Birds Eye View: My Vision for Marketplace Disciples

June 26, 2018

Have you ever seen one of the first online magazines? At the dawn of the internet, they were terrible.

The internet was a new-fangled thing, so people would take their existing printed magazines, scan them, and then post all of the images on their website. It was a nightmare to try and read, and you certainly couldn't search for anything.

If you go the Times website right now though, you'll find something far different.

They have hyper-optimized their website to match the strengths (and weaknesses) of the internet. The website changes its layout based on the size of your screen, and even the ads that are shown change based on what they know about you — it is so much more advanced than 1995.

But what does the beginning of the internet and the modern New York Times have to do with Marketplace Disciples?

Beginning with the end in mind

My ultimate goal with Marketplace Disciples is to create something that will encourage and enable Christian business owners to use their business to further God's kingdom.

Simple to say, but then there is the problem of actually accomplishing that goal.

This is how I plan to do it.

Into Cyberspace We Go

In doing anything it is important to ask yourself, "what am I uniquely capable of doing?". It's Business 101. If I can't add value to Christian business owners like yourself, then I'm wasting my time.

So what is it that I can bring to the table? What unique strengths do I have?

I believe it is my ability to fully embrace what the internet enables us to do. Not just taking something offline and putting it online — that's just shoving a square peg into a round hole.

At my day job I am a software engineer, so I spend my whole day with technology. I understand software, and I understand what the internet enables us to do. It's my entire world.

But as Christians, we suck at technology.

We're still stuck at the 1995 online magazine, when we should be the 2018 Times website — hyper-optimized for what the internet enables us to do.

Digital missionaries? That's not a thing

If you don't believe me, think about this.

We spend all this time and money sending people to foriegn countries to speak with people, and we spend time and money on local outreach. Money and time well spent, I would say.

Except that people are increasingly spending their time online. So where is the Church's online presence?

Missionaries don't have to travel to foreign countries and exotic locations, but they also don't have to be missionaries in a physical sense. Why not send people to be missionaries on the internet?

I am sure that the concept of a "digital missionary" sounds weird to you, but why should it?

3 Smallish Steps for Mankind (and Christian business owners more specifically)

My goal is to tackle this problem for the Christian business owner. To more fully embrace what the internet enables us to do.

There are great resources out there, but far fewer than there should be. I'm not saying I'll be able to solve this single-handledly, but hopefully I'll be able to make a dent, God willing.

So this is part of what my vision for what the future holds.

1.   A thriving online community of Christian business owners who are eager to learn more about how they can apply their faith to their business.

We have had local meetings of business owners for decades, but why do we need to be constrained by geography? (Answer: we don't)

2.   Deep collection of resources and teachings on practical issues that face Christian business owners.

How do you start a bible study with your employees? What does it look like to disciple them? How do you deal with competition and grow your business in a God honouring way? Does God want you to be rich?

3.   Stories of other Christian business owners

At times this job can be lonely, and it's so encouraging to read about others, their struggles, successes, and how their faith radically changes the way they do business.

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