“I have often noticed that any place where there is little business doing is bad for religious effort … I could indicate districts, not far from here, where business is slack; and there you will find there is very little good being done. All along the valley of the Thames, there are places where a man might preach his heart out, and kill himself; but there is little or nothing of good being accomplished in those regions, just as there is no active business life there”.
Charles Spurgeon, “The Soul-Winner” Chapter 6
People in business are often viewed with suspicion because they deal in wealth creation. Pastors are wary of getting involved and becoming “spotted by the world”. Business people have temptations and trials of which many Pastors have little knowledge or understanding.
In BTPN we hope to redress that balance, so that the saints and their Pastors can work together in partnership.
In addition to teaching Christian business principles and practices to entrepreneurs, we also teach Pastors and church leaders about the needs of businessmen and women. There is a mixture of theological and practical sessions aimed at helping Pastors to deal with business and the people in it.
In Ephesians 4, we read:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:11-13 NKJV
It is the saints in the business community who are often neglected, and who need helping and equipping for the work of ministry by their pastors and teachers.
“The 9 to 5 window … of the 132 public appearances of Jesus, 122 were in the marketplace. Of the 40 miracles in Acts, 39 were in the marketplace … 70% of our time is in the workplace …”
Os Hillman, International Coalition of Workplace Ministries
The objective of BTPN is to transform communities for Christ through Christian Enterprise Development.
We believe business is a holy calling from God. Please go to our section on theology for a full explanation. We can all see the results when business is not run according to God’s will. BTPN operates by:
The people of the community are attracted by the jobs and financial activity. As the Christian business owner is faithful in business and in sharing the Gospel, people will come to faith, and a church will form naturally as a result. The church will enjoy financial support from the business from the day it starts…with finances generated by the people who live there.
BTPN started in 1992 as a response to the Chernobyl disaster to minister to the people who experienced the disaster at its closest point.
Resettlement villages where people needed humanitarian care were our first focus. We also acted as an evangelism organization to carry the gospel into communities and help the churches to be strengthened. As ministry continued it became obvious that the churches were becoming dependent on us and would not be able to stand on their own without something changing. We soon discovered that we were involved in a “black hole” where money each month would go and never be seen again. There was intense difficulty in maintaining this flow of funds and cumulative frustration with poor results.
The problem was more than just the problem of raising funds in an increasingly difficult global economic environment. It was the level of dependence we were witnessing. A welfare mentality was developing. Our financial support had produced something different to that intended. It was realized that what had been desired as a blessing, was actually damaging or destroying those very churches and Christian ministries. The traditional use of financial support to missions was the prime cause of the “black hole”. Clearly, the traditional way was expensive and ineffective.
A conversation between Rev Bob Crowe and a field missionary was to have tremendous impact. It led to our investigating a new way to do missions and began a change that would eventually become Breakthrough To People Network (BTPN).
God then surprised us. He set an American Christian businessman to us. This man had financially supported much of our previous efforts. He also was frustrated with the “black hole” and was seeking an alternative. As he spoke, it was like God was giving us the beginning of the new process. He asked three questions:
1.Do the people want to work?
2.Would they support their own church if they could?
3.If we found a way to get them jobs, would that help?”
We knew immediately that God was opening the new direction to us. While we needed more ideas to form the skeleton of what would become BTPN, we had begun.
We made mistakes along the way, but we learned constantly, and still do. We started business enterprise development projects through purchasing equipment with the cooperation of the Ukrainian Christian leadership (Baptist Union) in Chernigov. We began putting together a Ukrainian committee for business projects. We trained this group and then took the time to develop a procedural process for their use. This procedure had to reflect their values and needs as well as ours. It took the better part of a year to formulate this process into a seven-page document.
One unique aspect of that document was that two tithes of the profits would be required from the new business created. The first tithe of the business profits would go to the local church, thus beginning the support of local ministry without American assistance. The second tithe of the profits would go into a fund for future projects, so that the day would come where the committee could start a new business from money generated in their own area. BTPN became, in effect, a pump primer.
So What Were The Results?
By the end of six years, the economic projects had generated through their profits sufficient funds to start their own first project.
In an area with only a little over 1000 Christians, over 200 benefitted from jobs to support their families. This was a large enough impact to get the attention of government and religious leaders.
Most importantly, jobs were attracting lost people. As they spent time around the Christians, many of them were saved. Baptisms rose in many of the village churches.
We learned that if we placed a project in an area that had no church, the process of attracting lost people would lead to the development of new churches.
Results show that one new church is planted for every three businesses started.
We discovered that, through business activity, we had the ability to empower the Christians in a deeply economically depressed area to support and develop meaningful ministry.
Charles Spurgeon was right.
BreakThrough to People Network, Inc.
28 Susie Lane
Blairsville, Georgia 30512
Phone: 404-775-4010 404-775-4010
We are a 501(c)(3) organization and a member of the Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries.