Ideas Change the world – I learned a new term at the 3/07 IBI Business Retreat (Viral Marketing – defined below). At our last conference Huntington, WV I met Mark Charles and have since spent an hour on the phone so now you can read Mark’s Interview. Somewhere between reading The Starfish and the Spider, IBI, our conference, and talking to Mark about micro-business the Lord is stirring a new concept. New to me anyway. Actually it’s at least as old as Eph 4:12. First, the definition of viral marketing.
Wikipedia – Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can often be word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it can harness the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly.
The concept (Viral Missions) New revelation births new terminology to describe it and new initiatives to attain it. A network of relationships (the Body of Christ) needs a “Big Idea”, a vision that releases the saints for the work of the ministry. For AA the ideology is simple: “If you have a problem with alcohol, stop consulting the experts, and lets help each other and follow simple twelve steps,” which are the implication of the ideology. For Skype, the motto is: “Lets talk on the phone for free!” What’s “Viral Missions?” It’s making missions affordable and fun… make disciples that make money to make a difference.
Yes, but How? The first thing you learn in traditional missions is how to take an offering within a denominational or mission hierarchy. Missionaries call it itinerating – an annual tour back in states to rebuild the necessary financial support. Pastors aren’t really hot on ideas that divert the church budget away from the church bills. So… let’s let the tithes and offerings stay in the church so that we can have a quality staff to really do a good job of equipping the saints. I’m voting with the pastors on this one.
What if we equipped God’s people with ways to make money so they could fund their own missions trip? Think anyone would be interested? I do. I think there is an ageless generation prepared by God that is totally receptive to entrepreneurial adventures that run our cup over enough to fund missions. God is giving Christians amazing open doors right now. It’s a season of increase that will not end in seven years… or 70 or 700.
What if these saints with a enough financial flexibility did the ministry as well. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preached the crusade, taught the conference. What if we stopped pretending that only “full-time” ministers can do that stuff and got back to Acts chapter 8 where the saints did the stuff? What if word got out that it was fun and anybody could do it? Might go viral! What if “viral” is Biblical. What if Christians had so much fun getting blessed financially and converting money into ministry that it became contagious.
…all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:1-2
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:4-8 NIV
What if part of the ministry these Kings took to the third world was about making disciples who can make money; self-sustaining missions. What if we took a micro-business start-up package on every missions trip… to break the spirit “and” the practice of poverty? What if Kings had thousands of business concepts to choose from; each with a business plan and a recipe that addressed the cash flow and the accountability? What if those new micro-businesses made money and financed more ministry by the “nationals” themselves. Starting to sound “viral” again?
Back to Mark – What if there were no “What ifs?” Mark’s vision is so practical and doable it’s making my spirit leap. Think we’re short of ideas? We posted ten from Mark’s interview. The Lord also gave him a divine appointment with SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise); an organization in business colleges intended to define businesses via student projects… already in 40 nations around the world and active in 1600 campuses at a university near you! Many of their projects target 3rd world applications.
Here’s the Key. Missions is not just an organizational initiative for large hierarchies to execute. It’s a way of life that is built into the DNA of every disciple. I need to add the frosting; it’s fun to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and cleanse the lepers from a position of prosperity… really fun! Being entrepreneurial, finding prosperity, and getting engaged in ministry isn’t for the chosen few. It’s for every believer. God is putting together a contagious, grassroots network that is being offered to every believer willing to admit he has been equipped for the work of ministry. It’s always been in God’s heart to have a personal interface with His people. That’s a pretty flat organizational model with a viral ramp-up to the great commission.
A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” 29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Num 11:26-29 NIV
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.