By Kerby Rodgers
Kingdom businesses are true businesses that also advance the kingdom of God. In the same way that a little salt is used to season an entire pot, a few key individuals strategically placed can have a huge impact on society. These key people are nationals who love God, can run a business, and will evangelize others in places that need a business and do not have a Christian witness.
There is no division between the spiritual and physical part of our Christian-based business. We follow the biblical example of Ezra and Nehemiah, who simultaneously reestablished Jerusalem as a functional economy and spiritually revived the people.
Our kingdom business, governed by SALT International, was established in the early 1990s in an undeveloped Asian country that is closed to traditional missionaries. Our milling factory processes cereal grains and soybeans into human food and animal feed.
When we arrived, no farmer here even knew what a soybean looked like. Currently, more than 1,500 farm families plant soybeans, and can, on the average, increase their yearly income by approximately 30 percent. Many farmers know us as Christians, and respect our business and the principles it is built on. When we share our faith, it is well received.
Although farmers comprise 85 percent of the population, most of the food found in the markets, especially meat and eggs, must be imported from the more developed countries surrounding us. We want to help our poor country become food self-sufficient, so we’re establishing individual businesses. One method is to set up one person with a layer-hen farm.
Our company loans him the money to purchase the hens. He buys our feed and then sells the eggs for profit. Our goal is to place more Christians in these types of businesses.
Our focus has expanded from village farmers to our mill workers, government officials, and non-Christians in the large development organizations. We noticed mill workers were coming to Christ because they saw Christ modeled in difficult times. We have poured our lives into the workers every day for years, and in turn, the workers have become the main Christian witnesses. They believe it is their responsibility to tell others, but they give their witness in the face of persecution for their beliefs. Since the establishment of the mill, the foreign staff and mill workers—through the help of the Holy Spirit—have baptized scores of people, directly started five churches, and become involved with many underground churches.
Government officials have heard our testimony and our workers’ testimonies firsthand, but none has yet accepted Christ. However, we teach our Christian converts to be good citizens and to pray for their leaders. We pray for the day when Christians are in leadership.
The development community also has heard the gospel. These good-hearted yet unbelieving people don’t have a Christian worldview, so many of their development projects fail.
When we first established our business, they ostracized us. They thought our business was only a front to evangelize. Soon they noticed our business brought about more development results than any of their projects. They realized that we were not hypocrites; we were 100 percent business and 100 percent Christian.
The development community went from ostracizing us to cooperating closely with us. After seven years of watching us, they loaned our business $140,000 to help fund a business expansion. None has yet come to Christ, but we are still praying for them.
Kingdom business provides the opportunity to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that point people to their greater need for a Savior. We are humbled by the ways God uses this kingdom business for his glory.
Kerby Rodgers of SALT International and Team Expansion uses business as mission strategies in transforming body, soul, and nation.