymoron." (p7). The authors explore this fallacy and develop their argument that business is an important method to further the kingdom of God in today's world. "Globalization is helping to undo the modern dichotomy between spiritual and worldly professions, in part by bringing businesses of all sizes into countries that are in desperate spiritual and economic need."(6).
The authors do not attempt to say that all Christians are mandated to drop everything and start an international company. The point made is that the choices we make are having an impact on the world regardless of whether we pay attention to them or not. We can use these choices to leverage the current climate to allow more people to hear and understand the gospel as well as help heal the inequalities that are facilitated by our current economic system. The book asserts the "...biblical legitimacy of free market economics and the positive impact Christians can have in the market place." They argue that "...business itself is a calling, that the marketplace is a legitimate mission field and indeed is a place that needs Christians who will stem the corrosive economic effects of an unchecked sin nature." (7).
A fallacy of spiritual hierarchy is deconstructed in this book. This unwritten, unspoken fallacy is that those who are truly serious about their commitment to Christ will get special training, change careers, and become professional Christian workers. The authors argue that those who are truly effective at ministering Christ's love and forgiveness are those who are open to being used by God wherever they are and how faithful they are in those varied places.
A secondary theme of the book is related to the first. While arguing for business as a valid means to fulfilling the Great Commission, the authors denounce other ways that `tentmaking' has been applied to business and missions. Here they refer to the practice of using a business only as a cover or platform to gain access or entry to a closed country. A phantom company which does not actually conduct business or only enough business to appear legitimate is the exact opposite of what the authors are proposing. A business used as only a platform in this way is not only unethical, but will be transparent to the nationals as well. The book acknowledges that balancing the business and ministry components of this type of company is not easy. However, they would much rather a company act in excellence and integrity in the conduct of their business. "Combining business and missions is not easy, and it creates a tension that does not exist when the activities are pursued separately. But the fact that it is difficult is not a valid reason for not trying." (7)
The case studies given spend a lot of time recalling the personal and spiritual background of the founders of the companies profiled. The authors explain that this is because, according to their research, the most important factor determining the success or failure of a Great Commission Company is the people involved. While business experience is an important factor and extremely valuable, an attitude of excellence and flexibility along with spiritual discipline and a desire to see the kingdom of God advanced are more important. These case studies proved to be the most enjoyable part of the book.
The experience and wisdom gained in their research has led the authors to propose some guidelines for evaluating the viability of both the business and missional aspects of a potential company. This helps readers look at the practical aspects of successful Great Commission Companies. Some of the most important aspects are: Teams (preferably intercultural), Accountability, Intentionality, and Integrity. (see chapters five, six, and twelve).
Criticism that I have for the book has to do with assumptions about international business and economics. I wish the authors would have expanded their thoughts more on the idea presented in a quote by Larry Reed regarding responsible stewardship of resources. "Christians today earn about one-quarter of all the income in the world. Thus, any effort to correct the ills of our current system must begin with a look at how we acquire this income and how we use it." (193). Christians should be concerned about the industry that their business or purchasing patterns contribute to. Another issue that struck me as potentially difficult to readers was the incredible drive displayed by all of the individuals profiled in the case studies. I can see where after being encouraged by the first section of the book, some may be dismayed to imitate what seems exceptional people and circumstances. These individuals display passion for their vision, and we are reminded that it is not our circumstances that shape who we are, but rather our response to those circumstances.
On the positive side, the authors state their views and biases up front and go on to argue their case for business being a legitimate method of being a faithful disciple of Christ. The book is easy to read and accessible to those even without business experience. Questions for review and further thought were included at the end of most chapters. Overall, I feel that this is a valuable book for gaining an introduction to the changing climate of world missions.

This book could be an important resource to help Christians explore the place they have living in God's Kingdom and playing their part in seeing that kingdom ushered in more fully.

 
Great for a business professional.  Jan 4, 2005
To the point. Good details. Good foundation for a GCC as a form of both ministry and work.
 
Finally a practical guide to Christian business  Mar 3, 2004
Many books that deal with the topic of Christianity and business fall into one of two camps, either they are very theoretical, providing a lot of thoughts about business, but no practical examples of ways to integrate faith and work. Or they tend to offer simplistic advice about how to be a "Moral" worker.

Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen avoid both traps by providing well thought through theory combined with case studies that show that theory in action. They really provide the reader with a diverse set of examples of people working hard and moving God's kingdom forward at the same time. This deserves to be widely read.

 
Excellent work in integrating business and missions  Jan 31, 2004
I used this book in a college-level course titled "Business and Missions" I just finished co-teaching at Spring Arbor University. The focus of the course is to examine the role for-profit companies can play in world mission. We thoroughly enjoyed the book - it is very well written, thought-provoking and sets a solid foundation for our understanding and discussion of the subject. Sound economic/business and missional principles are discussed and followed. The students were asked to analyze the case studies of Great Commission Companies (GCCs) presented in the book and evaluate the business and missional viability of each case and they did a fine job. We also liked how the authors classified the GCCs. Overall, the students enjoyed the course and the book, and some even expressed an interest in working for or starting a GCC in the future. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in seeing how business and missions can be integrated, and those who have a desire to start a GCC. This would also make an ideal first text for a business/mission course.
 
first of its kind  Jan 28, 2004
Dr. Rundle & Tom Steffen have put together a book that can be incorporated into group settings and also be read by itself. They have presented stories which are powerful and help you gain a big picture understanding of what a Great Commission company and plan is. Great job - hoping for another release in the near future.
 

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